Canada's pot legalization makes headlines around the world

Recreational marijuana is now completely legal in Canada

Recreational marijuana is now completely legal in Canada

Canada on Wednesday became the world's first major economy to fully legalise cannabis, sparking celebrations as the nation embarked on the controversial experiment in drug policy.

Tom Clarke's shop opened at midnight in Newfoundland, Canada's easternmost province. Over 100 people braved the cold and wind in the provincial capital St. John's, lining up outside a Tweed-branded store owned by Canopy.

Canopy Chief Executive Officer Bruce Linton rang in the first sales to residents Ian Power and Nikki Rose.

The news may tempt numerous millions who travel from the U.S.to Canada each year, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are reminding vacationers that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Shopify, which provides the technology for numerous provincial online stores, said it had seen more than a million visitors, more than 100,000 orders, more than 100 orders per minute, "and we're just getting started", according to a tweet from Shopify executive Loren Padelford.

A day that many Canadians have long dreamt of has finally arrived, with cannabis now officially legal across the country. In August, Canada approved a device to detect levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in cannabis, in a driver's saliva.

Canada legalised medical marijuana in 2001, and many in the industry spent the last days of prohibition completing displays, holding mock openings and training employees to use sales-tracking software.

At present, the legal sale of pot is limited to fresh buds, oil, plants and seeds.

A marijuana regulation measure has been making its way through Italy's parliament and still needs support from more legislators.

Aurora shares fell nearly three per cent on Wednesday, closing at $13.57 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, paring some of their earlier losses as investors opted to move broadly out of the cannabis sector on the same day that recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada.

"We're not legalising cannabis because we think it's good for our health", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Trudeau believes legalizing marijuana will regulate the supply and help to keep marijuana out of the reach of children, and to keep profits away from organized global crimes.

"It did not crash", he told a conference call with reporters.

But provinces and businesses have struggled to prepare, and legalization was pushed back from original expectations of a July start to enable setting up distribution and sales networks.

Lucky for cultivators, not many brick-and-mortar stores were opened to kick off the new system, which could have strained their supply chains even more.

British Columbia will have both private and government stores, but has yet to issue any private licenses. Some municipalities are considering going further with an outright ban in all public spaces. In April, Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

"October 18th is going to look very much like October 16th, in many ways", Farnworth said.

Even in provinces with more shops, many shelves are expected to soon be empty because of a shortage of product.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing - you're never ever going to be one of the first people able to buy legal recreational cannabis in Canada ever again", Mr Stone, a 32-year restaurant and bar manager, said.

Law enforcement of those driving under the influence of marijuana could be patchy.

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