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Spirit Leaf Vernon owner says 4/20 should be 'day of recognition'

4/20 reason for celebration

For the longest time, 4/20 was a naughty number for an illegal underworld uttered by cannabis users. It was a way to let other people know they imbibed.

As legalization approached, the use of the numeric catchphrase became less clandestine. Large numbers of people gathered each April 20 to smoke weed in public parks and on Legislature grounds, but there was still a tinge of illegality to the affairs.

Not anymore. Not only is cannabis legal, but it has been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow, April 20, will be a form of celebration for an industry that is thriving in these unprecedented times.

“We went from being illegal to essential,” Spirit Leaf Vernon owner Sarah Ballantyne says. “The pandemic kind of sped this up in 18 months. So that’s pretty cool, pretty noteworthy.”

Business has been booming for Ballantyne and her team at Spirit Leaf Vernon as the selection has increased and their regulars have found their favourites. She said she had approximately 50 skus when legalization first happened, but now there are more than 500.

“So I can really curate our selection here based on customer needs and local products available here in B.C. that are grown here, processed here and packaged here,” she says, adding the end of the COVID-19 pandemic will bring back the tourists that flocked to her 53rd Avenue location during the summers of 2018 and 2019.

Another positive outcome of legalization is the consistency of the product, which means everyone who wants to celebrate tomorrow will likely know how much they need and where it will take them.

“These formats definitely create a more secure product for the customer because of its consistency,” she says. “Our customers love that. They know what they’re getting into each time they take it.

“If they dose themselves correctly, then they can hit that same mark every single time they use it. When everything was illegal, everything was all over the place.”

Now it’s legal, and prices have dropped to black-market levels. The 4/20 celebration will happen tomorrow, and there will be no nefarious tones like in the past.

“That day is way more important than the October 17th date of legalization,” Ballantyne says. “Because when things were illegal it was kind of this underground code, a behind-the-scenes-type thing where if you wrote 4/20 friendly on an ad or something, people knew what it meant. There was kind of this underground code that we always used to have to use.

“But now we can celebrate it. April 20th should be Canada’s cannabis day of celebration or recognition.”

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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