Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Cale Holdsworth of Abeline, Kan., holds up his purchase after being the first in line to buy legal recreational marijuana at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, Wash., on July 8, 2014. Holdsworth said he had been in line since 4:00 a.m.

Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press

Canadian pot tourists are hoping the legalization of marijuana sales in Washington state will ignite similar changes north of the border – but they aren't sweating the details.

One man from Victoria was in Washington state on vacation Tuesday and decided to line up outside the Top Shelf Cannabis store in Bellingham to "be a part of history" and take in the first day of legal pot sales in the state.

Canada will legalize pot "all in good time," predicted Greg from Victoria, who didn't want his last name used. "Canada seems to lag in accepting things that get accepted in the U.S. We're more cautious."

Story continues below advertisement

He was joined by fellow Canadian Keith from Surrey, B.C., who also didn't want his last name used.

Keith, who was on a two-week family vacation in Bellingham that coincided with the opening of the shop, said he's hopeful Canada will follow suit.

"A lot of Canada's rules and regulations stem from the States."

At Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, owner Tom Beckley said more than half of his customers on the first day of sales were Canadians, mostly from the Vancouver area. Others hailed from Kamloops and Penticton, B.C.

"I think it's just something new for them," said Mr. Beckley. "They're making history along with us."

But a number of American residents on hand for the opening – particularly those who have lived north of the border – suggested there continues to be more stigma around pot use in the U.S. than in Canada.

"My experience in Canada is weed is so plentiful and there's so much of it … that even without the words on the dotted line, or on the page, I feel that it's still more legal there," said Boris Budd, who owns a condo in Vancouver and has lived in B.C. for stints of time.

Story continues below advertisement

"There's so much bureaucracy and red tape based upon the [state] laws that we still have to see how things are going to unfold. For example, they're talking about prices being $25 a gram here eventually, and in my opinion that ensures a burgeoning black market in Washington state because nobody pays that much."

James Bird, a Bellingham resident who spent four years living in Surrey, B.C., said Washington state still has a long way to go before Americans embrace marijuana use the way their neighbours to the north have.

"Here you can only smoke in your house, so I don't see the kind of attitude like they have in B.C. coming to Washington at all," said Mr. Bird. "If you're sitting in a park [in Washington] and a cop walks by, you're getting a ticket."

The end of "prohibition," as many were calling it, marks a major step that has been 20 months in the making. Both Washington and Colorado voted in November, 2012, to legalize pot sales for adults over 21, and to create a system for growing, selling and taxing the plant. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.

Washington issued the first 24 retail marijuana licences on Monday, but not all businesses were ready to kick off sales the next day. Pot proprietors have been given little time to prepare, leaving many observers predicting that product shortages and high prices will accompany the launch.

The day before the opening, Mr. Beckley was frantically putting the final touches on his Bellingham shop, including installing the toilet and the sink in the shop's bathroom.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Beckley said he had secured more than 10 kilograms of marijuana before Top Shelf Cannabis opened its doors – and he hopes it's enough for everyone who wants some.

"It's history," said Mr. Beckley. "Everyone wants a piece."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies