‘Go low and slow’: Tokyo Smoke reflects on one year of cannabis legalization

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By Madi Wong

While reflecting on the first year of cannabis legalization Thursday, Tokyo Smoke, a cannabis dispensary next to campus, said they have been able to educate Ryerson University students on forms and effects of cannabis. 

Tokyo Smoke opened its dispensary right across from the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre in April—and it was the first franchise in the city to sell cannabis products.

Josh Lyon,  a senior director of portfolio integration for Canopy Growth, said that educating consumers, including students, has been a “core tenant” of their business. Lyon has been working at Tokyo Smoke since 2015. 

“It’s about product knowledge, people are hungry for information. So, the hope is that you can come here and have an interactive experience.”

Lyon said that some frequent questions he has heard students ask have been about the difference between having a flower—cannabis buds that can be broken up to be inhaled through a joint or infused in edibles—versus a cannabis-infused oil or capsule and how different forms will affect them. 

Since the store has opened steps away from campus, it has resulted in numerous curious and excited students visiting, said Nina Caputo, a key lead and specialist at Tokyo Smoke. 

“We especially noticed when frosh was starting [there were] so many people. But it’s really nice to see [and] get to know some of the students that come by and to kind of build those relationships, especially with your cannabis program at the school,” she said. 

Being near a university campus, Lyon said the store has strived to integrate themselves into the community by prioritizing safety and knowledge around cannabis. 

As of Thursday, edibles can now be legally sold and purchased in Canada. They are expected to be sold in dispensaries such as Tokyo Smoke in the near future.

“I think a lot of people are looking for another way to consume as opposed to smoking…We’re excited [and will] have it in the store by the new year,” said Caputo. 

According to Caputo, edibles will be sold in a variety of forms such as chocolates, gummies and drinks with regulations limited to 10 milligrams per product. 

Heading into the second year of cannabis legalization, Lyon said that there is a lot to look forward to and expect in the cannabis industry, including more factual research on how cannabis can be used and what it can do for people. 

“Just because we kind of snapped and said legalization is here, doesn’t change decades and decades of misinformation. That doesn’t change what we’ve been ingrained to think about cannabis and the people who consume,” he said. 

“I’m hoping as it continues to be open conversations like this, people take the time to educate themselves to form their own opinions and continue to reduce the stigma that still exists today.”

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