Article by Pete Toms, Ottawa Citizen
After waiting almost 40 years, I finally did it: I purchased legal weed. To date, for different reasons, I’ve yet to make a legal (or illegal) online purchase. But on April 1, legal, bricks-and-mortar weed retail came to Ontario and on April 6 I ventured out to one of Ottawa’s first three shops.
Most recently, I’ve been purchasing my weed from the now-closed, so-called dispensaries that sprouted up soon after the passing of C-45, the federal act to legalize cannabis. It’s been a long time since I had “a guy”; the gram or so I consume a month is an insufficient amount for any of them to bother with.
April 6 was, for me, the day us old stoners have been waiting for since we were rolling hash joints on Led Zeppelin album jackets. No more furtive phone calls and meetings, speaking in silly code words. We were legit now, which is what we thought we always wanted.
I walked through the street-level entrance into the lobby of the legal pot shop and was instantly waved in to the retail area, being unmistakably older than 18. There was a very faint odour of weed, but nothing like in the dispensaries, which reeked. Surprisingly, the only weed I saw here was under display cases, unlike in the dispensaries, where large quantities of it sat on shelves, clearly visible to the patrons.
The room was uncluttered, white and bright, populated with friendly staff. I felt like I was there to buy a phone. I very briefly perused the products on the shelves, nothing I was interested in: capsules, creams and most notably, a $325 “smart” vaporizer. There were some books on display; I noted a copy of “On the Road” and a milk carton with some vintage vinyl in it. The customers were languishing, asking employees questions, educating themselves about the world of cannabis.