First Medical marijuana dispensary opens in Burnaby, Canada

Burnaby’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened at 10  a.m. on April 15,  and so far, things are going well, according to  Metrotown Medicinal Society  director Britney Anne.  “It’s been great,” she said in a phone interview the afternoon it  opened.  “We’ve got five members so far.”  The society invited the Burnaby RCMP to the opening to address any  concerns  law enforcement might have, she said, but officers did not  attend.  But Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Brenda Gresiuk said compassion  clubs and  dispensaries aren’t legally entitled to sell marijuana  under Canadian law.  “To date, there’s no legal mechanism for that,” she said.

She would not comment on whether or not action would be taken by  the RCMP  against the dispensary.  Health Canada does not license such organizations to possess,  produce or  distribute marijuana for medical purposes, according to a  government press  release.  The release was put out last June and sent to the NOW this week in  response  to queries about the Burnaby dispensary by Olivia Caron, a  media relations  officer for Health Canada.  The federal Marihuana Medical Access Regulations only provide three  options  for individuals to obtain legal medical marijuana: access to  Health Canada’s  supply, obtaining a licence to produce it from  Health Canada, or obtaining a  licence from Health Canada to  designate someone to grow it on the individual’s  behalf.

A letter or document from a physician alone does not give legal   authorization for an individual to possess marijuana, the release  stressed.  The dispensary only accepts members who have a doctor’s  recommendation or  confirmation of a serious illness, which is in  line with other dispensaries in  B.C., Anne said.  “We aren’t selling to just anybody,” she said, but added that the  dispensary  has an unlimited capacity to serve any valid patients who  wish to apply. “We do  follow correct procedures.”  The society was originally looking at setting up shop in New  Westminster but  chose the Burnaby property at 4927 Kingsway based on  its central location and  proximity to the Metrotown SkyTrain  station, Anne said.

There are two dispensaries in Vancouver, but patients from  Coquitlam, New  Westminster, Surrey and other suburbs have difficulty  travelling that distance,  she explained.  “We serve a lot of disabled patients,” Anne said, adding that not  all of the  members are able to drive.  The Metrotown dispensary is the first to be located near a SkyTrain  line,  she said.  The society is considering expanding to New Westminster next, Anne  added.  Dana Larsen, who was a candidate in the recent B.C. New Democrat  leadership  race, is a director with the society and operates the  Vancouver Medical  Cannabis Dispensary with two locations in  Vancouver.  The first is in East Vancouver and the second opened about a year  ago in  Vancouver’s West End, he said.  “It’s gone very smoothly,” he said of the two dispensaries, adding  the  society serves about 3,000 patients.

The East Vancouver dispensary has a very good relationship with the  nearby  Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre, he said, and just received a  letter of thanks for  a food drive done on behalf of the centre.  Larsen is also on the board of a society that opened a dispensary  in Maple  Ridge, he said.  There, people were initially concerned about the effect the  dispensary might  have on a neighbourhood where drug crime had only  recently been reduced,  according to Larsen.  “Within a couple of weeks, we won our detractors over,” he said,  adding the  dispensary’s director is now a Block Watch captain in his  neighbourhood. “They  see how important we are to the community.”  He expects the same reception in Burnaby, he said.  The Metrotown Medicinal Society is located at 4927 Kingsway and is  open from  10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 11 a.m.  to 6 p.m. on  weekends.

via : burnabynow

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