Twelve of 15 Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) shops opened up across the province Tuesday after the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
In Montreal, customers at the Ste-Catherine Street location lined up well in advance of the 10 a.m. opening, while workers scrambled to put up a store sign.
Sitting comfortably in lawn chairs on the sidewalk, some men who got there as early as 3:45 a.m. passed the time legally lighting up.
“It feels amazing,” Hugo Sénécal told Global News. “I was getting high before — illegally — but it feels better now.”
Sénécal was first in line.
“It’s basically historic. I am here to be the first one to buy legal cannabis in Montreal,” he said, adding that he probably wouldn’t return to the store preferring to continue purchasing his medical marijuana online.
WATCH: First in line at Montreal pot shop
Next in line was Corey Stone.
“I wanted to be first, ended up being second,” he said. “You can’t win them all.”
All joking aside, Stone said he was there to celebrate the end of prohibition.
“It’s symbolic, it’s going to feel good to have the prohibition over. It’s historic.”
As the morning dragged on, the line on Ste-Catherine started getting longer, eventually wrapping around the corner, with various international media on site to witness the first legal marijuana sales in Montreal.
Only 20 people were let into the store at a time. Some described their joy at being able to buy marijuana from the government instead of criminals.
“The prices are competitive and we know the source, which is always better than buying from a dealer,” Jack Bernier told Global News.
WATCH: Cannabis in Quebec cheat sheet
Serge Corbin agreed, explaining he’d rather see the money from pot sales put to good use.
“You know, why not put it toward education and health and whatever else?” he said.
The SQDC buys cannabis only from licensed producers who must undergo regular inspections. Furthermore, the SQDC says its cannabis does not contain additives or pesticides that are not approved by Health Canada.
Those shopping at the SQDC from the comfort of their own homes, might not have had to wait in line, but couldn’t necessarily get their hands on their product of choice, with many items listed as out of stock.
— With files from Global’s Dan Spector