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Private pot shops are wonderful and probably doomed: Neil Macdonald

3 38 665

To be clear, legal dope has arrived far too late for me. I haven't smoked up since people actually called it "smoking up."

In fact, the last time I did, it weirded me out so thoroughly I had to take a Valium. Getting old is the worst.

Anyway, I feel cheated. During my dope-smoking years, buying was a squalid exercise that usually involved a late-night visit to some dealer's crappy apartment, or a quick transaction in a car, handing over cash in return for a stinking baggie full of weed, stuffed into a brown paper bag, always wondering whether the dealer was under surveillance and the transaction would end in criminal charges, big lawyer's fees, loss of my job and permanent exclusion from the United States.

That was no joke. It happened to friends.

And now, a candy store – sorry, a cannabis store – has opened right in my Ottawa neighbourhood. Similar little operations have been popping up all over Canada, small businesses eager to make a few dollars in a new market, and bless them all.

I immediately visited, unable to stop grinning at the novelty of it. The nice lady behind the cash explained all the different strains on offer: she had Shake, Bubba, Power Plant, Rockstar, Trainwreck, Ice Cream Kush (the buds have little sparkles in them that apparently leave a creamy aftertaste) OG Kush, Black Diamond, and Purple Kush. No stems, no seeds, just bud.

There were vape sticks, the elegant little pens loaded with cannabis oil that do away with any need to inhale burning smoke.

For customers who want to ingest it through their pores, there's "bud soak," basically THC-loaded bath salts, and "whipped body cream."

And edibles, the modern-day equivalent of........