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Old, pricey, over packaged: Vancouverites have feedback for gov't-approved dealers one year after legal pot

Last Updated Oct 17, 2019 at 6:18 am PST

FILE -- File photo: In this Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 photo, a customer sniffs a display sample of marijuana, in a tamper-proof container secured with a cable, sold at Evergreen Cannabis, a marijuana retail shop, in Vancouver, B.C. One year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, hundreds of legal pot shops have sprung up. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Summary

Vancouverites are giving their two cents a year into legal pot, and it looks like there's room for improvement

Many cite access as a barrier to legal pot around Metro Vancouver, with government-approved shops located in, around Van

Some of the biggest complaints are around the waste created by government-regulated packaging

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouverites say legal cannabis is often old, dry and over packaged — and they’re tired of having to go downtown to get it.

Canada has gone a full trip around the sun since legalization of recreational pot, and one year in, people want to see changes.

Recreational users in East Vancouver say they don’t want to see pot shops on every corner but since things went legit, they say access has been a challenge.

“I have to come all the way from North Vancouver to here,” one man told NEWS 1130 outside UEMCannabis on Renfrew Street in East Vancouver. “So I’ve been using the mail order thing, which is a bit of a bother, and have I noticed? Well, ya, it used to be easier.”

While some people say they’re happy to see illegal shops shut down, most local, provincially-licensed stores are operating in or around downtown Vancouver.

A recent crackdown on unlicensed shops has meant people have had to go further out of their neighbourhoods and cities to find stores.

Some are driving in from places like Langley, Surrey, Richmond, and Burnaby, where there are no options.

MAP: Licensed, non-medical cannabis stores in B.C. 

To top it all off, others say government-approved shops have sold them year-old, dried-up weed at a premium.

“Ones that are open now, that have the government licenses, are a lot more expensive than what they used to be,” a customer said. “Sometimes two or three times more.”

Some of the biggest complaints are around the waste created by government-regulated packaging.

“Horrible,” a woman described. “Ridiculous, you know? They’re humongous. And plus, I don’t put it in my recycling bins because I don’t want my neighbours to think, ‘OK, there’s a stoner living here.'”

Fist-sized tins with plastic inserts inside doubled cardboard boxes often contain less than a tablespoon’s worth of product inside. Many say the weed they’re buying appears to even be up to a year old.

“It seems like quality has gone down a little bit, it’s really dry,” others said.

This feedback comes as police across the country note Canada still has a long way to go before tackling the black market, as well as impaired driving.

According to the co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police drug advisory committee, organized crime’s market share and youth consumption of pot haven’t dropped — yet. Police have also flagged concerns about the tools used to detect high drivers, which they say are still lacking, while legal experts say they’re waiting to test the new impaired driving laws in court.

-With files from The Canadian Press