Entrepreneurs Start Going To Pot 

Entrepreneurs Start Going To Pot 
Posted by CN Staff on October 07, 2003 at 13:33:16 PT
By Kathleen O'Hara
Source: Winnipeg Free Press 
Kingston -- Well, there goes the neighbourhood. Up in smoke. Pot smoke. Yes, since the federal government introduced legislation to decriminalize the use of smaller amounts of marijuana, a relatively new type of retail outlet has opened up -- right across the street from my home.I have promised the cautious young owner not to reveal the name of his store, but the slogan is "Your One Stop Puffin' Shop."
The hours are -- suitably enough I suppose -- 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. and business seems quite brisk.So, being the intrepid journalist I am -- or perhaps simply a nosy neighbour, I decided to wander over and have a look.Of course, the first thing I noticed was that I was twice the age of anyone else in the small place -- certainly the only respectable, middle-aged woman! I was also struck immediately by the bright colours and odd shapes of the various pot-related paraphernalia neatly arranged in display cases. Now, unlike former U.S. president Bill Clinton, I am not going to feign innocence. As someone who experienced the sixties, I am certainly not a complete stranger to the world of pot (although I really don't like the stuff). I have inhaled.But, as I looked more closely at the items offered for sale, I felt like a complete stranger in a very strange land. There were several things I simply couldn't identify!As with most human endeavours, there are endless, often rather ingenious, practices and products in the world of pot. Have you ever heard of a "Butt Head," for example? These odd-looking plastic forms stop smoke "instantly" in the ashtray by cutting off the oxygen supply to the toke.But that's just the beginning I soon learned! There were little green packets containing metal screens for inserting in pipes and blocking ashes. And pollen boxes for collecting pollen from the marijuana plant (although the owner told me, rather defensively, it could be used to remove pollen from other plants as well).As I continued to prowl around the shop, I saw scales for weighing, grinders for grinding, an electric herb chopper, pipe cleaners, and cigarette rollers.At one point, I spied a product called "Hello Neighbour" which promises to "neutralize" smoke and odours -- "The Neighbourly Thing to Do." Living nearby, I appreciated that attitude. And, of course, there were books: Marijuana Question? Ask Ed, The Joint Rolling Handbook and Stir Crazy Cooking with Cannabis, as well as a video offering step-by-step instructions "for the budding grower."And then there were the endless pipes of all styles and sizes -- including many beautifully blown, glass pipes from B.C. -- and rolling papers in all colours and flavours -- blueberry, cherry -- with names that reminded me of condoms -- Sphinx, Tribal.A Spanish brand of papers, Pay-Pay, has been produced since 1764. The Spanish, I was informed, make a large portion of the world's rolling papers. Go figure.Of course, rolling paper isn't just rolling paper. One wants, it seems, the slowest burning, the thinnest, and most transparent. Life, even getting high, is never uncomplicated.As I made my way around the store like a mature Alice in Wonderland, I held up small items for identification or explanation. Harkening back to my university days, I proudly asked if one article was a roach clip. It was a pipe cleaner. Oh well. Next time.The only shocking discovery on my tour were two products I didn't even know had been invented -- although I realize now I was terribly naive: urine cleanser which, if taken 48 hours before a drug test, will flush out the system, and shampoo which "penetrates the hair shaft and cortex" and "removes contaminates and medical residue."Although I immediately pictured certain athletes diligently packing these for the Olympics, my tour guide explained they were mainly in demand in the U.S. where drug testing -- in the workplace, for instance -- is more commonplace.Any looks of dismay, surprise -- or, indeed, shock -- were unsettling for my host and he became somewhat defensive as my snoopiness continued. "A lot of people get real surprised," he told me. "They think it's all brand new, but it's not. It's just usually not on display." He pointed out that, although his store is new and a result of the liberalizing bill introduced in the spring, there were other stores in the city -- one of which was raided two years ago so they, too, will remain nameless -- which have been around for a few years.When I asked him about the success of his own business, he replied simply: "There are a lot of smokers in this town; a lot of people just won't admit they are."Well, if this new legislation has the same effect on pot-consuming individuals as it has had on this young entrepreneur, we might soon see Canadians coming rather cautiously out of their smoky closets. Gasp!Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)Author: Kathleen O'HaraPublished: Tuesday, October 07, 2003Copyright: 2003 Winnipeg Free PressContact: letters freepress.mb.caWebsite: News Canadian Links -- Canada Archives
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