I’ll try not to show the amber in my trichomes but it was the first day of school well before my mother stopped making my lunch. My best friend Ken showed up at my house that morning to make the short trek to school together like we had done for a few years now. On this morning however, between his house and mine, someone had given him a clone! Neither of us had any clue just yet what that little plant was for; my Mom however knew exactly what it was after watching us plug it in her garden and water it before we were off down the street chanting something childish about growing dope. I had a better idea when I got home that day by the tone in Mom’s voice that there was definitely something about Mary!
Cannabis is something I always knew was around and not just with kids my age. There had already been a culture growing that I couldn’t help but fall in love with and it wasn’t the one we saw the likes of Cheech and Chong play into for laughs. I didn’t use cannabis with much regularity until my early 30’s but even before that I knew the stigmas about using cannabis were actually far more harmful than the plant itself. All the people I knew who were growing or smoking cannabis were pretty tight lipped about it, but they weren’t “criminal” types by any stretch of the imagination. The overwhelming majority of them being musicians, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers and mostly importantly, sick people.
After some exposure to cannabis cultivation and production as well as personal experience using cannabis successfully for medical purposes, I began seeing the legal push for low barrier access to medical cannabis continue to move forward locally in Hamilton, I couldn’t help but become more involved.
In June 2016 I set foot inside the first MMJ Canada store in Hamilton to check things out. After speaking briefly with the people involved, I knew I had found a calling I could not turn away from. I began working at the store on Ottawa Street about a year later. All the sudden I was speaking to hundreds of local Hamilton people about medical cannabis consumption. They were saying things I’ve only ever said to myself about cannabis. The culture I’d fallen in love with was a web of interconnected human consciousness that was healing and bringing people together.
We laughed and cried together while serving cannabis to some of the kindest people who were enduring extended suffering due to lack of access to medical cannabis. We sat through police actions looking into one another’s eyes afraid but more importantly together. I have literally worked alongside the most beautiful people being in the cannabis space, but with the Government set to steal the show and ignore the sick what was next for me after the final Police raids of 2019 put our battle out of the stores and into the courts?
Flash forward to January 2019. I never would have thought it would happen but it did. Myself and a few of the closest people to me from MMJ Canada all got hired to open Stoney Creek’s first Government regulated dispensary. We quickly identified the faults in this new system and aggressively pushed the change from within with great success, which felt way better than complaining about it from the sidelines. Sure, we couldn’t talk about pain or anxiety anymore but with so many former MMJ Canada patients coming in we had already built a level of trust where we could guide people to regulated cannabis that they wouldn’t be pissed off about paying for once they got it home. This initially was the biggest challenge as there was an overwhelming amount of very low standard bud in those oversized plastic containers! It didn’t take long for us to pinpoint the necessary changes to improve this mess and for me personally to outgrow the challenges that were offered at the Stoney Creek shop.
Enter Lolly Cannabis…
Another cannabis dream come true. I checked the AGCO website for License holders to prep my resume for in search of creating better opportunities for my little family and there she was! Less then a 10 minute walk from where I live in Caledonia. I immediately reached out to the Lolly Ownership to sell myself to them before anyone else could. What was even more appealing than the location was that this was a small family operation with local ties. No more shilling boof for a corporate giant that doesn’t fit the culture! I take a lot of pride in the day-to-day operations here especially in the weekly menu I put together and the ‘cannalytics’ we compile to bring the very best to market at completive prices. Here we are a few months in, excited for what’s to come and looking forward to growing in Caledonia and throughout Ontario.
You could say the cannabis space has evolved a little since that walk to school so many years ago. Ken graduated to become an Angel nine years ago today (April 6th), but not without receiving relief from his cancer and subsequent treatments utilizing cannabis. The stigmas and misconceptions about my involvement with cannabis especially pre-“legalization” hasn’t come without a price, but I take great comfort in knowing that people from all walks of life obtained relief as a result of my civil disobedience. If you were lucky enough to be there before it happened you’ll know the challenges we’ve faced. If you missed it my heart goes out to you, but the best is still yet to come at Lolly!