‘Start low, go slow’: introducing cannabis to new users in Williams Lake

Hope is celebrating her first anniversary as store manager at Pacificanna Williams Lake, and if Year One is any indication, there are plenty of reasons for optimism.

“Cannabis acceptance is growing, and we’ve started to see a wider range of customers in the store asking questions. It’s great to see people more open, and it’s great that they have more places to go to find reliable information.”

Before legalization, knowledge about potential effects, products and consumption methods was hard to find, but now there are more places to ask.

“Now people can talk to their doctor, talk to their budtender, do their own research. Legalization has given people the opportunity to learn and make informed decisions.”

Sharing knowledge with customers is Hope’s favourite part of the job — her goal is to help customers enjoy their time in the store, not just get a sale. And she’s not just educating novices.

“The most common question I get from experienced smokers is about THC. They’re looking for a stronger ‘high,’ and they think higher THC content will get them there. I get to teach them about terpenes, which are just as important. Often they’ll be more happy with a lower THC content if the strain has the right combination of terpenes.”

Hope says the most important thing for any user to understand is that everyone reacts differently.

“Try different strains, start low, go slow, and see how different products affect your body. It may take time to find the strain that gives you the effect you’re looking for. ”

When Pacificanna first opened its store in Williams Lake, the legalized market was young, so selection was limited. But Hope has seen a steady increase in supply since then.

“Cannabis 2.0 — shatters, concentrates, vapes and other products — became legal at the end of 2019, and brands have slowly been adding more products. As more hit the market, I’m expecting pricing to become more competitive with the grey and black market,” she says.

Hope is also optimistic that there will be less packaging on cannabis products in the years to come.

“It’s something we hear a lot from customers. It’s obviously important to make the product child-proof, but there has to be a better way that’s more environmentally friendly.”

Visit Pacificanna in Williams Lake at 3015 MacKenzie Ave. North. Pacificanna also has stores in Victoria and Port Hardy, with more locations opening soon. Follow Pacificanna on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news.

Pacificanna Williams Lake store manager Hope says “selection has just exploded” in the last year.