U.S. on watch after Canada legalizes marijuana

WASHINGTON DC -- On Wednesday, Canada became only the second, and the largest, nation in the world to fully legalize marijuana, meaning citizens can now use it recreationally.

“You know, this is a major public policy shift in this country, probably the largest in several decades," said Mike Farnworth, the Public Safety Minister for British Columbia, "I've no doubt there will be hiccups."

Canadian politicians who pushed for legalization said the move will stop underage users, and reduce drug-related crime. It’s also expected to be big business, as at least 110 dispensaries are ready to open around the country. Even Ontario’s Niagara College is following in UConn’s footsteps, and offering formal classes on how to cultivate cannabis.

"They learn irrigation, how to use irrigation, insect control, trapping -- ” said Alan Unwin from Niagara College, "Students, when they graduate from this program, will have a credential in commercial cannabis production.”

Here in the U.S., attitudes towards pot have been shifting. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 62 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. Six states – Michigan, North Dakota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and Utah – will be voting on marijuana initiatives during next month’s elections.

Even the ultra-conservative Mormon Church is backing legislation for medical marijuana use in Utah, saying it hopes medical marijuana can “alleviate human pain and suffering.”