Support Fort St John News

FORT ST. JOHN, BC – Two local cannabis stores believe that the stigma surrounding cannabis use has been slowly improving since legalization.

FSJ Hive Cannabis manager Christine O’Keefe believes that communication is the key to combating the stigma associated with cannabis use.

“I’ve seen people who’ve never smoked in their entire life come in and mostly go for like CBD products or a drink or something like that,” said O’Keefe

“I think what continues to get rid of the stigma is a lot of communication, talking with people, having them come in and see that it’s a really nice clean area, comfortable to be in, and then just talk with them about it,” she continued.

O’Keefe also believes that some of the newer cannabis products help as well.

“A lot of the new products help. Like drinks and bath bombs and stuff, people see that come out on the market. They’re like, Oh, well, this can’t be too crazy if it’s a bath bomb.”

Cannabis was legalized in B.C. on October 17th, 2018, and the first cannabis store in Fort St John, Cannabis Corner, opened on October 11th, 2019, almost a year after legalization.

A little over three years later, B.C. has the third-highest number of legal cannabis retail stores and second-highest number of federal production licence holders in the country.

Danny Lepine, the owner of Cannabis Corner, believes that discussing the medical benefits of recreational cannabis would cut down on the negative thoughts towards the plants.

“People just need to be more aware of the medical benefits of [cannabis] because most of our elderly folks that come in here, they’re not coming in here looking to party,” said Lepine.

Lepine says that since edibles have been introduced into the legal market, he’s seen an increase in older cannabis customers.

According to, many individuals in B.C. use cannabis recreationally, medically, socially or to improve their overall quality of life.

A 2020 survey by Health Canada found that 27 per cent of Canadians have used cannabis in the past year.

Despite its legalization over three years ago, the stigma surrounding cannabis use remains.

A separate study from UBC found that those who use medical cannabis are often thought of as irresponsible “potheads” by many people, such as friends, family, and healthcare providers.

B.C. is currently developing programs for direct delivery and farm-gate sales, which will launch in 2022.

Report an error

Read our guiding principles

Thanks for reading! is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it – but we need your support. Give $10 a month to today and be the reason we can cover the next story. 

More stories you might like