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Doors to legal marijuana flung open in Amherst


Still some concerns expressed by residents

AMHERST, N.S – Purchasing pot in Canada, and Amherst, is no longer a felony. It’s legal.

“After so many years of it being illegal we can finally buy it legally,” said Amherst’s Brandon Davidson.

Davidson was fourth in line at the Amherst NSLC store on Wednesday, Oct. 17, waiting for the doors to open at 10 a.m.

“I’m hoping to buy a high-quality, energetic product,” he said.

Davidson started smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes in February.

“I’m pretty new to it.”

He believes legalization will help normalize pot use.

“Buying it legally will help people move past the stigma and stereotypes surrounding marijuana,” said Davidson.

Despite the fact marijuana can be bought at NSLC stores, Davidson believes private dispensaries should be allowed to operate as well.

“For the NSLC to monopolize sales isn’t a good thing.”

With that said, he believes the black market will still play a role.

“It’s easier and cheaper,” he said.

With legalization, Canadians can grow four pot plants per household.

“I might grow some in the future but it’s a hard task to grow it. You can’t just plant it and water it,” he said.

Now that marijuana sales are legal at the NSLC, does he have concerns that teens, and kids, will see the drug as safe?

“Legalizing marijuana and teaching people the dangers of it is the best way to do it, but I do think the government needs to do more research and inform people better,” said Davidson. “I hope people moderate their use and keep safe and avoid the dangers, because there are dangers.”

RULES AND REGULATIONS

John Reid owns and operates a convenience store in Joggins. He was in the parking lot waiting for his son to buy marijuana.

“I never thought I’d see the day when I'd bring my son to buy weed,” said Reid. “It’s not why we came to town, but we were here and he wanted to stop in and buy his first legal joint, so I said, ‘Go ahead.’”

Reid isn’t concerned about adults buying marijuana but, as a retailer, he does question the rules and regulations surrounding the sale of marijuana.

“I can’t sell a menthol cigarette or a rum-flavoured cigar, yet, you can go in and buy a wide variety of marijuana. Where’s the logic in that?” asked Reid. “And what about all these varieties of marijuana candies and the gummy bears they’re going to make for the younger generation? That’s one of my biggest concerns.”

He wonders if the government has its priorities straight.

“You buy a bottle of aspirin and there’s a page and a half of side effects listed on it, but you buy weed and there’s no instructions with it,” said Reid. “Also, they’ve taken Gravol and cough medicine off the shelves because of rules and regulations. Some things are over-regulated and some things are under-regulated.”

He also believes more should be done to educate people about the use of marijuana.

“I’ve been following the ads in the paper and trying to educate myself on it but I’ve never seen anything educating people on the long-term effects, both positive and negative,” said Reid. “I think they could do more on that.”

THE PURCHASE

Davidson and his friend Evan Cassie-Stone said buying pot at NSLC was an enjoyable experience.

“The guys are really knowledgeable and really friendly. They have everything set up really well,” said Cassie-Stone.

The product is divided into different states of mind.

“With alcohol, it depends on what you want to taste, with this, it’s divided on how you want to feel,” said Cassie-Stone. “They have it divided into whether you want to relax, have the munchies and listen to music, if you want to sit on the couch and think, or if you just want to have good time.”

Caisse-Stone purchased one gram of the Shishkaberry, and Davidson purchased one gram the Ultra Sour and one gram the Chocolate Fondue.

Like Davidson, Caisse-Stone also hopes legalization will erase stigmas surrounding people who smoke pot.

“The more information put out there, the more people will learn about it, and the more it will be accepted,” he said.

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