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Today, October 17th, 2018, is a day that will go down in history. It is the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in Canada, a milestone which officially makes Canada the largest legal cannabis market in the world.
The legalization of cannabis in Canada is the result of efforts by lawmakers. Both the Senate and House of Commons voted in support of legalization, with the final vote of Senators taking place on June 19th of this year.
There will be at least 111 cannabis dispensaries which will open their doors to the public today, with some stores opening at midnight to large lines and crowds. The age limit for recreational purchases will vary by province, with Alberta and Quebec allowing adults 18 or older to purchase, while other provinces have set the minimum age at 19 instead. Analysts predict there will be roughly $6.5 billion in legal cannabis sales in Canada annually.
As if that weren’t enough impressive progress, Canada has also announced its intention to pardon anyone with possession charges that would not face criminal charges under the new legalization law. Anyone with a criminal record related to the possession of cannabis in the amount of 30 grams or less will soon find that they have the right to apply for a pardon. That will impact their ability to secure a job and improve their likelihood of securing better housing as well.
There are sure to be some hiccups in the process as the federal government and individual provinces work to find a regulatory system that’s effective. In Newfoundland, for example, dispensaries are limited to no more than an 8% profit margin on cannabis sales.
Congrats to Canada, its lawmakers, and its citizens for making history and setting a fine example for other countries around the world. Hopefully, lawmakers south of the US-Canadian border are paying close attention.
For previous Ladybud articles about Canada, click here.
Photo Credit: Tony Webster via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0