Montreal·Photos

Who are the Quebecers buying cannabis on the first day of legalization?

Meet some of the people who waited for hours outside to buy cannabis at one of the new government-run stores.

Thousands across province wait outside, go online to buy legal cannabis

Sylvain Dion bought THC oral spray at the Société Québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) store in Quebec City. (Peter Tardif/CBC)

Sylvain Dion says he hasn't smoked pot since he was a teenager.  

Today, the 63-year-old was one of thousands across the province to shop at a government-run legal cannabis store on the day the substance became legal.

"I can't smoke pot because I have asthma," Dion said. That's why he decided to buy THC oral spray at the Société Québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) store in Quebec City.

Legalization was an incentive for Dion to try using cannabis for the first time in decades, and he hopes the spray will help wean him off his sleeping medication.

The historic day, marking an end to nearly 100 years of prohibition, was, for some, a chance to step out of the shadows.

Chris and Monica Love were among those lined up outside the SQDC shop on l'Acadie Boulevard in Montreal, Wednesday. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

"I've been smoking weed since I was 19," said Chris Love, who was at the new outlet on l'Acadie Boulevard in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. 

"I've been productive my whole life. Now people are coming out of the woodwork, and I don't have to hide anymore."

Chris called it a "glorious" day.

Many are calling legalization an historic event, and a chance to step out of the shadows. (Sylvain Charest/CBC)

His wife Monica said that although she hasn't smoked much pot lately, legalization was an incentive to get back into it.

"[It's good] to be able to not be looked at as a criminal," she said.

She said the store "smells good" and is very organized, with lots of information available for clients.

But getting a receipt for the 3.5 grams of sativa she bought?

"Very weird," she said.

Many braved the chilly October weather just to be a part of the first day of legalization.

"I just want to buy the first legal weed I can," said 26-year-old Natasha McMartin, who was in line at the l'Acadie Boulevard location.

Lili Lamouche, 29, had been waiting about an hour and a half in the cold for her legal weed purchase, Wednesday morning. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

Lili Lamouche, 29, had been waiting about an hour and a half in the cold for her legal weed purchase, Wednesday morning. She said paying taxes on a formerly illegal substance feels a little wild.

"I voted for Justin Trudeau," she said. "It's the first time I don't feel let down by my government, they kept that big promise. It's the only reason I voted for him in the first place."

Most of those in line were men, she said, joking that the women were at work and would come shop afterwards.

Lamouche and two of her friends made custom hoodies for legalization day, displaying shirtless photos of the prime minister holding bags of pot. 

For Philip Bruneau, Cannabidiol oil was the desired product. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

Not everyone shopping was looking to get blazed. For Philip Bruneau, Cannabidiol oil was the desired product.

The cannabis compound has medical benefits like pain relief, but does not make people feel stoned.

"Before you didn't know what was in it, and now you do," he said. "That's the big thing about legalization of cannabis."

Thousands, as well, bought cannabis at the SQDC's online store. Several of the products were sold out by mid-afternoon.

With files from Peter Tardif, Simon Nakonechny and Radio-Canada

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