Canada ‘weed’ stores run out of supplies, more lineups

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What happened? As if Canadians weren't friendly enough ...

Canada became the second country in the world, after Uruguay, the first country in the G20, to legalize the possession and consumption of cannabis as a recreational.

After waiting seven hours in line at a store in downtown Montreal on Wednesday, Alexandre, 30, said he was turned away at closing at 9pm.

And there was more good news for pot aficionados: Hours before a handful of retail outlets opened in the country's easternmost province 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.

Why does it matter?

One in five Canadian teens and almost one in three young adults reported using cannabis in 2015, "some of the highest rates in the world", the Canadian government said.

Lindstrom said most states along the Canadian border have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

But the so-called "green rush" is already on, as licensed cannabis growers have been rushing for months to get a foothold in what is expected to be a $5 billion industry ($6.5 billion Canadian dollars) by 2020, buttressed by the expected arrival of thousands of pot tourists from across the border in the United States. And producers have high expectations. A series of Mexico Supreme Court rulings beginning in 2015 began laying the groundwork for marijuana legalization by holding that people should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use. And don't forget all the pot-themed merchandise, like shirts depicting Justin Trudeau riding a giant joint. Each province and territory has set its own rules. The findings of the poll suggest that Canadians are unlikely to change their pot buying habits if legal cannabis products end up cheaper, but that at the moment appears an unlikely outcome.

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There remain unanswered questions on some key issues around how legal cannabis will work in Canada. The Canadian government is expecting tax revenue of $400m on the sale of cannabis. But not all Canadians are laughing.

"Municipalities will have a one-time window to opt-out of permitting cannabis retail stores within their municipal boundaries and they can enact by-laws that further restrict smoking cannabis beyond the provincial minimum standards in places like parks". There may be only half a dozen major cannabis players left after a few years, according to industry experts.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government's website OCS.ca - the only way to buy cannabis legally in Ontario until physical stores open in April next year - was running smoothly, but the number of dried cannabis products listed online had shrunk by Wednesday morning.

Still, the country-wide supply crunch continued to make it hard for cannabis retailers to meet existing demand.

Many Americans are likely to cross into Canada to buy and use pot, but they can't take it back.

"I don't need to be a criminal anymore, and that's a great feeling", singer Ashley MacIsaac said outside a government run shop in Nova Scotia. "We just made history".

Could America be next? "Recreational cannabis users in Canada ... will just continue with their (existing) sources of supply until the legal system catches up".

It might have a more immediate effect in countries like New Zealand, where the government has promised a legalization referendum by 2020, said John Walsh, of the advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America.

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