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Canada Becomes First Industrialized Nation To Legalize Cannabis

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Canada Becomes First Industrialized Nation To Legalize Cannabis

Canada became the first industrialized nation to legalize recreational cannabis on Wednesday, but a lawful buzz will be hard to come by in its biggest cities like Toronto and Vancouver, which will have no stores open.

Weed enthusiasts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s easternmost province, kicked off the first permissible sales at midnight. Over 100 people braved the cold and wind in the province’s capital St. John’s, lining up outside a Tweed-branded store owned by Canopy Growth Corp., the world’s most recognized cannabis producer.

Canopy’s Chief Executive Bruce Linton rang in the first sales to residents Ian Power and Nikki Rose.

“I came out tonight to be the first person in Canada to purchase the first legal gram of recreational cannabis, to help see the end of prohibition in Canada finally,” Power said.

The day was historic for the country as adult Canadians will be able to legally smoke recreational marijuana after nearly a century-long ban.

However, many provincial governments’ approval of only a small number of shops so far, and a shortage of weed supplied to these stores, means most Canadians’ first toke on Wednesday will likely be of black-market pot.

“There will be a lot of celebrations on the day, and it will almost all be with illegal cannabis” in some of Canada’s biggest cities, said Brad Poulos, an instructor and cannabis business expert at Ryerson University in Toronto. “Recreational cannabis users in Canada … will just continue with their (existing) sources of supply until the legal system catches up.”

Despite the dearth of stores in Canada’s biggest cities, consumers can buy legal marijuana online, from provincial governments or licensed retailers, although delivery will take a few days.

Other countries around the world, many of whom are just approving medical marijuana, are watching Canada’s recreational legalization, which combines federal rules with varying provincial regulations.

The move is a political win for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who vowed to legalize cannabis in his 2015 election campaign. That pledge was aimed at taking profits away from organized crime and regulating the production, distribution and consumption of a product that millions of Canadians had been consuming illegally.

But provinces and businesses have struggled to prepare, and legalization was pushed back from original expectations of a July start to enable setting up distribution and sales networks.

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.

The federal government and many provinces have been cautious, starting with limited stores and products, including no edibles for a year, and tight control over supply.

WEED SHORTAGE

Ontario, home to Canada’s most populous city, Toronto, will have no physical stores until April 2019, due to a change to the province’s retail model by a new provincial government.

British Columbia, which plans both province-run and private outlets, has only one government store 350 kilometers (220 miles) from its biggest city, Vancouver. Private store licenses will only be issued after legalization, the province’s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said.

“October 18th is going to look very much like October 16th, in many ways,” Farnworth said.

Even in provinces with more shops, empty shelves are likely due to a shortage of product. A study by the University of Waterloo and economic policy think tank C.D. Howe Institute found legal supply will satisfy under 60 percent of demand in the early months, though that will change as production increases.

“Oct. 17 will … probably be the least elegant day,” Canopy’s CEO Linton said. “But the key message is not how it works on the first day but that there is a first day.”

Law enforcement going forward could be patchy. In August, Canada approved a device to detect levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis’s psychoactive element, in drivers’ oral fluids.

But many large police departments will forego the C$5,000 device, Adam Palmer, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, told reporters on Monday.

Draeger Safety Canada, which makes the device, has shipped some units, but a two-week federal funding delay has put further orders on hold, although it expects demand for between 300 and 500 units through March, Managing Director Rob Clark said.

Canada has invested C$274 million to enforce the new laws and some provinces have allocated their own funding, but Palmer said police will not crack down on illegal stores right away.

“When the law changes on the 17th, we’re not going to see a big change overnight,” Palmer said. “Police aren’t … chomping at the bit to go out and start raiding stores.”

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Nigerian News

Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

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Nigeria Remains Third Most Terrorized Country In The World

Nigeria still holds the unenviable position as the third most terrorized country in the world.

The 2018 global terrorism index, released on Wednesday, says  this is as a result of the spate of terrorism in Nigeria.  It also points to what it called the “increase in violence involving Fulani extremists”.  The report says this is happening as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling..

Nigeria is ranked only below Iraq and Afghanistan, both in first and second positions.

This year alone, hundreds of Nigerians have been killed in attacks by suspected herdsmen as well as clashes between the herders and farmers/communities.

States worst hit in the attacks are Plateau, Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and others.

The report also noted that, compared to the peak of “terrorist deaths” in 2014, “the largest falls in the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

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World News

Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

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Migrants Breech U.S.-Mexico Border

Central American migrants stuck at the U.S.–Mexico border breached the border fence on Monday, even though they knew they could be detained by U.S. authorities. They hoped the illegal entry would allow them to apply for asylum.

Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, have traveled north through Mexico in a caravan, some walking much of the long distance.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to stop the migrants, sending troops to reinforce the border and attempting a procedural change to require asylum-seekers to remain in mexico while their cases are heard. So far, the courts have denied those attempts.

Applying for asylum at a U.S. land border can take months, so if migrants enter illegally and present themselves to authorities,their cases could be heard more quickly.

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World News

Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

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Analyst Expects Unsuccessful Yemen Peace Meeting

A political analyst says prospects for returning to a unified Yemen remain dim despite members from both warring parties meeting to discuss peace in Stockholm, Sweden.

Supported by the United Nations, representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels will meet for political consultations later this week, although no exact date has been announced for the start of the negotiations that would be the first peace talks since 2016.

Mokhtar Yafie, a political analyst in Aden says he does not expect much success from the Stockholm peace meeting.

Yafie added that the internal divisions within the Yemeni government and the Houthi would also complicate the negotiation.

Although some residents in Yemen hold little hopes for the peace talks, there are people having high expectations for them.

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