By Jamila Pomeroy
VANCOUVER – While we may be a few months into cannabis legalization, remnants of the grey-zone industry still remain. Frankie M, a budtender in the grey-zone cannabis industry explains that while the legal changes haven’t changed the customer experience a great deal, the budtender experience has.
“There was a disconnect between the directors of the operation and the store staff, which lead to a lack of trust and, at times, questionable ethics. It’s complicated how I feel about the grey zone,” says Frankie, who has worked in the industry for a few years. While many elements of the old cannabis industry may be dismantled, there are some elements that persist to remain.
“There was a great sense of community, and I would say there still is,” he says. “Working in the grey leading up to legalization, I got used to living and working in kind of a bubble where what was normal to me was not to the average. Eventually you got to wake up to reality. They kind of let the whole dispensary proliferation become this playground to do whatever they want and the police to just turned a blind eye. Like a farmers market for instance, you need a license: you can’t just set up and sell goods, it doesn’t work like that. There needs to be regulation. You need a license for any kind of business.”
These previous “bake sale” style operations may have paved the way for the quiet green revolution, but with many unregulated and under-tested products, the objective shifts greatly towards money; making some products, even with an initial good intention, be labeled as snake oil. With regulation aimed at the betterment of product and the safety of consumers, we can only assume to expect high caliber products for the future.
Frankie explains that the current goal for legal cannabis businesses appears to be on social responsibility, providing quality product and information to the public. While these may be great elements of legalization, they proceed alongside the cost of restrictions for cannabis users.
“For someone coming from the pre-legalization industry, it’s more restrictive. On one hand, in regards to stricter regulation on the potency of the products, it’s more socially responsible. For new users or people who aren’t familiar with dosing, this could be beneficial,” he says.
Legal cannabis consumers will now be less-likely to consume the incorrect dose, due to lower integramed products, making it easier for consumers to figure out the dose that is right for them. “In the grey zone, we had up to 400mg THC capsules,” Frankie says, explaining that restricting access to higher dosed products will prevent users from consuming too much. While we may be veering further from mom and pop-style operations, the cost, for budtenders at least, proves to provide a safer and more secure working environment.grassifieds