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Starting Oct. 17, Canada becomes the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace.Canada's national approach has allowed for unfettered industry banking, interprovince shipments of cannabis, online ordering, postal delivery and billions of dollars in investment; national prohibition in the U.S. has stifled greater industry expansion there.Hannah Hetzer, who tracks international marijuana policy for the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, called Canada's move "extremely significant," given that about 25 countries have already legalized the medical use of marijuana or decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug. At least 109 legal pot shops are expected to open across the nation of 37 million people next Wednesday, with many more to come, according to an Associated Press survey of the provinces.The provinces are tasked with overseeing marijuana distribution. Canada's most populous province, Ontario, won't have any stores open until next April, after the new conservative government scrapped a plan for state-owned stores in favor of privately run shops.The federal government has licensed 120 growers, some of them enormous. Canopy Growth, which recently received an investment of $4 billion from Constellation Brands, whose holdings include Corona beer, Robert Mondavi wines and Black Velvet whiskey, is approved for 5.6 million square feet (520,000 square meters) of production space across Canada. Its two biggest greenhouses are near the U.S. border in British Columbia.Beren, a 23-year cannabis grower, is a Canopy consultant.
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