Triple J’s Music and Tattoos in Whitehorse is celebrations marijuana legalization on Oct. 17 by throwing a party with food, music and discounts. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

CANNABIS SPECIAL: Where to go to celebrate cannabis legalization

Yukon businesses have come up with ways to celebrate in solidarity

Music and marijuana go together like peanut butter and jam, so it makes sense that two places to publicly celebrate weed’s legalization this week are music venues.

On Oct. 17, Whitewater Wednesday will go by the pseudonym, Weed Water Wednesday.

According to organizer Peggy Hanifan, it was just a coincidence that the day of legalization landed on her long-standing jam night at Epic Pizza in Riverdale which starts at 7:30 p.m. It was a friend of hers who suggested making the evening an homage to the jazz cabbage.

“I haven’t smoked marijuana for almost 25 years now so I don’t really have many marijuana songs,” said Hanifan. “But over the years we’ve had so many musicians come in who do have some songs about marijuana. So we’ll have a big selection of songs coming.”

Some will come from Rick Sward, of Fishead Stew, who will co-host the evening with Eric Epstein.

Sward said he used to write a lot about marijuana (“then I branched out to hatred and bankers and television and divorce,” he said, laughing “All the happy stuff.”).

When he was in his 20s, he sang at weed rallies in Victoria, B.C. Playing the “marijuana circuit” he said he even met Jack Herer, the cannabis rights activist who wrote The Emporer Wears no Clothes.

One of the tunes he (sort of) remembers writing was about a marijuana plant growing out of a friend’s compost bin, though he can’t remember the name of it (“That’s probably one of the effects of marijuana.”).

He does remember a more recent tune — one he’ll probably play. Whitehorse musician Nicole Edwards gave it to him when he was in Fishead Stew — Grandma’s getting into Grandpa’s ganga.

Sward said he doesn’t think the legalization of weed in specific will change the vibe of the evening (you still can’t smoke it inside or outside Epic Pizza), but he said it is pretty neat to now be singing about it at a time when it’s legal.

Downtown, the owner of Triple J’s Music and Tattoos feels the same way.

Jordi Mikeli-Jones said her store will host a daylong party. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the store will spin weed-related tunes by Bob Marley, Cypress Hill and Sublime.

Staff may dress up in reefer-related costumes. There will also be sales of 17 per cent off all cannabis merchandise, free munchies all day, and some prizes.

“We’re excited but it’s been a painfully slow roller coaster, really,” said Mikeli-Jones, who has publicly campaigned for private businesses to be able to sell marijuana.

Regulations have yet to be put in place surrounding private sales.

Three months ago, Mikeli-Jones said the thought of waiting into 2019 would have been upsetting to her, but now she’s just letting government work out its kinks.

She said it helps that she’s been able to meet and chat with people at various levels of government to find out how the process is progressing.

“We are small (in the Yukon) so we have the luxury of being able to sit with ministers and the president of the liquor corporation,” she said.

“So we’re at the mercy of the Yukon government, but we have assurances this will be done.”

In the meantime, she’s focusing on what she can do to prepare for the day when she is able to sell cannabis.

That means putting in some new infrastructure to hide accessories, because Triple Js is a family-friendly shop. It also means sourcing and bringing in the cannabis-related products she can sell at the moment, including vapes, glassware, accessories, educational books on cannabis, tools and equipment for home cultivation, and more.

She is also putting together a “cannabis library corner” where customers can learn about everything from home cultivation, to various weed strains.

She said she’s heartened by public response so far, in terms of de-stigmatizing marijuana. Everyone from local politicians, to corporate giants such as Oh! Henry, which, this summer, released its 4:25 bar, so named for 4:20 and the the munchies that creep over you five minutes after you get high.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s once every three generations you see something like this come about. So we’re stoked.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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