Canada has become largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. The entire global market, meanwhile, could eventually be worth $150 billion, according to estimates from Roth Capital Partners.
"I'm having a plaque made with the date and time and everything", Ian Power, who was first in line outside a St. John's cannabis shop that opened at 12 a.m. local time, said after his purchase.
After running up dramatic gains in the lead-up to legalization, cannabis shares failed to join the party Wednesday.
A day that many Canadians have long dreamt of has finally arrived, with cannabis now officially legal across the country.
There's also the issue of economic competition between cannabis businesses in bordering states and provinces.
About 90 minutes before the store opened, 60 or so people were lined up on the sidewalk in the heart of downtown Montreal.
Another Water Street store, The Natural Vibe, opened to slightly less fanfare than Tweed, but a line of customers still stretched down the street, with some saying waiting in line was "akin to Disney World". Masse hopes that the agency's remarks will offer more clarity.
Licensed producers have been ramping up cannabis production and retailers have been gearing up for months, but both say it has been a compressed timeline for such a complicated endeavour. "And the fact they have a model in Canada - a country they have good relations with, that they're quite similar to culturally - can only help the reform cause".
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"Instead, we have a government scrambling to pass laws for a substance that is already legal", she said, adding that the government had chose to focus on other issues over the past months, such as Ford's move to slash the size of Toronto's city council.
In Toronto, people smoked joints as soon as they rolled out of bed in a big "wake and bake" celebration. "I've been prepping for 16 years". "The OCS is selling a product that's called Cannabis Intimate Spray". The number of locations could grow to as many as 150 within three years, the company estimates.
It said Ottawa should amend its weed legislation should cannabis consumption increase as a result of legalisation.
Hugo Senecal wanted to be the first.
It's still unclear if legalisation will undercut the black market. Initial demand was so strong the online portal recorded 100 sales in the first minute and 500 sales in an hour, totaling C$50,000.
"I don't need to be a criminal anymore, and that's a great feeling", said MacIsaac, who in 2001 had been arrested for possession in Saskatchewan. "I'm very grateful this happened in my generation". Now, more than 30 states have OK'd the medical use of marijuana, and nine have approved recreational use by adults. This has been a boon for the country as cannabis stocks have rocketed higher, drawing comparisons to cryptocurrency and the dot-com bubble.
Still, the rollout of legal cannabis sales isn't expected to be totally smooth. Some analysts, however, warn of possible shortage of recreational marijuana in the first year of legalization.
"Now that our neighbour to the north is opening its legal cannabis market, the longer we delay, the longer we miss out on potentially significant economic opportunities for OR and other states across the country", he said in a statement. "After that no one really knows".