Tom Clarke, 43, will be among the first to legally sell recreational marijuana when his shop opens at midnight in Newfoundland, Canada's easternmost province.
He wrote in his high-school yearbook that his dream was to open a cafe in Amsterdam, the Dutch city where people have legally smoked weed in coffee shops since the 1970s.
Canada has invested C$274 million to enforce the new laws and some provinces have allocated their own funding, but Palmer said police will not crack down on illegal stores right away. For instance, there are still some places in Canada where you can't smoke pot in public, and some provinces have outright banned growing it at home.
In the US, marijuana is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. for medicinal or recreational use.
The number of stores that will open Wednesday remains unclear, but there could be as many as 100 brick-and-mortar government-run or privately operated locations, depending on whether they pass final inspections or get product shipments in time.
"We are just ecstatic", she said. "All the years of activism paid off. Cannabis is legal in Canada and everyone should come to Canada and enjoy our cannabis".
The B.C. government has received licensing applications from another 173 potential retail pot stores, but none have been approved in time for legalization day.
Although Uruguay started selling cannabis products a year ago under a 2013 law, Canada's foray is considered more significant because of its economic status and much larger population.
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Canadians 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory, will be able to buy and use fresh dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from regulated retailers beginning Wednesday.
"We are just ecstatic", she said.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of OR said it's time for the USA government to follow Canada's lead.
No stores will open in Ontario, which includes Toronto.
As Canada welcomes legalization, supply shortages could develop, as happened in some US states when legalization arrived.
The supply of recreational marijuana could be limited, at least early on, in some stores. "The prices are very comparable", Thomas Clarke, owner of THC Distribution store, said. "That's not even paying someone's salary". He expected the shortages at Aphria to last up to three months.
"It's a historic day, a real first", said Alain Brunet, project manager for the Quebec's government corporation overseeing the stores.
The top executive at the world's biggest cannabis company said he expects a third country to follow the lead of Canada and Uruguay and legalize pot within a year.