A medical marijuana user was turned away from an Ottawa Loblaw store, after a cashier refused to sell her beer, because the cashier said the customer smelled like cannabis.
Christie Southward uses marijuana for back pain and anxiety, but she had not been using when she went shopping at the McArthur Avenue Loblaw this week.
“At first I thought he was joking and he was very serious”, Southward told CTV Ottawa.
“I was getting my groceries, and when it came to my alcohol, the cashier stopped and said he will not sell it to me because I smelled like pot”, she said.
Southward says she had not used marijuana that day, and believes the cashier smelled it on her jacket.
“I was hurt, I was embarrassed. I shouldn’t have to talk with strangers about my medication. I was so angry I felt like crying”, she said.
Southward asked to speak with a supervisor and a manager who refused to override the cashier’s judgement.
In a statement, Loblaw defended the cashier’s decision.
“Colleagues who handle and sell alcohol in our stores are Smart Serve trained and, as such, are prohibited from selling alcohol to intoxicated individuals or those showing signs of intoxication. We trust our colleagues to exercise discretion in the interest of public safety.”
Southward understands Smart Serve training and supports it, but insists she was not impaired.
“I had to explain to a manager that I am a chronic pain patient, I have a license to smoke. I’m sure if it happened to me it’s going to happen to other people”, said Southward.