A weekend in Vancouver, the Mecca of smoking pot

News 21 January, 2018
  • Photo By Annabelle Blais
    Booth pipes in silicone to Lift Cannabis Expo, the largest industry conferences of the pot in the country. The event was held from 12 to 14 January in Vancouver.

    Annabelle Blais

    Sunday, 21 January 2018 17:00

    Sunday, 21 January 2018 17:00

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    If the Lift Cannabis Expo taught me anything, it is that this is not a good idea to interview people battés.

    I’ve just returned from Vancouver, where was held the Lift Cannabis Expo, the most important congress of pot in the country.

    As my bosses have offered me the privilege to hold a column entirely dedicated to cannabis, I told myself that it would begin strong to make the trip to Vancouver. Transposed into the universe geek, it would be a bit like going to Silicon Valley.

    Why? Because Vancouver is sometimes called Vansterdam, is the Mecca of cannabis in Canada. There are a hundred dispensaries where to buy pot (sometimes without a prescription), and nearly a score of producers of cannabis, licensed by Health Canada.

    To read my articles on the congress, it is here

    Cannabis: investors are knocking at the doors

    They want to work in the industry of cannabis

    Zero tolerance and cannabis: it will be difficult to judge the fault

    What I was especially surprised at the congress: the face of the industry changes. The young poteux with dreadlocks or the boomer hippie with a T-shirt multi-coloured and faded, has given way to full tie. Bob Marley can go get dressed.

    There were people with PhD’s, scientists, lobbyists and former elected officials. There were people from the community, agriculture, other finance, or some of the pharmacology.

    That was before Saturday night.

    After two days of workshops and serious discussions, I wanted to go talk to the absent of the congress. For example, those who are currently in the grey market, as the owners of dispensaries, those places that are sometimes tolerated by the cities, but which remain no less illegal.

    One of them has agreed to go for a drink in a bar in the city centre, around 19: 30. This activist of the first hour, in the sixties has really led to fighting in the courts to arrive at the legalization.

    I asked him how he had managed to keep its clinics open in the country illegally for all these years.

    “I started growing pot, a long time ago and I was passing to my friends […] “it’s been 54 years that I smoke pot, the government persecutes us” […] During the Second world War, the soldiers have killed people, but after the bomb, they took babies in their arms and […]”


    I stopped taking notes in order to better listen. I raised my head and, for the first time in two days, I said to myself: “Tabar…., this guy is clearly not on an empty stomach.”


    -“Do you want a dab?”


    An hour later, I’m in the studios 710, a company webcast that occupies the entire floor above the bar. It is the activist sixties clearly not on an empty stomach who invited me to this party where there are people in the industry rather underground cannabis, the only and true representative crop, will say to me-they.

    There are glass pipes just about everywhere and people smoke dabs.

    Of what ?

    Of dabs. This is not just a move cool milléniaux, it is also a concentrated marijuana in the form of oil (also, 710 is a nod to the smoking of oil, since by reversing the number, we can read ‘oil’ in English.)

    It reminded me of the evenings of my teenage years where people were shotguns under a cover or seal of knives on the round of the stove (the industry of the ceramic stove, however, has forced a generation of poteux to reinvent itself. Damn you progress !).

    “The rich land and want to take ownership of our culture, but our culture this is not just a business, it explains to me another activist who works for a other chain of clinics. The government is doing cultural appropriation.”

    It was confusing at times, but I managed to understand that there is an industry that is emerging and which is composed of business men, scientists, and ex-politicians.

    But those who were already cultivating cannabis, those who defied the laws and made to bend to the courts, they already feel excluded from the industry that they have contributed to bring into the world.

    However, as was said by one expert, met in congress, to end the black market, it is necessary to allow some dispensaries to integrate the legal market. The american States that have not allowed the black market to make a transition to the legal market are those in which the illicit market is the strongest, explained me Alex Shiff, consultant at Navigator, a public relations firm that has developed an expertise in cannabis.

    I continued to ask serious questions, but I have not figured out all the answers. Made this, I didn’t even know if it was the other that were frozen or me. I was on an empty stomach (I swear, mom).

    Half an hour later, I was in a 7-Eleven with arms filled with bags of potato chips, jujubes, and popcorn.

    I had a beginning of answer : the smoke dabs, and the lack of sleep, it gives a not worse buzz also.