Long queues across Canada as the sale of marijuana is legalised

A man smokes a marijuana joint as he waits in line outside a government store to purchase legal cannabis in Montreal, Quebec on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
A man smokes a marijuana joint as he waits in line outside a government store to purchase legal cannabis in Montreal, Quebec on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Ian Power was among the first to buy legal recreational marijuana in Canada, but he has no plans to smoke it. He plans to frame it.

Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales started early yesterday in Newfoundland.

Mr Power, 46, was first in line at a store in Newfoundland capital St. John’s.

“I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall,” he said.

“I’m not even going to smoke it. I’m just going to save it forever.” There was more good news for pot aficionados. Canada will pardon all those with convictions for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana – the newly legal threshold.

People will have to apply for the pardons, but will no longer have to wait five years after a conviction or pay hundreds of dollars in fees as they do now.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, who said he had no plans to use marijuana himself, said: “This is going to going to make a real difference for people who have been unfairly impacted by the previous regime.”

Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001. Mr Trudeau’s government has spent two years working toward expanding that to include recreational marijuana. The goal is to better reflect society’s changing opinion about marijuana and bring black market operators into a regulated system.

Uruguay was the first country to legalise marijuana.

Hundreds of customers were lined up around the block at the private store on St John’s Water Street – the main commercial drag in the provincial capital – by the time the clock struck midnight. A festive atmosphere broke out, with some customers lighting up on the sidewalk and motorists honking their horns in support as they drove by the crowd.

“Prohibition has ended right now,” Mr Power said as he bought a gram. “We just made history. I can’t believe we did it. All the years of activism paid off.”

Bruce Linton, the chief executive of marijuana producer and retailer Canopy Growth, made the sale to Mr Power.

“It was extremely emotional,” he said. “Several people who work for us have been working on this for their entire adult life and several of them were in tears.”

Mr Linton said Canada was at the forefront of the industry because it was federally legal in Canada and federally illegal in the US.

“The last time Canada was this far ahead in anything, Alexander Graham Bell made a phone call,” said Mr Linton, whose company recently received an investment of $US4 billion from Constellation Brands, whose holdings include Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wines.

Tom Clarke, an illegal pot dealer for three decades, was also among the first to make a legal sale in Canada when his store opened at midnight local time in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland.

He made the first sale to his father. A crowd of up to 100 people waited outside and cheered him. “This is awesome. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this,” Mr Clarke said.