Canada is legalizing marijuana: Here's what Michiganders should know

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg via Getty Images

There were early lineups outside brick-and-mortar stores in Nova Scotia, next in line after Newfoundland and Labrador as legalization worked its way across the country's time zones. The Mississauga, Ontario-based company, which produces medical and wellness products featuring cannabis, counts Canopy Growth and its investment arm, Canopy Rivers, among its top holders with a combined 24 percent stake.

Hours before they opened, though, a federal official told The Associated Press that Canada will pardon all those with convictions for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana, the now-legal threshold.

A man rolls a marijuana cigarette during a legalisation party at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Ontario.

"The eyes of the world are on Canada and Canadians should feel very proud, because people have been fighting for decades to make this moment a reality", said Brendan Kennedy, chief executive officer of Tilray Inc., the largest cannabis company by market value.

"I'm elated. I'm so excited, I can't stop smiling".

"I don't need to be a criminal anymore, and that's a great feeling", said MacIsaac, who in 2001 had been arrested for possession in Saskatchewan.

The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMMJ.TO), a basket of North American publicly listed life sciences companies with significant business activities in the marijuana industry, fell almost eight per cent to about $23 per share.

In April, Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The reform will be scrutinised by Canadians ahead of the next election in 2019.

"When people start to see the consequences (of legalization) they will blame Trudeau's failures for it", opposition Tory leader Andrew Scheer commented.

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Canada's 13 provinces and territories are setting their own rules for cannabis use, leading to some confusion.

People have also raised concerns about whether buying cannabis legally in Canada could get them banned from entering the United States, where it remains illegal at the federal level. Around 4.9 million already smoke.

WATCH: The head of Cannabis NB says business was steady both in store and online as recreational marijuana use became legal in Canada.

"Two hundred dollars for a half ounce, why would you buy that here when you can go to your dealer down the street and pay $150?" said Krystal Bunce outside the Cannabis NB location in Saint John's north end.

Sales of derivatives like edibles will be legalised next year.

It's still unclear if legalisation will undercut the black market.

In British Columbia - where many unlicensed dispensaries have asserted that they have no intention of shutting down under the new legal regime - weed is priced between $6.99 and $13.99 per gram, excluding tax. Quebec's newly elected, right-wing government also says it plans to raise the legal age to buy cannabis from 18 to 21.

Goodale noted that Can$2-3 billion was spent annually to police cannabis and consumption still rose. He has voiced concern over the lack of concrete decisions made between the Canadian and American governments on the issue of marijuana legalization.

Adrian Wyld/CP Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould listen as Border Security Minister Bill Blair speaks during a news conference on legalized cannabis in Ottawa on October 17, 2018.

Some doctors, however, remain wary.

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