After enduring nearly 100 years of prohibition of cannabis, the plant and its by-products were formally legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. As Global News details, such a momentous occasion also brought with it the distinction of becoming one of the top news stories of the year. As voted on by members of the Canadian media, the legalization and regulation of cannabis is officially the Canadian Press Business News Story of the Year — and it’s not exactly hard to see why.
With many provincial retailers have been completely sold out and holding a dearth of stock for weeks on end, it appears that the initial demand for cannabis products is holding very strong. Per CTV News, day one sales were extremely strong — and in some cases, “far exceeded” the anticipated demand — providing several million dollars in aggregate revenue within 24 hours.
Andrew Meeson, the deputy editor of the business section for the TorontoStar, offered up his personal thoughts as to why the story was selected.
“It’s hard to think of an area in Canada that hasn’t been shaken up: not just commerce (from criminal act to booming startup to takeover target in the blink of an eye), but also policing, health care, justice, politics. Even culture (just ask Tommy Chong).”
— Montreal Gazette (@mtlgazette) December 14, 2018
Of the ballots cast by media professionals, cannabis legalization won the raw majority of votes, attaining 60 percent of the total count. Competing stories such as the incoming USMCA trade agreement fostered by President Donald Trump, as well as the issue of transnational pipelines were in the running as well, drawing 30 percent of the vote and 10 percent of the ballots respectively.
The first legal marijuana transaction in Canada took place in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, per CTV News. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador had a leg up on the competition in terms of having access to the legal market first amongst their countrymen, with the province having a unique time zone which places it half an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time.
Having waited in line for hours in order to make history, customer Ian Power purchased his cannabis from the Tweed store on Water Street.
“I’m having a plaque made with the date and time and everything. This is never actually going to be smoked. I’m going to keep it forever,” Power said to media figures present.
“Who else gets to be first to help ring in the end of prohibition?”
As the Financial Post points out, Canada became the second country in the world to federally legalize cannabis on October 17, 2018. The only country which beat the True North to the punch was Uruguay, which legalized the plant in 2013.