Feds expected to pardon past cannabis possession convictions tomorrow


"It's been my dream to be the first person to buy the first legal gram of cannabis in Canada, and here I finally am", said Ian Power, who arrived four hours stand outside the store.

The Canadian government will announce that it will pardon those with a pot possession record of 30 grams or less when Canada becomes the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace Wednesday.

At least 111 legal pot shops are planning to open across the country of 37 million people on the first day, according to an Associated Press survey of the provinces. Aphria Inc, trading at $17.72, and Aurora Cannabis, which saw shares fall to $13.85, were each down more than five per cent at the open.

Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said there are "very significant" health and social risks related to edible forms of the drug - products expected to be widely purchased on the black market while it remains illegal to produce or sell them.

The Senate decision has been welcomed by thousands in the nation and several stores in Newfoundland reportedly opened at midnight with scores of people queuing outside to legally buy pot.

Ontario residents can now legally buy cannabis online, though they'll have to wait until early next year to purchase some from a store.

The move is a political win for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who vowed to legalize cannabis in his 2015 election campaign.

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Much of the paperwork needed for a blanket amnesty resides in local courthouses out of the immediate and easy reach of the federal government and the Parole Board, officials said. Some are operating government-run stores, some are allowing private retailers, some both.

In the run-up to legalization, cannabis companies have been on a tear, as companies struck deals while others went public, creating an investor frenzy.

Even in provinces with more shops, empty shelves are likely due to a shortage of product.

On Tuesday, analysts at Benchmark said Canada's recreational cannabis market could reach 10.5 billion Canadian dollars by 2023 and suggested that Tilray would continue to lead the pack. At the time he said legalization will be a process and not "a single-day event". The Canadian Department of Justice says historically, the majority of police-reported drug offenses have involved marijuana.

"We are just ecstatic", she said.

"We'll be talking about that in the coming days and weeks", he said before heading into a cabinet meeting.