The first private cannabis shops opened on Monday in Ontario, triggering a consumer feeling in this most populous Canadian state, nearly six months after legalizing the drug for recreational purposes.
Since legalization on 17 October, Ontarians only managed to get cannabis by ordering online from the government distribution company.
In Toronto, dozens of people were camping by night in front of the only shop to open. In Ottawa, a buyer said he was waiting two hours in the cold to become the first customer of the Fire and Flower shop.
"This is the beginning of retail in Ontario, the biggest market in Canada, so we have great hopes for our shop," said Trevor Fencott, director of Fire and Flower, at AFP.
"We expect good sales today," he added as customers flocked to his shop in the center of Ottawa.
In October, Canada was the second largest country in the world to legalize possession and use of leisure cannabis five years after Uruguay.
In recent months, a network of sites and outlets has flourished in the country, and each of the ten provinces has implemented its distribution framework.
In Quebec, legalization is so popular that government stores, which are caused by consumers, have to close several days a week due to lack of supply.
In Ontario, leisure cannabis sales were given to the private sector and a lottery was held in December for operating licenses.
Thousands of entrepreneurs have shown an interest in opening a shop in this 14 million state, but only 25 licenses have been issued by the province. A dozen shops opened on Monday, organized by the provincial government for retail start-up.
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BOUTROS Philippe HAGE