Why the 1st man in line at Charlottetown's cannabis store couldn't buy anything

The P.E.I. Cannabis website went live at midnight Wednesday, marking the end of cannabis prohibition on the Island.

3 retail stores open at 9 a.m.

Robert MacNeill was the first person to make a purchase at the Cannabis P.E.I. store in Charlottetown. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Clayton Tierney was the first in line when the Cannabis P.E.I. store opened in Charlottetown Wednesday morning. 

Tierney said he arrived at 6 a.m. but since no one was lined up, he returned an hour later. 

"I wanted to be the first in line. I wanted to be the first guy to buy a legal gram." 

But an expired drivers license meant he wasn't allowed to enter the store and make the first purchase. 

'Tired of breaking the law'

Despite that, Tierney says it's a big deal. 

Clayton Tierney was first in line but an expired driver's license meant he wasn't allowed in the store. (Steve Bruce/CBC)
"I've been tired of breaking the law for about 40 years. I can get up today and not worry about breaking the stupid law they've had for so long." 

Tierney said a conviction in 1974 for possession, while a big thing at the time, didn't stop him from continuing to smoke marijuana.

But he says likes the idea of buying legally, adding it will all come down to the price on whether he continues to shop at the store. 

"If it's cheaper online, I'll buy it online or I'll grow my own." 

1st customer

Robert MacNeill was the person to make the first official purchase and said everything went smoothly. 

Robert MacNeill shows his receipt from the first official purchase at the Cannabis P.E.I. store in Charlottetown. (Steve Bruce/CBC)
"I bought some pre-rolled joints and couple of grams of marijuana. It feels good to say it." 

The P.E.I. Cannabis website went live at midnight Wednesday, marking the end of cannabis prohibition on the Island.

Islanders can order cannabis online for delivery to their home by Purolator, which will require proof-of-age verification and a signature to complete the delivery.

Zach Currie,  P.E.I.'s director of cannabis management, confirmed there was activity on the website after it went live at midnight, a positive sign, he added. 

Some of the first purchases made at the Cannabis P.E.I. store in Charlottetown. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"We're hopeful that we're expecting a lot of engagement, some excitement and a good presence in our stores as we open our doors and show Islanders the great work the teams been working on over the last year." 

A long line formed shortly before the store's opening. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, Islanders are able to walk into three locations in the province — in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague — and buy cannabis in person.

Time off work

Prior to the opening, there was a lineup outside the Charlottetown store, with some arriving at 7 a.m. It grew to about 100 people by the time the store opened at 9 a.m.

Wednesday morning, customers reported spending about 90 minutes from the time they lined up to leaving the store with their purchases. 

Tierney said he was surprised the lineup wasn't longer but added there is still a stigma associated with marijuana use. 

Jake Gallant was able to make the second purchase and he was heading home to enjoy what he bought. (Steve Bruce/CBC)
Another customer, Jake Gallant said he booked two days off work to celebrate legalization. 

"I was trying to get one of the first purchases here in Charlottetown but it seems someone beat me to it." 

Finance minister Heath MacDonald said the scanners will be gone for good, unless there's some other need, or reason to bring them back. (Steve Bruce/CBC)
After making his purchase, Gallant planned to head home and enjoy what he had purchased.

Retail store hours will match liquor store hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

A retail store in O'Leary is still under construction.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Steve Bruce


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?