Legal pot might lead to more holistic living, Red Deer business owner

‘They’re going to learn to grow other foods’

New federal legislation legalizing marijuana could indirectly help lead people towards more sustainable and holistic living, a Red Deer business owner said Monday.

Dennies Vierboom and his wife Sharon own The Grow Zone, which specializes in hydroponic equipment and supplies. Hydroponics involves growing plants, such as vegetables, without soil. They also sell plants and non-GMO seeds and promote self-sufficiency.

Dennies, who grew up on a farm, said he had to stop working as a tradesman with three tickets when he was 52 years old because he became quite ill. He is licensed to use medical marijuana personally, and it’s something that helped him get better, he said.

“An orange won’t save your life. Cannabis won’t save your life. But everything combined will. It’s a symphony, not one instrument.”

After Vierboom became ill, he decided to start his small business so he could maybe make a few dollars, “and be in the store with his dog.”

It was after he was prescribed medical marijuana and it started to help him, that he started examining everything in his life, he said.

Now, about four years later, Vierboom said he has never been healthier. He started eating a lot of good food, to the point where his weight went from the 118 kg to 70 kg, and he no longer needed to take insulin for Type 1 diabetes.

The proposed federal legislation includes allowing adults to grow up to four marijuana plants at home for recreational use. People will also be able to buy small amounts from provincially regulated retailers. It is expected to be in place by July 1, 2018.

Vierboom said he has no intention of getting in the business of selling cannabis — he’s happy selling ivys and cactus plants.

However, people will want to grow their plants indoors and he does see it helping the kind of business he is in, he said. He’s noticed an increasing interest in marijuana for medical purposes.

“I’m already seeing it. Older people are coming in and asking about it and actually considering it. … “Five years ago that would have never happened, they would have been scared to.”

“When they start learning to grow that, they’re going to learn to grow other foods.”