High times in Canada as cannabis becomes legal nationwide

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High times in Canada as cannabis becomes legal nationwide

A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf flies during a rally in support of legalizing marijuana alongside Parliament Hill In Ottawa, Canada. 
Donald Weber | Getty Images

Today, Canada becomes the first industrialized nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Two decades after medical marijuana was legalized, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes good on one of his more progressive campaign promises: to legalize recreational use with the hopes of reducing related crime and underage usage. Canada is the only country other than Uruguay that allows recreational use nationwide.

It is a new industry with the potential for big growth, and Canada has now positioned itself to be the largest global marketplace for cannabis and cannabis-related products. Several cannabis companies have already started to go public with IPOs, providing investors with new opportunities. Major retailers such as Walmart Canada and several beverage companies are seeking ways to integrate these new offerings into their own product lines.

Canadians from coast to coast celebrate as this growing industry goes mainstream. The following are some of the scenes on this historic day.

  • The end of prohibition

    A resident smokes a joint while exiting a photo booth during a "Wake 'N Bake" event in Toronto, Ontario.

    A resident smokes a joint while exiting a photo booth during a 'Wake 'N Bake' event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 
    Cole Burston | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • The 'bud drops' at midnight

    Torontonians gather at a concert venue to watch the "bud drop" at the stroke of midnight, in celebration of the legalization of recreational cannabis.

    Torontonians gather at a local concert venue to watch the 'bud drop' at the stroke of midnight, in celebration of the legalization of recreational cannabis use on October 17, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. 
    Ian Willms | Getty Images News | Getty Images
  • High demand on day one

    People wait in line to enter a cannabis store in Montreal, Quebec.

    People wait in line to enter a cannabis store in Montreal, Quebec on October 17, 2018. 
    Martin Ouellet-Diotte | AFP | Getty Images
  • Pack of joints

    Boxes of pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes sit stacked at a Quebec Cannabis Society (SQDC) store during a media preview event in Montreal the day before cannabis became legal. The SQDC opened 12 stores in Montreal on Oct. 17.

    Boxes of pre-rolled joints sit stacked at a Quebec Cannabis Society (SQDC) store during a media preview event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. The SQDC will have twelve stores open in Montreal, as cannabis becomes legal in Canada on October 17. 
    Christinne Muschi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • First sale of a new day

    Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton poses for a photo with customers Ian Power and Nikki Rose, who were first in line to purchase legal recreational marijuana after midnight, at a Tweed retail store in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton poses for a photo with Ian Power and Nikki Rose, who were first in line to purchase the first legal recreational marijuana after midnight, at a Tweed retail store in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada October 17, 2018. 
    Chris Wattie | Reuters
  • Wake 'N Bake

    Residents pose for a selfie while smoking a joint during a "Wake 'N Bake" event in Toronto.

    Residents pose for a selfie photograph while smoking a joint during a 'Wake 'N Bake' event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 
    Cole Burston | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • Double-check your bags before you travel

    A sign warns travelers about crossing international borders with cannabis at the Ottawa International Airport in Ottawa, Ontario. The United States still has strict laws and regulations regarding cannabis possession, so travelers should beware.

    A sign warning travellers about crossing international borders with cannabis is seen at the Ottawa International Airport in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 15, 2018. 
    Chris Wattie | Reuters
  • A degree in weed

    Bill MacDonald, program coordinator of the new Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College, instructs his students inside the marijuana lab in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.

    Bill MacDonald, program coordinator of the new Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College, instructs his students inside the marijuana lab in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, October 9, 2018. 
    Carlos Osorio | Reuters
  • Products on the shelves

    Cannabis items for sale are seen on Oct. 16 in a Montreal cannabis store owned by the SQDC.

    Cannabis items for sale are seen on October 16, 2018 in a Montreal cannabis store owned by the SQDC (Société québecoise du cannabis), a day before the October 17, 2018 legalisation of cannabis in Canada. 
    Martin Ouellet-Diotte | AFP | Getty Images
  • A budding industry

    Employee Martin Henderson walks past growing plants at Up's cannabis factory in Lincoln, Ontario.

    Employee Martin Henderson walks past several plants of cannabis at Up's cannabis factory in Lincoln, Ontario, on October 12, 2018.
    Lars Hagberg | AFP | Getty Images
  • Now available at a store near you

    A customer holding a cannabis product gestures while leaving the Natural Vibe store in St. John's after legal recreational marijuana went on sale in Canada.

    A customer holding a cannabis product gestures while leaving the Natural Vibe store after legal recreational marijuana went on sale in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada October 17, 2018. 
    Chris Wattie | Reuters