Canadian adults can legally smoke pot as of Wednesday, ending almost a century of prohibition, and the world it seems is paying attention. Some media outlets, including Vice, called legalization day "Hash Wednesday".
Although the majority of Canadians support legal cannabis, some in the health care field have raised concerns, particularly about the potential for cannabis to be addictive or that young people may feel peer pressure to try it.
American TV news trucks, such as NBC, were spotted at a pot shop where long lineups were forming in Montreal.
Countries around the globe, many of whom are just approving medical marijuana, are watching Canada's recreational legalization, which combines federal rules with varying provincial regulations.
Weed enthusiasts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada's easternmost province, kicked off the first permissible sales at midnight.
Not all of the details surrounding marijuana legalization in Canada have been sorted out yet, particularly when it comes to the country's relationship with the United States, where marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, putting it in the same category as cocaine and heroin. "Our kids are going to inherit this system, for better or worse, and I thought it was important for them to see this sea change in Canadian society". "So it's about an education project on the Canadian side to make sure that we weed out - no pun intended - all those accidental problems", Masse said.
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Currently, nine USA states allow the recreational use of marijuana, including Arizona neighbors California, Nevada and Colorado.
"This volume of orders far exceeds the forecasts of the SQDC", the Quebec government pot retailer said.
The most expensive gram of legal weed in Quebec for now is Aurora's "Banana Split", priced at $11.30.
Just a handful of retail locations are up and running on day one, though medical marijuana has been approved for sale in Canada for some time. Canadian law now allows people 18 and older to buy pot, though some provinces have upped the minimum age to 19 to match the drinking age. A nationwide market selling the drug has opened, and until legal stores are more widely available, some unlicensed cannabis retailers, which have increased in recent years, may stay open.
Canada has posted signage at airports and boarder crossings to keep recreational cannabis users aware - crossing global boarders with the drug is still very much illegal. "Prohibition has ended right now, we made history", Power said. They can possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public, or its equivalent. The province with the largest population is working on its laws and does not expect stores until next year.
"I can't believe we did it".