Cannabis in Vancouver (and all of Canada) became legal the day before my visit for a conference. This is my first trip to Vancouver in 20 years, and my last trip was back in the 13 year non-use phase of my life.
This morning after an unusually delicious, locally-sourced breakfast, my girlfriend asked our waiter where we might get some weed. He wisely suggested we google ‘weed near me’. We found a store 700 meters away, and on the way back to our hotel. We paid the breakfast bill and were off to the dispensary within minutes.
I had read in all of BC, cannabis was only available for recreational purchase at one shop 2 hours northeast of Vancouver. However, my request for a buzz was going to get easily fulfilled. In about a 10 minute walk through great people-watching streets, we were in a clean and welcoming medicinal cannabis shop. I was asked to register a membership by showing my picture ID and filling a form, permanently printed on a wipeable clip board. I checked two boxes recognizing ‘potential dangers and liabilities’, and signed my name. The young, clean-cut greeter then took a picture of my white board registration and then wiped it clean. I guessed the image was filed into a database, retrievable by name. The whole process took a couple of minutes and was environmentally conscientious – paperless!
The Cannabis Purchase
Once the 2-minute registration was complete, I started browsing the wares. It was a smallish modern store front, with a glass counter in the middle displaying flower strains. Each strain was named and categorized by sativa, indica, or hybrid and then listed the medicinal values, as well as other effect-related attributes. Most of it was conventionally grown, with three strains organically grown. I consider myself a green environmentalist and had no desire to buy paraphernalia, only to dispose of it for travel back to the States. I quickly landed on the purchase of two pre-rolled joints, conventionally grown. One was indica, one was sativa.
Within a minute, I had purchased the two nice sized pre-rolls for a total of $10 CA ($7.50 USA) in such a surprisingly ordinary exchange.
Having a couple of joints in the interior pocket of my leather jacket, without fear of being arrested, made me feel amazingly whole. Being legally able to enjoy the herb that I’ve come to respect and love was perfectly grounding. In the sunny, Fall mid-color change afternoon, we walked along the water front from downtown to Stanley Park and visited the totem poles. Periodically, I lit up the sativa joint, and chatted up a creativity storm, immensely enjoying a very nice buzz.
On our way back to the hotel, we ducked into a wine store for a bottle of red. While we didn’t have to register and the selection was far greater, the ease of purchasing both were equally easy. This, is the way it should be.