Upcoming marijuana legalization brings a shift in perception

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Roberto Apodaca has been working at Vintage Vinyl & Hemp Emporium on and off for eight years. With the increased prevalence of medicinal marijuana and upcoming recreational legalization, he’s noticed more people asking about pot.

“I’ll be honest with you, with the little old ladies walking in here telling me that her doctor just told her she now has medical marijuana, and she’s looking me in the eyes and she doesn’t have a clue what to do,” Apodaca said.

“Those are the type of people that I cherish who walk through my door.”

Roberto “Buzzrock” Apodaca assists a customer at Vintage Vinyl & Hemp Emporium.

Adrian Raaber/Global News

From there, he tells them about the various different smoking methods and finds something right for them.

“We have seen a large increase of people just wanting to know and people opening their eyes as to what types of medicine are available to them out there,” Apodaca added.

READ MORE: Marijuana will be legal, but for many activists the fight isn’t over

The tentative legislation date of July 1, 2018 is looming. This has members of the Regina Police Service (RPS) talking about adjusting their mindset on marijuana.

“When I started policing even medicinal marijuana was not something that was talked about, or even accepted in communities,” Chief Evan Bray said.

Bray said police will have to learn to start treating marijuana like alcohol once it’s legalized.

“We still think there’s some real important messaging that has to happen, especially for youth, but all citizens of Regina and our country to understand that there is risk; [it’s] no different than drinking alcohol,” Bray added.

The RPS school resource unit will be adjusting its mandate to step up education on the risks of marijuana use.

There will be an internal shift for police as well. Bray said under their code of ethics, recreational marijuana use among off-duty officers will be allowed once it’s legal.

“It’s tough sometimes as an individual to adjust. So there’s lots of things that are legal, jumping out of an airplane is legal, but you’re not going to be seeing Evan Bray doing that anytime soon,” he said.

READ MORE: Medical cannabis patients urged not to self-medicate when recreational marijuana is legal

A couple hundred people celebrated cannabis in Victoria Park, including Bob Mayer.

He suffers from arthritis and bipolar disorder and said medicinal marijuana helped return his quality of life.

“If it wasn’t for this, my quality of life would be horrible. Because of this, I’m just new to getting my green card. I’m 28 days cane free,” he explained.

Police were watching the park, but Bray said they would not intervene unless the gathering got out of hand. Until recreational marijuana is legalized police will enforce the law as written.

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