April 21, 2023 By Local Journalism Initiative
As society begins to accept marijuana, several cannabis shops in Lethbridge are seeing a rise in medicinal uses for their products.
The Canadian government legalized cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018. Since then, the social acceptance of the plant-based drug has become more widespread.
Furthermore, many stores are seeing their product used in a more medicinal sense, rather than just the stereotypical party atmosphere.
Sam Kovacs is an assistant manager at PlantLife cannabis store in Lethbridge and she says the shop sees a lot of people entering its doors seeking a medicinal use for the drug.
“We do see a big increase on [CBD products] for people coming in and looking for things to help them sleep,” said Kovacs.
This increase has coincided with a new clientele, that being one of an older generation.
“We have a big variety of (older customers) for us here which is really nice. I like seeing those people coming in because they’re losing that stigmatism,” said Kovacs.
She also says society has begun accepting cannabis more, which plays a large role in the fact that older generations now use the product more regularly.
“I’ve definitely noticed an increase in a lot more people being curious about it. A lot of older people, where that stigmatism kind of sat with,” said Kovacs.
Another cannabis store employee, Rick Williams from Value Buds, agrees with Kovacs that society is beginning to accept cannabis more and more every year. However, Williams also says businesses are starting to understand the industry as well.
“I used to work in the oilfields and I have noticed that it is becoming a more accepted thing there,” said Williams.
He says that although drug tests still occur, the threat of termination has been reduced.
“If you do test positive, (companies) don’t just blacklist you or anything anymore,” said Williams.
The Value Buds employee also says he sees people choosing marijuana rather than other drugs or intoxicants.
“I even kind of notice people seem to be more going towards (cannabis) over alcohol,” said Williams.
This thought was shared by the owner of Green Queen Cannabis, Kelly Milliken.
Speaking of her past, Milliken says the legalization of weed has changed the trend for younger people.
“Back then it was cigarettes and drinking, now it’s cannabis,” said Milliken.
However, she says most of her clientele are people in their 50s or 60s, a group she refers to as “the hippy age.”
“The older generation is more relaxed and just wants a good toke and that’s it,” said Milliken.
Like Milliken, a team leader at Twenty-Four Karats cannabis shop, Aslinn Wilson, says the older crowd is very active at her location.
“We have a lot of elderly customers as well that come for CBD products,” said Wilson.
She believes the shift in this view of cannabis is due to a better overall understanding from the general population.
“I think people are learning more, definitely from my experience,” said Wilson.
All four cannabis industry employees say they see people from all walks of life enjoying their products, something they don’t believe will change any time soon.
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