CBD oil has been more popular in the north Island than traditional dried weed. (Pixabay)

CBD oil has been more popular in the north Island than traditional dried weed. (Pixabay)

Seniors are loving cannabis on northern Vancouver Island

“I never thought in a million years I’d be selling pot to my dad.”

Vancouver Island’s northernmost town has two legal cannabis stores. North Island Cannabis, opened last spring, and Victoria-based Pacificanna opened a Port Hardy location on the first day of summer.

Since then, Pacificanna manager Sandra Boyd has seen a marked increase in the age of her customers. Over half of the people she serves are seniors, she estimates.

“I never thought in a million years I’d be selling pot to my dad,” said Pacificanna assistant manager Amy Krull.

CBD oil seems to be the product of choice. Smoking isn’t good for lungs, the gummies allowed by the Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) aren’t strong enough, and “they don’t like taking pills because it’s too much like taking pills,” Boyd says.

Customers have become more interested in how the product works over time. “They’ll come in and describe what they’re looking for. Oh you’re on a mission. I can help you with that.”

Boyd has been using marijuana for years as treatment for chronic pain, and still she says she learns something almost daily.

“How they took dirt pot from when I was a teenager and turned it into this,” she waves her hand to indicate the store. It looks more like a pharmacy than the illegal pot stores of yore before Health Canada stepped in. There’s nary a tie-dye-Marley reference to be seen.

Despite the positive reception Port Hardy has given the two stores, it has been a tough year to open a new business, between the marathon logging strike and then COVID-19. But both stores are still in business, and deepening their roots in the community.

Tristan Radzik, part-owner of North Island Cannabis, is focused on the local market.

“I really try to learn the names of the locals. They’re the ones who are going to carry us through this year.”

Last year,there were more local tourists – people from Bella Bella, Alert Bay, Port Alice. But as those communities began to self-isolate because of COVID-19, it’s become clear that locals are keen on pot.

Radzik likes the opportunity to help customers find the right product for their needs. Many people have had bad experiences with edibles in the past, for example, but products are far different now than before they became regulated into an organized industry.

“Edibles aren’t Russian roulette anymore. We know the dosage, it’s very safe,” he said.

Boyd is grateful to the District of Port Hardy for recognizing the value of this industry, and jumping on board so quickly. The fledgling industry already employs six people — not a small number for a small town with a soaring unemployment rate.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Businesscannabis

Just Posted

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Island First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Mom still hopeful for Island man who left care six months ago, hasn’t been seen since

Support from community, police keeps search alive for Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities”

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
All of B.C. will eventually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions at same time: Henry

People who have received two doses of a vaccine can’t yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she says

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Precarious cartload balancing act of ‘put out’ goods draws raised eyebrows in Sidney

Police determined goods were not left out for anyone to take, property returned

Business founder Jeff Ross stands outside his shop Gold Silver Guy in Qualicum Beach on May 10, 2021. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Qualicum Beach store owner finds shop in shambles after early morning robbery

RCMP investigating after door smashed, showcases shattered and inventory stolen

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Victoria stabbing leaves man with potentially life-altering injuries

Friday night assault has police looking for help in identifying a suspect

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville on May 1

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a 57-year-old woman who missed a work appointment and has not been seen since May 3. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: RCMP say Nanaimo woman who hadn’t been seen in a week is safe and sound

Tracy Ferguson, 57, had been away from the boat where she resides on Stewart Avenue

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Most Read