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Working For the Weekend: With Vanessa Dandurand of Sound & Salt

By Alex Molten
Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Photo: Sarah Whitlam

VANCOUVER — Vanessa Dandurand is a busy woman. She not only is one-sixth of the garage/soul band The Ballantynes, she also heads Sound & Salt, a production company through which she books shows, handles PR, and consults. Anyone who has tried to promote shows knows it’s not a task for the faint-hearted and anyone going to shows in Vancouver has probably seen her around. Dandurand puts on some of the best and most badass shows in the city. Some of her most recent gigs have included Toronto’s Career Suicide, LA’s Neighborhood Brats, and Portland’s Pissed Jeans. If you want to check out her next grand opus, Sound & Salt is hosting Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag on April 29 at the Astoria.

Dandurand hasn’t limited her scope to Vancouver. She also does PR and sponsorship for This Is Hardcore festival in Philadelphia, which is happening August 4-7 this year. And in between all this hustle, Dandurand still manages to fit in a day job, working for Eden Medicinal Society, a marijuana dispensary that was established in 2011 and was the first organization to pass the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries accreditation program.

Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Photo: Sarah Whitlam

BeatRoute: How is it working for Eden?

Vanessa Dandurand: Eden is really, really interesting. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started there, other than it was something completely different. Right off the bat it’s not a head shop. We don’t sell bongs, we don’t sell vaporizers, it’s not [for people looking for] novelty joints and edibles. That’s not the way it works. We’re a medical dispensary and we’re not for profit.

I don’t smoke while I’m at work, none of us medicate except for one of my coworkers who has epilepsy. [They are] the only one of us that’s allowed to smoke on the job because it stops seizures.

BR: Dispensaries are becoming the popular way to purchase weed. What are your thoughts on Vancouver’s growing dispensary numbers?

VD: It’s so crazy. In Vancouver seeing a dispensary or like five dispensaries on a block has become so normal that you kind of forget that to work in medical marijuana today there’s still a certain level of activism involved because it’s not legal. [Well] it’s not all the way legal. It’s about granting responsible access. Anyone who becomes a member at Eden requires a doctor’s note. It doesn’t have to be a recommendation or prescription for marijuana, but it does have to confirm that they have a condition.

Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Photo: Sarah Whitlam

BR: What are your thoughts on weed culture?

VD: Weed culture, honestly, is new to me. I never went to a dab bar, I never went to a vapour lounge, I’ve never been to a 4/20 rally, and I don’t do the art gallery ever when there’s a gathering of people in front of it. But like, it has helped me every day. [It’s helped me] through major periods of grief, major periods of mental health issues, [and through] health problems in general. I have anxiety [and] it helps my anxiety.

BR: Do you have a favourite strain of weed?

VD: I mostly smoke sativas. Within weed there are sativas, indicas, and hybrids. An indica would be something heavier; you feel it in your body, [gives you] a kind of body high. It’s really good for stress, for sleep issues and chronic pain. If you’re going to compare it to alcohol, indica is a scotch, you have it at the end of the night, sort of like a nightcap. A sativa is more like your morning coffee. It’s more uplifting. It’s known to stimulate creativity. Hybrids, on the other hand, are more like a beer. You can have a heavy beer, you can have a light beer, you can have a fruity beer, you can have a radler, you can have a Guinness, you can have whatever.

BR: Weed can have some wacky names. Any favourite names?

VD: There’s a strain called Bruce Banner, and within Bruce Banner there is Bruce Banner number one and Bruce Banner number three. I don’t know what happened to Bruce Banner number two. That type simply doesn’t get sold. Maybe it’s somewhere but I don’t know. Bruce Banner number one makes you feel like you’ve been hit by The Incredible Hulk and Bruce Banner number three makes you feel like you are The Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner number one is a very heavy indica strain, Bruce Banner number three is a 70/30, so 70 per cent of it is sativa.

Sound & Salt presents Sheer Mag at the Astoria on April 29.

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