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Cindi Phelps never imagined herself running a cannabis shop. She smoked cannabis as a teenager, but as an adult she became ‘cranky’ about cannabis, endlessly lecturing her kids and judging everyone who touched the stuff.

It was only when she neared 50 that she realized cannabis could soothe her pain from a chronic health issue. Now that she manages the Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Kimberley, British Columbia, Phelps can relate to customers who are nervous about trying cannabis for the first time in decades - or ever.

About 15 to 20 percent of her customers fall into this category, and most are baby boomers.

“They had their kids. They had their family. Now they’re retired and they’d like to try it again,” she said. “It’s legal, they don’t feel they’re going to get arrested for it.”

When Canada legalized weed on Oct. 17 of last year, it wasn’t clear how it would affect the stigma around cannabis or the habits of non-cannabis users. Six months later, early data and interviews with store operators suggest a considerable number of Canadians are consuming cannabis for the first time.

Nearly 14% of cannabis users surveyed by Statistics Canada from mid-November to mid-December had just begun using cannabis within the previous three months. The period they were asked about includes time before and after legalization, but the percentage of new users jumped noticeably compared with previous quarters, when they ranged from 4.7 to 7.8 percent.

The agency found that new users spanned all age groups. However, use among people aged 24 to 35 declined slightly in the months as legalization was unfolding, while it grew among all age categories above 35.

Legalization has drawn a whole new segment of people who prefer to use legal cannabis and are willing to pay more for it, said Jennifer Lee, the lead partner managing the cannabis sector for consulting firm Deloitte.

“Government oversight does bring a whole new cohort to the market,” she said. “They could have tried it on the black market. They just chose not to, because they wanted to know it was a safe product.”

Generally, she said her research has shown that people over 55 are most enticed by this market, because they dabbled in cannabis years ago and can afford to pay more for legal weed.

People with no cannabis experience often ask for cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a non-psychoactive extract that is used to treat pain and anxiety, said Mike Babins, owner of Evergreen Cannabis in Vancouver.

Source: https://www.thegrowthop.com/news/canada/legalization-sparks-curiosity-in-people-who-havent-used-pot-in-years-or-ever/wcm/b43f7aa9-85a7-4e41-8fb8-26e8d288e82b

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