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Canada becomes 2nd nation to legalize recreational marijuana

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Recreational marijuana became legal in Canada early Wednesday, creating a potential $4 billion industry. Photo by Warren Toda/EPA-EFE
Recreational marijuana became legal in Canada early Wednesday, creating a potential $4 billion industry. Photo by Warren Toda/EPA-EFE

Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Recreational marijuana is now legal to buy from licensed retailers across Canada.

At the stroke of midnight Tuesday, the Cannabis Act went into effect, allowing adults to possess up to 30 grams of pot in dried or "equivalent non-dried" form. Canadians can also share up to 30 grams with other adults. Dried or fresh cannabis or cannabis oil can also be purchased from licensed retailers or online from federally licensed producers.

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Canadians can also grow up to four cannabis plants per home from licensed seeds and make their own cannabis-infused food and drinks at home.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a platform to legalize marijuana, saying it's too easy for minors to get the drug and for criminals to reap the profits. The Cannabis Act passed the Canadian Senate in June.

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Experts say the new industry could be worth more than $4 billion.

Canada is just the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide. The first was Uruguay in 2013. Nine states in the United States have legalized recreational marijuana and medical use is legal in 30 states.

"Canada's move to legalize marijuana is a historic rebuke to the disastrous global war on drugs, which has ruined millions of lives," Hannah Hetzer, a senior international policy manager at the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, told Business Insider.

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It's up to each province to set age limits and decide how to sell it. Quebec said it will raise the age limit to 21.

Unlicensed dispensaries that were selling marijuana will have to register like the other retailers that now sell it, British Columbia Safety Minister Mike Fanworth said.

The albertacannabis.org website had trouble loading early Wednesday because so many people were trying to access the site.

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