Future of cannabis is now
For a glimpse into the not-toodistant future of how cannabis will become part of Canadian culture and how entrepreneurs will come up with increasingly creative ways to attract customers, look no further than what’s happening in the states down south that have legalized or decriminalized pot. A story in the Washington Post this week showed how quickly pot has gone mainstream.
In Northampton, Mass., the city’s mayor – a 52-year-old Air Force veteran – was the first customer of that state’s legal recreational pot, putting his money down for a chocolate bar infused with THC.
On Fifth Avenue in New York City, a dispensary has opened, marketing itself to its upscale clientele as “the Barneys of weed.” In San Fransciso, one dispensary there looks like an elite hotel bar. In Washington, D.C., adventurous foodies are gathering for chefprepared four-course meals where THC and CBC-infused dishes are on the menu.
These products and consumer experiences aren’t to attract the kids but for discriminating adults with money to spend.
These aren’t everyday indulgers of the devil’s lettuce but rather for those who wouldn’t be caught dead smoking the stuff and want to partake in a classy and controlled way, much as they would over wine or a fine dram of Scotch.
And that’s just the recreational side. Droves of new customers are trying cannabis candies to help them get a deeper, most restful night’s sleep. Others are scooping up low-dose edibles to help with stress.
Balms, salves and bath soaks that soothe everything from the ache of arthritis to the suffering of PMS cramps are finding eager buyers.
Seniors are a rapidly increasing segment of the market.
According to several sources, who’d rather not fess up in public, the hot topic at Prince George’s seniors centres is the growing number of glowing testimonials from members who tried a topical CBD product to help various pains and were thrilled with the results.
“How do we get some?” someone asks each time.
In the same way that groups of seniors often sit around swapping notes about their prescriptions medications and what’s working (or not) for them, they are now openly and cheerfully offering each other word-of-mouth reviews about THC and CBD products.
Most of these products actually remain – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – illegal. Edibles won’t be legal until next year, as various levels of governments work on regulations around the production and selling of these products.
As usual, the politicians are behind the people. Americans and Canadians are embracing the opportunity to try cannabis for a variety of different reasons and in a variety of different ways, particularly ones that don’t involve stinky smoke or the grossness of passing around a communal joint.
Not everyone is happy, of course.
The RCMP is rightly concerned about stoned drivers and kids and pets eating pot candy and chocolate left out by absentminded adults. Although THC overdoses can’t directly lead to death, taking too much can produce side effects, from panic attacks and paranoia to confusion and hallucinations, that could lead to deadly accidents, such as falls or strolls out onto busy roadways. And that’s not including nausea, vomiting, seizures, accelerated heart rates and chest pain that can accompany excessive consumption. Edibles is a particular concern because there’s a delay before the full effects are felt – unlike when it’s smoked or vaped – leading to a greater propensity for overdoses.
Doctors are worried about long-term effects, citing the shockingly little amount of research on long-term effects, especially for cannabis consumed orally or topically. Up until very recently, it was difficult to impossible for researchers to secure funding for extensive studies with large sample groups over extended periods of time. Now, as various news reports have noted, colleges and universities across North America are investing heavily in both research and specialized industry training. Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver now offers various workshops and certificates in cannabis production and selling.
Mayor and council in Fort St. John will consider granting a permit for the first legal cannabis store in their community Monday. Prince George city council will have similar applications before them for approval early in the new year.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Lori Ackerman at the front of the line opening day in Fort St. John or Lyn Hall as the first customer when a legal Prince George store opens for business sometime in 2019 but it doesn’t really matter. Their blessing is unnecessary.
Their constituents and the broader marketplace have already spoken.
— Editor-in-chief Neil Godbout