Weed week in Canada: Fines, wines, long lines and online flubs

The highly anticipated start to the legalization of recreational cannabis has come and gone but as Canada continues to work through buying, selling and consumption across the country, here’s what you need to know about the first week of cannabis legalization.

First sales

Legalization day started with the first sale made in St. John’s by Ian Power and Nikki Rose, who lined up at 8:00 p.m. in anticipation of the Tweed store’s opening at midnight on October 17.

If you think 8:00 p.m. is early to start lining up, the Montreal Gazette reported that individuals arrived to cannabis stores as early as 3:45 a.m. to be among the first in the store at 10:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, Ontarians were ordering products online through the government-run website OCS.ca, the only way to legally purchase cannabis products in the province, at this point. Zach Johns is the first person in the province to receive an order from the Ontario Cannabis Store: two products at one gram each, received on October 18.

Fleur de Lune Intimate Spray/Ontario Cannabis Store

But the the first day of online sales wasn’t necessarily a perfect launch. Most notably, Ontario’s online store had a mixup with its listing for “intimate” spray, meant to be used to reduce genital inflammation, which was mis-labeled as an oral product to be sprayed under the tongue.

Weed-related marketing

As store lines grew and the online orders were processed, the jokes also continued to roll in and companies started using legalization day as a marketing tool for various products – particularly “munchie” snacks.

Lifford Wine & Spirits’ new division Lifford Cannabis Solutions organized the first wine, beer and cannabis tasting with beverage alcohol industry professionals, marking the introduction of premium cannabis products to the hospitality industry.

Even young entrepreneurs like nine-year-old Edmonton Girl Guide Elina Childs profited from legalization. Childs set up shop outside one of the city’s six cannabis stores and sold out of three cases of cookies in about 45 minutes.

Pot police

Toronto police even got in on the action with a series of announcements about what is an appropriate 9-1-1 call,  and it shouldn’t be cannabis related.

Moving beyond police 9-1-1 alerts, if you’re planning on getting your hands on some legal cannabis products, make sure you’re not violating any regulations. Police across the country have already given hefty fines.

Winnipeg’s police service issued a ticket for consuming cannabis in a motor vehicle on legalization day. Leaving the individual with a $672 fine.

Additionally, cannabis shops in British Columbia and Newfoundland were raided on October 18. On Vancouver Island, police seized thousands of dollars worth of marijuana from two pot shops open without provincial licenses. Police and inspectors from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. cleared a St. John’s dispensary after tagging and bagging the items in the shop.