Patrick Vrolyk, also known as Red Beard, repairs the antler on a bong he had previously made. He is one of the few licensed marijuana accessories distributors in the area. Jordyn Thomson/Western News.

Going legal: Meet Red Beard, your bong maker

Patrick Vrolyk is an Okanagan-based glassblower who specializes in handmade pipes and bongs

Cannabis producers and distributors weren’t the only business affected by legalization.

Patrick Vrolyk, otherwise known as Red Beard, is an Okanagan-based glassblower and owns one of the only licensed cannabis accessories business in the area.

He said he “made sure he got his licensing in order” to legitimize his business on Oct. 17 when recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada.

“I have hadn’t had a ‘real’ day job in about 15 years, I’ve been supporting myself (and my sons) with glassblowing,” said Vrolyk. “It turned from a hobby to a business.”

This means that once dispensaries in the area are able to open, he can sell his merchandise through these shops.

Related: Legal pot shops in the South Okanagan still months in the future

Vrolyk often jokes with his customers that he “started making a few flower vases, but when you pop a hole in it, now it’s a bong and you get twice as much for it.”

In actuality, he and a friend picked up the craft in 1996 after experiencing the Grateful Dead tour.

“I just happened to be gifted in that nature I guess, I picked it up right away,” said Vrolyk. “My first pieces were sellable and looked good. Other people learned slower and have many pieces that they can’t sell.”

Now he crafts handmade pipes and bongs, some so intricate and elaborate they can sell for upwards of $1,000.

Vrolyk said glass is often a preferred option for cannabis users in terms of safety and efficiency.

“Papers can be grown with pesticides, plus you’re smoking the paper so that’s another substance that’s (entering your lungs) along with the cannabis,” said Vrolyk. “With glass, it is inert so you’re only smoking what’s in the bowl of the glass.”

Related: Don’t be dazed and confused about cannabis legalization

Vrolyk operates his business, Red Beard Glass, from a home studio with his own kiln. He anticipates he’ll only get more busy now that recreational cannabis is legalized since people that “waited for (pot) to be legal” may look to current users and experiment for themselves.

“There’s only going to be more exposure … (these people) might go try it,” said Vrolyk.

“It’s not against the law now and people are realizing it’s not the devil lettuce as they were taught.”

He does believe there is still work to be done though to erase the stigma around cannabis use that has long been in place.

“It will be a very slow thing to change I think.

It’s just the nature of society, I think stigma exists against so many things,” said Vrolyk. “But it must change. We just have to re-educate the public.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter

JordynThomson

Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Day one of Hometown Hockey in West Kelowna

Special guests, music, games, and free pizza! Hometown Hockey countinues on Sunday.

Women’s March draws small crowd in Kelowna

The small, but passionate, group marched along Water Street Saturday

UBCO Heat men’s and women’s basketball squads bounce over MacEwan

The women got their first win of the season, while the men keep their playoff hopes alive

Surrey man fined $10,000 by Kelowna’s Provincial Court

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

West Kelowna Warriors fall short to Vernon

The Warriors lost 1-0 in the hard fought battle

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read