High spirits abound despite the waits to be first buyers of legal cannabis in Montreal

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Sprawling lineups were a fixture at the few operational Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) storefronts on the first day of legal, Canada-wide cannabis sales. In Quebec, 11 shops opened their doors to customers, three located in Montreal.

And it wasn’t only consumers who flocked to the government-run weed stores – major media outlets like NBC were on hand to witness the spectacle. Even Mexico’s TV Azteca made an appearance.

Some of the patrons reported waiting as long as five hours to get their hands on the first batches of government-sanctioned pot.

When asked if he’d wait five hours for a beer, a customer who would only identify himself as Frank the Tank responded, “No, but I think I deserve one.”

As the Nation paced the lines on St. Hubert and St. Catherine streets informing customers of the long wait times, most were resolute in making their purchase. Some, not so much.

“Five hours,” exclaimed a man who preferred to stay anonymous. “I’m just going to call my dealer, and try again tomorrow.”

Another customer at the back of line named Pat said that he’d wait it out, so long as it didn’t snow.

And while it was mostly smiles down south, it’ll be three to five days before SQDC products make their debut in Eeyou Istchee.

One “happy toker” from Eeyou Istchee said that although a lot of the premium products were sold out by the time they accessed the SQDC’s online store, their order had been received and they were patiently waiting for their shipment from Canada Post.

Another anonymous source said that they hadn’t heard of anyone “sparking up in public” up north, but that the SQDC prices would make it difficult for local dealers to stay competitive.

There are three varieties of cannabis available online and in stores with varying effects: Indica, Sativa and hybrids. Edibles and CBD products won’t be available until at least the spring of 2019.

Indica strains are believed to be physically sedating. On the other hand, Sativa plants are seen to be more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings and creative projects. Hybrids combine both and depend on what genetic traits they receive from the parent plant.

In other words, Indica breeds help ease pain, and to relax. Sativas are good for making art, dancing or conversation. Hybrids are a mix of the two.

There are still legal risks to avoid. The Eeyou Enou Police Department published an extensive list in force now that the Cannabis Regulation Act is in effect.
Growing a plant will set you back $250-$750 for a first-time offence. Repeat offenders could face up to a $1,500 fine. Purchasing cannabis for a minor, also still illegal, is punishable with a fine of up to $3,000. Driving while high gets a fine of $1000 and a license suspension for a year for a first-time offense.

Smugglers and dealers for repeat offenses can face fines of up to $1 million. People working under the influence can receive a fine, while repeat offenders might pay up to $4,500. Like cigarettes, smoking within a nine-metre radius of a prohibited place can also net a fine of $500 to $3000, depending on whether or not it’s a first-time offense.

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