Montreal (AFP) - Thousands of Canadian cannabis enthusiasts -- overwhelmingly men -- lined up outside pot shops before the crack of dawn for a chance to legally purchase the drug for the first time.
It is a symbolic purchase for most of them, with many admitting to having toked long before the change in law to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana.
Mathieu, 33, warehouse worker
Mathieu said he spends an average of Can$100 every three to five days on cannabis.
"It should have been legalized a long time ago. I've been smoking since I was 15-years-old. I have Can$300 (US$230) in my pocket to spend on legal pot. It's historic, I wanted to be a part of it," he said.
Sebastien Bouzats, 29, fishmonger
Sebastien, who is originally from the Bordeaux region of France, has been smoking cannabis since he was 18 years old, lighting a joint every night when he gets home from work.
"We all have pot at home, to enjoy and savor the flavors... the country will soon be overwhelmed with French people coming here to smoke," he predicted.
Alexandre Rainville, 45, trucker
He's been smoking for the past 11 years, but only on weekends.
"I bought 30 grams for Can$242, the maximum. I could go store it in my car and come back for more... It's nice to have choices.
"Otherwise in this neighborhood there has only been one or two kinds of pot available from street dealers whose only interest is maximizing profits. Here you have broad selection, you can buy what tempts you. With this I'm good for six months."
Zachary, 18, student
Zachary said he is against plans by the Quebec government to raise the minimum legal age to buy cannabis in the province from 18 to 21 years. He has been smoking cannabis since the age of 14.
"It won't change anything. I'm pretty stuck in my old habits, going to see friends I can trust (to supply him with illicit cannabis) so I won't have to wait until I'm 21 to go back and buy cannabis from the SCDQ shop. I'd probably end up in a dingy basement in some small town, as I've been doing."
Fred, in his thirties
Fred spoke with AFP after exiting a government-run cannabis store on Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street with Can$126 worth of high-end cannabis.
"It's the best of the best, the Chateau Petrus of cannabis, if you want top quality stuff you have to be ready to pay the price. It's like a good wine or champagne, a Petrus or a Dom Perignon. I like the taste and that it's not too harsh on the throat, has a good high, especially to help me sleep. I don't use during day."