My name is Andrea. My career has been varied. Many years ago I started up the original Cafe du Soleil on Commercial Drive, I was a partner in both Ragz’n’Rerunzz clothing and consignment shop as well as earthbabies clothing co. I co-designed the Happy sac baby carrier and did my fair share of retail management including time at The Body Shop, Ikea and 10 years at Womyns’Ware Inc.
I am a cannabis consumer and now a cannabis retailer.
My education is in display and design for the retail environment and for over 30 years I’ve been engaged in customer service in one capacity or another. So how did I end up here?
It started in May of 2013 when I began to experience Peri-Menopausal symptoms: fatigue, weight gain, loss of libido, sleeplessness and mood swings. I looked into what my options were and discovered that what I had available to me through conventional medicine included antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy and sleeping pills… in short a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. I had raised my children using alternative means; concentrating mostly on homeopathy, nutrition and herbal remedies so I began to look at what my alternative therapies might involve.
My partner had used Cannabis to treat chronic back pain and I had noticed that Cannabis was becoming prevalent in the media so I looked a little closer at it. Research on the medical aspects of the plant showed me that Cannabis was a viable alternative but getting safe access and quality information proved much more challenging.
There were approximately 14 dispensaries in Vancouver at the time and I really had no idea where to start. To be honest I was intimidated by the shops I had come across. I did manage to visit a few dispensaries and while staff were generally welcoming my “service and retail design” sensibilities were not engaged. What I was looking for was an education, a comfortable environment in which to discuss my challenges and ideally a space where I would feel inspired.
Ultimately I was able to get access to cannabis through friends of friends. Living in BC allows many of us “connections” where we can secure access to cannabis but is it the right strain? Is it tested or can we secure information on how to find the right dose? Are there other ways to consume cannabis other than smoking it? This lack of insight concerned me and when I discussed my concerns with friends and family they ask “Why don’t you open a shop?”
So we did.
Long story short it has been a ride. I was able to manage my health with a combination of protocols: I changed my diet, I changed my workout routine, I added supplements to my regime and I used medical cannabis both topically and internally to manage my remaining challenges. My personal preference is to consume Cannabis in a manner that allows me to avoid the psychotropic effects (the high) and that is something I am eager to share with others who are looking to achieve the same. That said…I support others to define their own level of comfort.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I invite you to share yours. It is time to come out of the Cannabis Closet and show the world who we really are.