CANNABIS CULTURE – Burnaby’s first medical marijuana provider is now open for business, and directors say they’ve been given the green light by local authorities.
The Metrotown Medicinal Society (MMS) opened its doors on April 15 at 4927 Kingsway, just across the street from the Metrotown shopping complex, and operators of the cannabis dispensary say they’ve received a positive response from local police and the Mayor in private meetings.
“The RCMP have stopped by,” MMS Director Britney Anne told Cannabis Culture. “A constable showed up to check the place out and see how it all works, and he was very friendly. He came in, gave us his card, and we haven’t heard anything since.”
MMS Director Dana Larsen and liaison Jacob Hunter met with Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan in May to discuss the new dispensary and said they were pleased with his response.
“The Mayor met with us at our request and I think it went quite well,” Hunter told CC. “He wanted to get the low-down on how compassion clubs work, and wanted to make there wasn’t going to be any activity going on there that would delegitimize the dispensary. Really just making sure we were on the up and up. He afterwards introduced us to a very friendly city councilor who was quite supportive of compassion clubs.”
The Metrotown Medicinal Society is one of a fast growing list of medical marijuana dispensaries located in and around Vancouver. MedPotNow, another dispensary located at 4170 Fraser Street that opened its doors last week, makes a total of 10 in the Greater Vancouver area.
Though medical marijuana dispensaries are not officially licenced by Health Canada and are technically illegal, recent court cases and acceptance by local authorities have put them in a kind of grey area. Compassion clubs have been operating successfully across Canada for over a decade with little interference from authorities.
Just this week, several medical marijuana dispensaries from across the country came together to established the Canadian Association of Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD), a group that hopes to unite the existing network of dispensaries under one set of self-imposed regulations.
“Medical Marijuana Dispensaries are protected under court decisions, but there is no legislative or regulatory framework for us to follow”, said Larsen, who is also a founding director of CAMCD as well as the manager and director of the Vancouver Medical Cannabis Dispensary. “What we have now is a patchwork of self-imposed regulations. The goal of CAMCD is to create a common set of regulations so that dispensaries are operating in the same way, and to make it easier for patients to access the services of any dispensary in Canada.”
Reaction from Burnaby authorities is in stark contrast to recent moves by the City of Surrey to place new restrictions on Health Canada licensed medical marijuana patients and growers forcing them to register with the city or face criminal prosecution.
“We’re thrilled we’ve received such a positive response from the community,” Anne said. “The whole point of us being here is to help the community, so it is working out well.”
MMS Organizers say the location, close to the Skytrain line, is a midway point for people who live in the Greater Vancouver area and don’t (or can’t) travel the distance to other dispensaries further away.
“Going all the way downtown into Vancouver may be hard for some of the patients,” director Ryan Steplock told CC, “because some of them can’t move or generally don’t like to leave there house because it is hard for them. Being in the community has helped out that way.”
Watch a video of the Metrotown Medicinal Society shot and edited by Cannabis Culture: