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Cannabis legalization

Ian Power talks with the media at the Tweed shop on Water Street in St. John’s N.L. following his purchase of the first legal marijuana for recreational use in Canada at 12:01am local time on Wednesday October 17, 2018.
(Photo from Paul Daly, The Canadian Press)

Photos: These are the first Canadians to buy legal weed

As of 12:01 a.m., recreational cannabis became legal across Canada. Well before the hour struck, lineups were queueing up outside pot stores in the country’s biggest cities.

Ian Power was the first person to purchase legal marijuana in Canadian history. He lined up at midnight in St. John’s during the opening of the Tweed retail location. That event was attended by Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation, which owns the Tweed brand.

“I’m elated,” Power told CBC News. “I’m so excited, I can’t stop smiling. I’m not cold. It’s freezing cold out, but I’m not cold.”

Power also told The Canadian Press he was not actually going to smoke the first bud he bought, and would keep it as a memento “forever.”

On Wednesday morning, stores began opening in other provinces, and more Canadians made their first purchases.

Among those waiting outside the store in Sydney River, N.S. was none other than Canadian fiddling legend Ashley MacIsaac.

“I don’t need to be a criminal anymore, and that’s a great feeling,” MacIsaac told The Canadian Press. In 2001, he was arrested for possession in Saskatchewan. “And my new dealer is the prime minister!”

But not every province and territory has brick-and-mortar locations available. Sales in Ontario will only be through the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website until April 2019 at the earliest. It was down early Wednesday morning, but was back up as of this writing.

Alberta’s online pot store also received heavy traffic as soon as 12:01 a.m. hit.

At 12:07 a.m. local time, the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission tweeted: “You like us! Our website is experiencing some heavy traffic. We are working hard to get it up and running.”

Here’s a look at some of the first Canadians to get their hands on legal pot.

With files from The Canadian Press.