SUMMERSIDE – It’s been a year of learning for Megan Patey and Tommy Biggar, owners of Island ReLeaf Glass.
The business is a supplier of glass pieces and papers for smoking legal herbs and medical marijuana, as well as memorabilia, novelty items and stickers.
“We expected to be busy, but not like this,” said Biggar.
Patey added, “There’s a lot to do behind the scenes and we’ve met a lot of really incredible people. We’re constantly taking orders and trying to stock fresh.
“There are constantly new things coming out. But we’ve also been able to make connections with different distributors. We’ve still got a lot to learn.”
Biggar said new medical patients are coming into the store regularly.
“It’s all about helping people.”
At the same time as growing their business, the pair has seen the process of legalizing marijuana continue. Recently, the provincial government announced where two of its four marijuana dispensaries were going to be location, but Patey and Biggar are concerned about the number of stores that will service about 150,000 people for medicinal and recreational purposes.
“I don’t think that is enough. We need more than four stores and I hope there comes to be more stores. I also hope the government recognizes that there is some infrastructure to become a dispensary that is already available,” said Biggar.
Patey voiced concern about training for employees to understand the difference between recreational strains and medicinal strains.
“I think it’s fine the government sells recreational product, but if the person isn’t trained in strains and CBD it’s a big concern to me.”
Patey is a medical marijuana user for her anxiety and PTSD.
Currently, the Island’s marijuana legislation calls for the legal age to be 19. Consumption is only allowed in private residences with possible designated public spaces at a later date. Adults can publicly possess 30 grams of lawful dried cannabis. There will be strengthened roadside suspension and a summary offence will be created. The legislation also outlines transportation of the product, educating people and young adults about cannabis, the government’s retail model and its suppliers.
“The possible impairment laws concern me. There can’t be a double standard. As someone who uses it medicinally, already has a higher tolerance to it than someone who has never had it before. So, we can’t be held to the same level of consumption,” said Patey.
Biggar and Patey would like to see the government allow a vape lounge, a public place that will allow people to go to smoke marijuana.
“We have bars where people can go to drink. I think there should be something along those lines for marijuana where people can consume cannabis responsibly,” she said.
Biggar added, “Either way, the legalization of marijuana is a step in the right directions. But I think there is a lot to do still. Hopefully one day the door to more micro-growers will open and the possibility for businesses to become dispensaries.”