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Newfoundland and Labrador residents don’t expect big change

Megan Kennedy, owner/operator of The Natural Vibe retail outlet at 306 Water St. in downtown St. John’s, was busy at work on Tuesday with her staff preparing for today’s legal selling of cannabis as of 12:01 a.m., when it became legal to sell and possess the drug. Kennedy displays a sign at her store on Tuesday afternoon depicting history in the making, when — due to Newfoundland’s time zone — she was set to become one of the first retailers in the country to sell cannabis products.
Megan Kennedy, owner/operator of The Natural Vibe retail outlet at 306 Water St. in downtown St. John’s, was busy at work on Tuesday with her staff preparing for today’s legal selling of cannabis as of 12:01 a.m., when it became legal to sell and possess the drug. Kennedy displays a sign at her store on Tuesday afternoon depicting history in the making, when — due to Newfoundland’s time zone — she was set to become one of the first retailers in the country to sell cannabis products. - Joe Gibbons

‘People have been doing it for eons now’

Now that cannabis legalization day has dawned and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can use recreational cannabis, locals don’t expect much to change in the long term.

People who spoke with The Telegram on Tuesday more or less agree they don’t expect major societal changes now that cannabis is legal.

“Anybody who’s going to smoke it tomorrow is going to smoke it today,” said one woman.

“It’ll be slightly more acceptable to society.”

For others, they’ve already made up their mind on the substance.

“I tried it, didn’t like it. So, no. The other side of that is, in my opinion, I think if people are going to do it, they’re going to do it whether it’s legal or not,” said one woman.

“People have been doing it for eons now, so I don’t think legalization is going to increase the number of people dramatically. Some may, because now they won’t feel as guilty. For the most part, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference in the use.”

One woman, who is already a regular user, is excited to see the plant more accessible.

“I’m a daily smoker. I’ll just continue to smoke and have more spots to shop at. Better variety, and cleaner stuff to smoke,” she said.

Sitting with her, a friend says he’s had the date saved for a while now.

“Definitely, I’m going to try this. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now,” he said.

For those working in heavy industry, the decision about whether or not to give cannabis a try has already been made for them.

“I work in the offshore. We still do drug tests. If you want to smoke up, I have no issue, as long as it’s done safely,” said one man.

“It will have no effect on my decision to smoke cannabis at all.”

The question of whether or not there will be a large increase in recreational cannabis smokers remains, and will cloud the air for months to come. One man said he doesn’t think there will be any major, long-term changes.

“I think, overall, there’s going to be a spike, initially. There’s a lot of people I know that said they’re willing to try it now because it is going to be legal,” said another man.

“I think that’ll be transient. I don’t think it’ll last for a long time. People will find out whether or not they actually like the effects of it. That’s going to determine if they continue to use it.”

david.maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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