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Hefty fines on legal pot day

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a bit of its high for some consumers who found themselves with hefty fines for allegedly violating laws around pot use.

Hours after people lined up outside Newfoundland cannabis stores to buy the first legal bud in Canada, police in St. John's, N.L., say they ticketed a man accused of having more than 30 grams of weed in a public place without a licence.

Police arrested the 41-year-old man following reports that he assaulted a woman. But they say at the time of the arrest they discovered he "had a quantity of cannabis" and was issued a summary offence ticket.

The Ontario Provincial Police took to Twitter early Wednesday to post a photo of a $215 ticket given to someone who allegedly had a baggy of marijuana in their car, urging people not to indulge while in a vehicle.

"Public safety is our commitment!! It is NOT OK for a driver to have marijuana beside them while operating a motor vehicle. Arrive alive, drive sober!!" OPP Central said on its Twitter feed.

Winnipeg police also posted a picture on Twitter of a $672 ticket handed out to someone accused of consuming cannabis in a motor vehicle.

Police say the ticket was issued early Wednesday morning, and they reminded people that while consuming cannabis is now legal, it is against the law to consume it in a car under the Highway Traffic Act.

"So … this happened early this morning: A Consume Cannabis in a Motor Vehicle ticket was issued," the force tweeted. "Just like alcohol, consuming cannabis is legal — and like alcohol, consuming it in your vehicle is **not**. #KnowYourRole."

It wasn't yet clear if police in other jurisdictions had issued tickets for alleged violations of the Cannabis Act, but a spokesman for the Halifax municipality said Wednesday that bylaw enforcement officers were handing out information pamphlets to people they saw smoking marijuana or tobacco outside designated areas.



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