The times they are a changin’

In Focus column by Andrew Tripp, Dec. 10 Boundary Creek Times.

I had a dream last night. In it, I was in line at a liquor store, and the couple ahead of me were taking what seemed an eternity in getting through the check out. They had a couple of bottles of wine to pay for, as well as what appeared to be a small container of marijuana, quite nicely packaged with the label Heaven Scent prominent on the wrapper. It was obvious the store clerk was having her doubts about selling them the pot.

“Have you been smoking marijuana today sir?” asked the clerk, somewhat sheepishly. “Uh, no,” came the equally diffident reply.

Personally, I doubted the fellow; after all, he and his partner were giggling and one of them was munching on an enormous cinnamon bun, both clear signs of THC ingestion. The clerk hesitated for a moment, but then forged ahead with her cross-examination of the suspects, seemingly intent on denying them their newly awarded right of being able to buy recreational drugs in a government-run establishment.

“Sir, would you kindly remove your sunglasses?” came the clerk’s request. She was obviously looking for another sure sign of marijuana consumption in bloodshot eyes, and it appeared she had found what she was looking for.

“Sir, I’m afraid I’m unable to sell you marijuana today, as you are obviously stoned,” said the clerk. “But that’ll be $23.77 for the wine.”

I awoke drenched in sweat, but soon discovered that my dream could indeed be a harbinger of a new reality.

If Prime Minister Trudeau fulfills his promise of legalizing recreational marijuana in Canada, British Columbians may soon be able to buy recreational bud along with their beer. Government and private liquor stores have joined forces in calling for legal marijuana to be sold through the existing alcohol retail system.

The partnership, called the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of B.C. (maybe one day simply RMRABC?), is hoping that pot will be available in liquor stores by Christmas of 2016.

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said her union, which represents workers in nearly 200 public liquor stores, has not taken a position on whether it supports Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana (though I would be extremely surprised if the employees, as a whole, are against Trudeau’s intent), but it does believe that when legalization is a reality, existing liquor stores are the logical choice as the primary retail outlets.

I guess that makes some sense, though somehow I’m having difficulty envisioning store clerks standing with customers eschewing the qualities of certain strains of marijuana. I can, however, imagine the descriptions.

“This stuff is really trippy; the nose is thick and smoky and the finish pure hacking cough.”

“This bud goes very nicely with black comedies, though does tend to leave the palate a little on the dry side.”

“Highly recommended! Big and luscious, though doesn’t make you think everyone’s out to get you.”

In all seriousness, this whole marijuana legalization thing should make for some potentially laughable scenarios as far as the retail component is concerned. I am also asking myself many questions about this shift in our laws, such as:

“Are people who have never smoked marijuana because it’s always been illegal suddenly going to start lighting it up?”

“Will my aunt, while shopping for her Christmas sherry, also select a mingler pack of pot to go along with her Yuletide tipple?”

“If it is sold in liquor stores, will there be sampling tables set up so that customers can try a bit before they choose?”

So much to think about, Mr. Zimmerman, but you were right, times are definitely changing!