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The Latest: Pot activist complains about new Canada law

Matthew Macdougall smokes a joint during a "Wake and Bake" legalized marijuana event in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Latest on Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A long-time cannabis advocate says the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada is a remarkable step forward, but many flaws remain in the law.

Dana Larsen is the founding member of the Marijuana Party of Canada and the BC Marijuana Party. He says it’s not the end of cannabis activists in Canada.

Larsen says both Quebec and Manitoba ban home cultivation of cannabis. In British Columbia, people can face a $5,000 fine and a possible three months in jail if the four pot plants they are allowed to grow can be seen from the street.

He also says some condominiums that previously allowed tobacco are now banning all smoking just to avoid cannabis use in the building.

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12:45 p.m.

Big crowds lined up at 17 licensed marijuana stores in Alberta for the start of legal sales.

Josh Harnack was one the first customers at one of three shops that the retail chain Fire and Flower opened in Edmonton on Wednesday. The 24-year-old said that by midday the line was taking about two hours, and that a lot of customers were taking their time once they made it inside so they could savor the historic moment.

Fire and Flower Chief Executive Trevor Fencott brought his wife and three children for the opening. Even though the children — ages 16, 13 and 6 — were too young to go in the store, Fencott said he wanted them to witness the sea-change in policy.

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1:40 p.m.

U.S. officials say the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada has not prompted any changes in the flow of traffic at U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Christopher Perry with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency told reporters in Detroit Wednesday that U.S. officials don’t anticipate asking Canadians crossing into the U.S. routine questions about their pot use.

Perry says U.S. border agents could make inquiries if they witness unusual behavior by travelers or are alerted by the police dogs used at the crossings.

He says Canadians caught bringing pot into the country risk having it confiscated and could face fines.

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12:40 p.m.

Sales figures on the first morning under Canada’s new legalized pot regime suggest there’s considerable demand for cannabis products across the country.

Shopify is powering many of the provincial online stores and says it has recorded than 100 cannabis orders per minute.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province’s government-run online store processed 38,000 orders by midmorning.

The New Brunswick provincial online sales outlet Cannabis NB reports an average of 700 live users each hour viewing its website and several hundred purchases in its first few hours of operation.

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11:45 a.m.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has joined the board of directors of a U.S. cannabis company.

Acreage Holdings announced Wednesday that Mulroney has joined its board. He joins an increasingly long list of politicians getting the pot business. Others include former U.S. House speaker John Boehner and ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Mulroney served as Canada’s prime minister from 1984 to 1993. His government introduced new initiatives such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

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11:20 a.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government’s new pardon laws for simple pot possession will be of particular benefit to young minority people.

Trudeau says people in those demographics were disproportionately affected by marijuana possession convictions, and that the new rules should remove a barrier for them.

There will be no fees involved. His government will introduce legislation to let people apply for a pardon of small-scale marijuana possession convictions as long as they’ve finished their sentence.

Those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be eligible for a pardon. The governing Liberal Party holds a majority in Parliament, so passage is largely assured.

Trudeau also says he has no intention of using marijuana now that it became legal in Canada on Wednesday.

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9:45 a.m.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canada’s government will introduce legislation to let people apply for a pardon of small-scale marijuana possession convictions — as long as they’ve finished their sentence.

The announcement comes on the day that Canada has legalized so-called recreational marijuana.

Goodale says there will be no fees involved. He says the initiative is about basic fairness.

A senior government official earlier told The Associated Press that those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be eligible for a pardon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

The governing Liberal Party holds a majority in Parliament, so passage is largely assured.

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12:30 a.m.

Canada has become largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland.

And there’s more good news for pot aficionados: Hours before a few 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.

A formal announcement was planned for later Wednesday. The official, who was not authorized to speak public ahead of the announcement, said those who want to take advantage of the pardons will have to apply.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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