Other than Uruguay, it's the first nation to make recreational cannabis use legal.
While marijuana is legal for recreational use in nine states and the District of Columbia, and permitted for medical use in 31 overall, it remains illegal to carry cannabis across a USA border.
It is hoped legalising the drug will raise C$400m a year in tax revenue.
Country-wide legalization of the substance fulfills Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise from his 2015 campaign.
Cannabis products such as dried flower, pre-rolled joints and accessories are available for purchase online and in-store, but edibles won't be legal until sometime in 2019.
Before Wednesday, simple possession (up to 30 grams) of marijuana was "punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail", but anyone convicted under that law could already apply to have their conviction expunged, through the Parole Board of Canada, after five years passed. He joined Stateside to talk about what Canada's decision will mean for Canadian and American citizens who regularly cross the border between the two countries. Medical marijuana is legal in another 30 states.
"Police will continue to enforce the laws in relation to illegal grow operations and marijuana dispensaries", Const. Sandasha Bough said Wednesday.
Canada's national approach has allowed for unfettered industry banking, inter-province shipments of cannabis and billions of dollars in investment - a sharp contrast with national prohibition in the United States.
According to the federal government, there could be as many as 300 storefronts across Canada selling cannabis by year's end.
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Legalisation began at midnight with shops in Canada's eastern-most provinces the first to sell the drug.
The only legal weed that's for sale in the province sits inside the BC Cannabis Store down the street or it can be ordered online. Medicinal marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2001. "We have a lot of people that were anxious where they were going to be able to get a lot of this stuff because, as you know, as a recreational legal shop, you're not going to be able to get a lot of the stuff that we offer here", the co-owner said, referencing products such as edibles and CBD pain patches. Over 100 people braved the cold and wind in the province's capital St. John's, lining up outside a Tweed-branded store owned by Canopy Growth Corp., the world's most recognised cannabis producer.
"The cartels will always be many steps ahead of the provincial and federal bureaucrats unfortunately, I hate to say it", Sabet said. "We're making sure that it looks nice from the outside, but children won't be able to see into the store", he said.
"[It's] a little much, but right now it makes a bit of sense [that] with the limited amount of stock, it will be a bit pricey", said Lys.
"Then you're running into your good, better, best, and then supremely awesome cannabis, which probably will take you up to $20-25 a gram or more".
Canadians can even order marijuana online and have weed delivered by mail to their door.
Cam Battley, chief corporate officer of Aurora Cannabis, also one of Canada's largest cannabis companies, said it's not every day you get to be involved in the start of a new industry.
"They can't come in the store, but they can see the line, see this important moment in Canadian history", Fencott said.