The View from Vancouver: Inside Canada’s Legalization Challenge
On October 17, regulated cannabis sales will begin in the Great White North. But some industry veterans there are questioning whether Canada is doing it the right way.
Vansterdam—that sobriquet for Canada’s most liberal city is well-earned. When marijuana legalization was just a glimmer in the eyes of cannabis activists, there was Vansterdam, a sly reference to Holland’s Amsterdam, which launched the retail movement with their coffeeshops filled with smokeable flower and brilliant hash in the 1980s. That trend eventually found a home in Vancouver. Today, dotted across the city’s landscape, are stores where you can toke onsite and/or purchase various take-home products, from buds to concentrates.
I’m in the Cannabis Culture shop at 1674 Davie St., located on a quiet block away from commercial traffic, about a half mile from Stanley Park. It’s not high noon yet. I’m en route to the park for a hike (it’s six miles around the park’s sea wall). I settle down at a seat at the dab bar, where six coiled rigs are spaced apart.
The menu on the board behind the bar is colorful, with illustrations for each strain, from Blue Mango to Skywalker OG. I ask for the former and the