I’m still trying to wrap my head around this question: how did I become a glorified drug dealer?
Ok, I’m not a drug dealer. Not in the original sense of the word. But I do sell cannabis. Weed. Pot. Marijuana. Whatever you want to call it, but for right now, we’ll call it cannabis. I work at a legal retail cannabis store called Tokyo Smoke, one of the largest cannabis retailers in the country. But if you would have told me that one year ago, I never would have believed you.
Ten years ago I joined a competitive dance team. From that point on, dance became my whole life. My schedule was always dance first, everything else second. Almost every night after school, I went straight to the dance studio. A lot of my parents’ money was spent on me dancing. I moved a few times to attend different dance schools and studios. I moved to Toronto to pursue an education and a career in dance. I’m proud to say I have earned myself a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Dance. So I think it’s normal to feel like there is a lot at stake, a lot to lose, and a lot of pressure to put all that work, time and money towards a dance career.
During those 10 years, no one could change my mind about what I was “going to do'' in life. Every time I would get asked that lovely question “what do you want to do?”, I would just say dance. All I knew was dance. I sacrificed a lot of socializing, partying and hanging out as a teenager for rehearsals, competitions and classes. We all did. I took myself very seriously. I worked very hard. I got to work with some incredible people and do some incredible performances. As graduation day approached, the pressure grew. As artists, I think we build this idea up in our minds that if we don’t do the thing which we’ve devoted so much time and effort to, we’ve wasted it. That pattern of thought has been with me for a long time and continues to be. I used to think that if you gave up your artistic passion for a “9-5” job it meant that you never liked it enough, or you weren’t strong enough. What do those labels mean? The elitist attitude within artistic communities led me to believe that certain careers were better than others. So there I was, 22 years old, over confident, a degree in dance, a lot of training, a lot of experience, about to launch myself into my dream career. What came next doesn’t need to be explained… (Hint: it rhymes with plobal sandemic)
Six months later, I work full time at Tokyo Smoke and have not taken a dance class in just as long.
I never smoked cannabis in high school. It was never spoken about in my house, but I was never explicitly told not to do it. I just knew not to do it, somehow. Society had ingrained that judgement in me. My relationship with cannabis started in university when I had a bad experience. This was before federal legalization, and that bad experience just furthered my beliefs about cannabis. When federal legalization was about to happen, my curiosity grew. I was also searching for a natural way to help with stress, anxiety and overthinking. I remember a pivotal conversation I had with my mom where she said that maybe “something more natural could help”, and that was the moment my preconceived ideas about cannabis started to change. The legal cannabis market was appealing to me because it made it easy to understand. I knew there could be more benefits to it then just getting high, and the legal market opened up the floor for canna-curious people who wanted to be educated safely.
When I found myself bored in the house and in the house bored, I had time to dive a little deeper in interests I had other than dance, like music, fashion, sports, and cannabis. I was at a fork in the road, I wanted to dance but I couldn’t just sit around and wait for live events to start again, I needed to make money. I applied for all sorts of jobs, just to get me off the CERB. After multiple interviews, I got a job at Tokyo Smoke as an educator. Three months later I got promoted to a community lead position and I love it. I have learned so much about cannabis, business, marketing and managing. I am part of many different communities. And the most exciting part is that I got into a young industry on the ground floor. It is really exciting to be part of a fast-growing industry. The possibilities feel endless.
Cannabis was a gateway drug for me. A gateway to so many more interests in my life. A gateway to a new kind of happiness, one I didn’t know could exist. I laugh at myself now because I am one of those people who I judged. I feel happy. I’m learning that it is not about asking whether I am more or less happy than I was, it is just about this moment. So what I’ve learned from the past year is that things can change. Pivoting can happen. Don’t be so stubborn. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t fight the current, go with it.
I'm Maddi and Im a full time student (studying Child and Youth Work), Here I have my blog and my shop, I hope you enjoy!