This is how much cannabis costs in British Columbia

Larry Hoffman
October 20, 2018

Whether you are entering or leaving Canada, it is illegal to have marijuana with you, and you could face criminal charges.

American TV news trucks, such as NBC, were spotted at a pot shop where long lineups were forming in Montreal.

On Oct. 17, 2018, Canada will become the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace.

In Canada's most populated province, Ontario, some 38,000 orders for marijuana - worth about US$574,800 - were registered in the first few hours Wednesday.

Ian Power was one of the first people to buy legal recreational marijuana in Canada, but he has no plans to smoke it. Legalizing the drug and regulating its sale will help keep it from children, the Canadian government says, along with cutting into black market profits. The change raises questions for US travelers eager to hightail it across the border and light one up.

Currently, nine US states allow the recreational use of marijuana, including Arizona neighbors California, Nevada and Colorado.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Cannabis Store told CP24 Thursday that they are happy with how the site is performing and called the delay an "unfortunately side effect" of the high number of orders they have been processing.

A study by the University of Waterloo and economic policy think tank C.D. Howe Institute found legal supply will satisfy under 60 percent of demand in the early months, though that will change as production increases. In Quebec, the legal purchasing age will be 18, and while citizens will also be permitted to carry up to 30 grams of the drug in public, the legal limit for possession on private property will be 150 grams.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is already taking measures to warn travelers about carrying marijuana across international borders.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2001. The most populous province is working on its regulations and doesn't expect stores until next spring.

Others balked at the relatively high prices - ranging from Can$5.25 (US$4.02) in Quebec to Can$18.99 in Saskatchewan per gram - compared to the black market that saw average prices plunge in the previous year to Can$6.79 per gram.

State laws vary in the United States but because U.S. federal law is clear that marijuana is illegal, that means that even going from, say, Vancouver to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), is risky.

Despres smoked bought pot with a low level of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis.

"It's hard to find people to sell to me because I look like a cop", the clean-cut, 43-year-old computer programmer said outside a newly opened pot store.

"I worry that in the rush to legalize, we haven't fully thought through what it means to create a whole new industry that encourages a lot more use of a mind-altering drug".

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