Kootenay-Columbia residents face challenges over marijuana legalization

After marijuana was legalized in 2018, all the hype went away in a puff of smoke, and people carried on with their lives as usual, with the exception that they can now legally purchase a substance many of them already used.

As legalization approached, many dispensaries closed down to make way for legal shops, leaving some people without products used for medication like CBD oils and creams, said MP Wayne Stetski. Since then, he has worked to become an advocate for those who have gone without their medications since legalization of recreational marijuana.

“Most recently, now that is has been legalized, I’m getting all of these senior citizens coming to me, concerned about the fact that they no longer have access to the creams and the oils,” he said, adding that he was surprised by the demographic. “Cannabis has two sides to it. There’s the THC side, which will get you stoned, and there’s the CBD side, which is pain control.”

There are two dispensaries operating legally around Kimberley, which offer up a wide range of smokable products. The Federal Government is working toward regulating edibles, which Stetski says could take another year. Right now, anyone looking for products high in CBD has to pay attention to labelling on recreational cannabis products, or receive recommendations from dispensary staff. Many people are going without proper CBD treatments, because they are unavailable, Stetski said.

“The line that I think is really quite accurate, one of them said the Liberal Government, under the legalizing recreational use of marijuana, has made it easy for me to get stoned, but a lot harder for me to get healthy,” Stetski said. “I’m amazed by how many seniors are bringing it up.”

Stetski was able to speak with employees at both of the dispensaries in Kimberley about how they deal with medical marijuana users, and what the options are for people seeking medical marijuana. He asked both locations what a senior could do if they went in today in search of something for painful arthritis, and was told there were no high CBD options available, and that people who run dispensaries can face jail time for providing products that haven’t been legally regulated yet.

“I’m having to tell seniors that I’ve worked with for a long time that I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” one of the employees said to Stetski.

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana, a number of issues have surfaced. Another surprise to Stetski was the concern over wasteful packaging. Even a small amount of marijuana purchased is delivered in large plastic cannisters with child-proof lids.

“It used to be if you wanted an ounce, they handed it to you in a little plastic bag. Now, it’s tucked away in a metal can,” Stetski said. “These people are saying to me, ‘this is environmentally unfriendly, all this waste.’”

One dispensary in Kimberley has put out a recycling bin, asking customers to bring back the packaging to be properly recycled.

Over the past while, Stetski has become an advocate on behalf of marijuana growers in the West Kootenay region. The Federal Government has been limiting growing operations to indoor locations, but Stetski says growing outdoors can be more environmentally friendly, harnessing the energy of the sun and the rain, reducing the use of lights and water needed.

“You use the sun and the rain, rather than pouring electricity into it,” he said.

A cooperative was formed in the West Kootenays, the Kootenay Outdoor Growers Coop, and they are trying to become a part of the legal future, he said.

Just Posted

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

Golden’s Easter Sunday Sunrise Service changes location

The Easter Sunday Sunrise Service has been an ongoing tradition in Golden… Continue reading

Wildsight Golden invites community to clean up on Earth Day

Submitted Have you heard of Wildsight? Wildsight Golden is a local non-profit… Continue reading

Skatepark phase 2 gets nod of approval from council

Town council has given the nod of approval for potential skate park… Continue reading

Fruitvale man, 25, dies after falling from zipline in Thailand, reports say

Bangkok Post says man fell from Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

More than $100,000 raised for family of professional skier who died near Pemberton

Dave Treadway leaves behind his pregnant wife and two young boys

BC SPCA asks public for donations after puppy caught in trap

The puppy’s medical bills are expected to amount to more than $4,600

B.C. party bus monitors required to watch for booze, drugs on board

New rule in time for grad outings, minister Claire Trevena says

Most Read