J. London: After Cannabis Changed His Life, Greg Lawson Wanted to Help Others

First, post-traumatic stress syndrome; then, cannabis; now—activism. Ben Kaplan breaks bread with Greg Lawson of J.London, 691 Richmond Street, London, Ontario.
  • BK: What makes you guys different from everyone else in the game?

    GL: We’re a culture within ourselves and our staff is just super special, extraordinary. Each staff member has the ability to create their own relationships with customers and know what each person wants and talks to them on a first name basis. It’s an amazing culture to be part of.

  • BK: You came into cannabis differently than a lot of the shop managers I’ve talked to.

    GL: What got me into cannabis was that four years ago I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and sought out help from my military family. It was my passion for the plant that brought me here today.

  • BK: How did you first try cannabis?

    GL: As a veteran, I was put in touch with Canada House, which helped people suffering from PTSD and teaching them about the effects of the plant. I tried that and found it worked for me and then really immersed myself in cannabis. I wanted to learn everything I could so I could in turn teach the medicinal properties to the world.

  • BK: So what brought you to the industry was...?

    GL: The passion I have for the plant brought me into the industry and I’m glad it did.

  • BK: Why’s that?

    GL: Cannabis saved my life. It helped with anxiety and just helped me find myself again. My doctor put me on antidepressants and my body didn't react properly. Well, I went off of them and used cannabis and really learned how to use cannabis properly. You don’t have to smoke it, and there’s all these different avenues for ways to ingest and it made my realize that it can help make you feel better, at least it did that for me.

  • BK: How so?

    GL: Everything, really. I slept better and felt more refreshed the next day. I didn’t get frustrated as easily. I just felt brand new.

  • BK: And you wanted to share what cannabis did for you with other people.

    GL: The government scrapped the original brick and mortar concept for government stores, but the gentleman who interviewed me turned out to be a consultant for the J Supply Company, the parent company of J London.

  • BK: You must have made quite the impression.

    GL: I think he must’ve felt my passion and when he asked me if I’d be interested, I told him: ‘More than you know.’ He put me in touch with the J Supply co founders and we quickly all saw that we shared the same passion. We all saw the future going in the same direction.

  • BK: What’s made you the happiest about the direction you chose?

    GL: One of the first days we opened, an elderly lady came into the store in a wheelchair and she could barely move her hand to work her joystick. She asked for CBD capsules and we gave her some options and made our suggestions. Two days later, she came back again and all her extremities were working. It was pretty powerful to see.

  • BK: What makes your budtenders special?

    GL: Everybody that works here is passionate about the industry and all have different strengths. It could be product knowledge or customer relationships, but we’re a really close-knit team and very well educated and that’s what’s important to me—everyone who comes into the store is treated respectfully; that’s what matters to me.

  • BK: What else matters to you?

    GL: I'm from London, Ontario. I grew up here. And it’s important to me that we add value to the businesses in the downtown core. My main goal is to be a responsible community member and help educate consumers. We don’t want people looking at cannabis in a negative light and we’re trying to erase the negative stigma attached to cannabis. People working in the industry have to be responsible, and do it with respect.