April 1st marked the day when several privately owned/operated #Cannabis shops opened in Ontario; three in Ottawa, two in Kingston, and one each in Toronto, Brampton (where I live), Burlington, London, and St. Catharines. And, guess what..?
… the sky isn’t falling!
I’m fully aware that the local shops are mainly for recreational users. Cannabis is legal after all so we no longer need to hide our use in shame. But, few people seem to understand how beneficial the retail shops are for medical cannabis users, like me.
For medical cannabis users, it’s not about getting high – well, it’s not often about getting high. Rather, it’s about using cannabis to ease/eliminate the symptoms of what ails us. However, the nature of cannabis is such that there is a lot of trial and error before finding the exact right match as, not all cannabis is the same nor does it react the same on different people. Cannabis research is growing exponentially now so I have no doubt that eventually we will be able to access information that tells us what is best for our symptoms. Until then, we have limited resources at our disposal. We rely on expert knowledge in the growing field of cannabis medical practitioners to guide us – often times NOT our own doctors as they are just learning themselves, and on gathering our own information by using websites like Leafly.ca, apps like @Strainprint (highly recommend both of these, by the way), and word-of-mouth.
Online LPs often have a minimum purchase requirement, e.g. 5 grams, for their products which may or may not work for the symptoms at hand. Until insurance companies begin to recognize and pay for cannabis as prescription medication, we pay for this out-of-pocket, unsure if what we have chosen will help. The benefit of having local cannabis shops is that we can now go to the retail store and buy small amounts of a variety of strains to test the ones that are most effective for our particular needs.
To those who are scared about local cannabis shops – please do your research. Visit one of the LPs to see for yourself how secure they are. Talk to people in the shop – I assure you most are no different from the person standing in line next to you at the local liquor store (recreational) or at the pharmacy (medical). I had young children myself too and the truth of it is, if young people are intent on acquiring liquor or cannabis, they will not be going to the legal shops to get it.