It's probably no coincidence that the first legal marijuana sale was landed on a weekday. Canada's big new social and legal move was reached by midnight clusters at marijuana stores in St. John's, a concert in Halifax (where security officials partied partygoers) and a countdown party in Toronto. But for most Canadians today is a different working day than a time to get high and celebrate.
Yet, this is a moment when much of the world is watching Canada. I started being interviewed by broadcasters in the United States and the UK this morning. What some call Canada's big experiment can, if it succeeds, serve as a template for other countries. If Canada stumbles, legalization becomes a warning.
Today, Dan Bilefsky directs our coverage of Montreal, where he visits provincial pot shops. Dan, along with Canadian office manager Catherine Porter and me, will continue the story. Canada makes marijuana legal and a national experiment begins ]
] While Canada is the first major industrial nation to take on this challenge, several states have in the United States already legalizes marijuana, although it is still banned under federal law. Thomas Fuller, head of the San Francisco Times office, found that after 10 months of legalization in California, the black market still ruled.
[Read: What Canada Can Learn From California on Marijuana Legalization ]
How many things in Canada that legal marijuana actually entails depends on where you live. Montrealers can now go through deals at cannabis stores run by Quebec's liqueur board. But the only legal option for people in Ontario is online shopping
This is not the only thing that will vary from province to province. The list contains the legal minimum age, if you can grow legal marijuana at home and where you actually smoke it. We have put together a guide to help you clarify the new rules.
The government has said that one of its goals for the heavily regulated system is to curb the growth of marijuana use by Canadians and keep it away from children. In a world-wide comparison, we are a land of stoners. Catherine made her way through the haze of the underground scene to get an idea of how the cannabis culture will change with legalization.
Among the previously banned users there is consternation.
"Some people refer to it as Prohibition 2.0," said a sociologist studying cannabis users, Catherine. "The regulation has produced increased control."
[Read: Canadians are already smoking a lot of pot. Now it will be legal. ]
Since Canada's medical marijuana industry expanded dramatically in 2013, I've written about people hoping to make money with marijuana. At that time, the big banks would not negotiate with many of their companies, and some of them seemed on the verge of bankruptcy.
The transformation was dizzying. The largest producers are now valued by billions of investors. Executives who once shuffled around in Ferraris. Many of their employees are millionaires today thanks to stock options. And some of the communities where they reside, notably Smiths Falls, Ontario, are experiencing an economic recovery.16559004 But, like the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, there is disquiet about how real the current paper wealth of the marijuana industry is  [Read: Marijuana legalization in Canada has companies chasing a green intoxication ]
[Read: A big day for legal grass could Do not boost cannabis ]
The Times will add more to this experiment. I have highlighted some of the topics that we will be tracking in this article from Times Insider. For me, the most interesting aspect of legalization will be the tension between the medical community, which is worried about the health effects of marijuana and does not want their consumption to increase and the industry that needs growth to justify their stock prices. We'll take a close look to see how the scales are tilting.