Customers in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador were the first to purchase legal pot as stores opened at midnight.
In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians would buy cannabis from legal dispensaries this year - about 15 percent of the population.
Canada is the first G7 country (economically dominant countries that include France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to fully legalize recreational marijuana.
Even though cannabis is legal within Canada, it's illegal to bring it into the country, even if you're traveling from one of the US states where it's legal as well.
Linton said Canada is at the head of the industry because it is federally legal in Canada and federally illegal in the United States.
"We're not legalizing cannabis because we think it's good for our health".
He warned the public not to expect the marijuana black market to disappear overnight, pointing to other jurisdictions where it has been a much more gradual process.
Countries around the world, many of which are just approving medical marijuana, are watching Canada's recreational legalization, which combines federal rules with varying provincial regulations.
"This is going to going to make a real difference for people who have been unfairly impacted by the previous regime", said Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, who said he had no plans to use marijuana himself.
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"The criminal prohibition that was in effect for a century in this country has failed our kids and our community", Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction, told reporters.
Provinces and businesses have been struggling to prepare, and legalization was pushed back from original expectations of a July start to enable setting up distribution and sales networks.
In Ontario, products disappeared from the province's online store as they quickly sold out, with 38,000 orders processed by mid-morning.
Morgan also weighed in on the federal government's pledge to waive the waiting period and fee for those seeking a pardon for simple cannabis possession offences, saying applications should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Stores in St John's in the Atlantic island province of Newfoundland were due to open their doors to pot enthusiasts as of 12:01am yesterday.
Before Wednesday, simple possession (up to 30 grams) of marijuana was "punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail", but anyone convicted under that law could already apply to have their conviction expunged, through the Parole Board of Canada, after five years passed. What's handy about the OCS site is it actually keeps track of how many grams out of 30 you have as you shop.
For the most part, however, provinces will have one federally run online shopping destination. The vote ended a 95-year-ban on the substance.
Driving under the influence of drugs is still 100 per cent illegal.
Despres smoked bought pot with a low level of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis.
"There'll be no government store that'll let you say, 'Please, can I pay you tomorrow?' " he added.