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 illegal weed.
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.