After low points of pot prohibition, legalization day 'surreal' for Yellowknife activist
Cannabis consultant weighs in on her journey before legalization
Nearly a decade after having her children taken from her and spending time in a jail cell, a Yellowknife woman is calling cannabis legalization "surreal."
In 2009, Kim MacNearney and her husband Craig were arrested after police received an anonymous tip the two were operating a grow-op out of their home.
MacNearney has a history of spine and back pain, and said that the couple began growing medicinal cannabis to help her cope with the ailments
While they were arrested, the two had their children taken from them by child and family services for two weeks, what she described as her "lowest point."
However, this week, MacNearney was one of the first people in line to purchase cannabis in Yellowknife on legalization day, with a smile on her face and a successful consulting business.
"A bit of a dream, to be honest," she said, describing her feelings in the store for the first time. "It was just overwhelming... I couldn't believe it was happening.
"It seemed like such a long ways away. It didn't seem possible. But here we are."
A fresh start
"Sometimes life presents you with a situation and you need to pick it up and carry it and be it, champion it I guess," she said. "The public shaming and shunning that happened subsequent to that it's all pretty... it's a pretty tough swallow at the beginning."
When asked Wednesday if legalization justified her ordeal, MacNearney said "I think it does.
"All along, it's been patients that have been pushing from the medical side," she said. "We all, who were in that wave, took hits. There was lots of trauma and lots of incidents for all of us.
"But collectively, I think the country, and eventually the world needs to move to the lack of prohibition... and I feel the sacrifice was worth it in the end."
MacNearney has since started Beyond 420, a cannabis consulting business which helps customers find the strains of cannabis that best suit their needs.
MacNearney said she's now really looking forward to seeing the progression of legalization — and continuing to fight back against the stigma associated with cannabis.
"We're moving forward into some truth," she said. "Regardless of the wrinkles that are going to come and the challenges that may come... this is an amazing first step forward.
"People are expecting these mad, crazy stoners wandering around the streets everywhere smoking foot-long joints... but people are just excited to be able to come out of their house and know there's no risk of being arrested."
"There's some chuckling, and complaints, and concerns, but at the end of the day, we're moving forward out of the darkness of prohibition."
With files from Loren McGinnis, Juanita Taylor