Exploring recreational and medical cannabis



In the summer of 2019 a Laurier Brantford student was involved in an accident while working part-time in a local company. 


The student wishes that all identities of the parties involved are kept anonymous due to legality reasons. 


When describing the accident the student said, “I was moving machinery with a crane when a strap broke and a piece of steel, about 850 pounds, fell and crushed my foot.” 


As a result, the student underwent foot surgery. 


“This is a PSA to everyone, always wear steel toe shoes in that work environment,” said the student, “I probably would not have my right foot today if it weren’t for my steel toe boots.” 


After crushing their foot and undergoing surgery, the student was prescribed opioid based drugs to manage their pain. They were hesitant to use the prescribed drugs due to the well-known addictive qualities of opioid drugs.  


The opioid crisis is a serious problem in Brantford.


It is common for Brantford residents to run into symptoms of this opioid epidemic, from needles on the ground to actually witnessing an overdose in public. As a result many people are hesitant to use those types of painkillers. 


When describing their experience with strong painkillers, the student said, “I felt like a zombie, the side effects for me were total numbing of the body, intense nausea, grumpiness and intense sleepiness.” 


Unable to cope with the side effects, the student tried various pain management techniques.  


“I tried massages, essential oils, ice baths, hot baths, stretching, physiotherapy and finally cannabis. For me, CBD topicals helped the most. Specifically topicals with equal parts CBD and THC. I know from others, that topicals can help with arthritis and menstrual cramps.” they said. 


For those new to the cannabis world CBD, cannabidiol, and THC, tetrahydrocannabinol have very different effects. 


THC is responsible for the high typically associated with cannabis. CBD does not produce that high but is widely acclaimed for helping manage pain, anxiety, depression, and seizures to name a few. 


In an attempt to investigate what is going on with cannabis use in Brantford, The Sputnik interviewed a new dispensary located in our very own campus.  


Harvest Cannabis Co, located on 59 Dalhousie Street, aims to, “share knowledge and expertise about cannabis with our community.” 


Two people behind the creation of the dispensary are store manager Britney Guerra and owner Dave Robinson. Guerra is considered to be a veteran in the cannabis movement and Robinson is a firefighter. 


“I suggested the idea to Dave because we have a friendship built on our shared passion for cannabis,” said Guerra. 


Guerra was involved in the black market for 12 years prior to the legalization of cannabis in 2018. She worked tirelessly for the cannabis movement in B.C and then helped push for legalization in Ontario. 


“When I was in the streets, screaming with a pot flag to legalize it in Vancouver, 12 years ago, I never thought this would be a reality,” she said.


The two built Harvest Cannabis and it’s been a great experience for them.


 “It’s been an awesome ride, I’m happy it’s legal, there are restrictions that can be lightened, but it is easier to loosen restrictive laws then it is to restrict loose laws.” 


Some restrictions are that dispensary owners and employees are not allowed to recommend or advise customers on cannabis products that can be helpful for various health conditions.


“We’re hoping to change that, the medical program is crap, patients can only order online and can not go in store for advice,” said Guerra. 


Harvest Cannabis gets customers that want to dabble with the medical side of cannabis but it is challenging for them to assist those customers due to legal restrictions. 


“It’s hard for me from an activist perspective, having to bite my tongue by not offering advice to my customers because I know about the health benefits of cannabis,” she said.


The two feel hopeful that overtime this will change because of the political base cannabis has. Guerra compares this to the prohibition era. 


“You couldn’t see or touch alcohol, but now you can at the LCBO or even get it delivered to your front door,” she said. 


They hope cannabis will have looser restrictions in the future so that they can help the community experience the medical benefits of cannabis. 


 “It’s kind of like a dance-around, we direct our customers to cannabis that will help them, without bringing out the medical side but we’re getting pretty good at the dance.”


For students who are starting at zero and wish to explore cannabis more Guerra said, “come in the store and let us know it is your first time. We will start you off on something not strong and go from there.”


Harvest Cannabis offers a wide variety of products such as flower, topicals, oils, pre-rolls, edibles and much more.

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