Marijuana Club Butts Heads in Montreal

The Montreal borough of Lachine says it’s doing everything in its power to discourage a medical marijuana supplier from operating in the area.

Since it began operating earlier this year, the Culture 420 “compassion club” has been causing problems for people living in the area, says Coun. Jane Cowell-Poitras.

“We’re getting complaints and we’re speaking to people on almost a daily basis,” she said in an interview CBC Radio.

The borough has been working with the City of Montreal’s legal department to look at ways of shutting down the club, Cowell-Poitras said.

“I think, for all of us, if it was purely on the basis of compassion and legal medical marijuana, none of us would have a problem with this. But it seems to me that very healthy-looking young people are bouncing in and out of that place on a regular basis and they certainly don’t look to me like they have any medical problems.”

Club on defensive

“I wasn’t aware that I lived in a city where our city councillors also claimed the ability to judge medical requirements by a simple glance,” said club co-founder Gary Webber.

Webber said all clients of the club have a medical requirement and meet standards set by Health Canada and the Supreme Court to use medical marijuana.

However, he acknowledged that unexpectedly high demand created a parking problem at the club’s 15th Avenue location.

Webber said the club has hired parking attendants to make sure clients use the municipal parking lot, rather than parking in front of neighbouring driveways. The club plans to move to a larger location in Lachine in a few weeks, he added.

Not everyone in the neighbourhood opposes the club, he said.

“Our relationship is mixed because there are many members of the community, the borough, the police who are very happy that we are here, who believe that we’re doing a really good service.”

Borough fights back

“We’ve been certainly doing absolutely everything within in our power to make life difficult for this particular organization, ” said Cowell-Poitras.

Montreal’s other compassion club operates in the borough of Plateau Mont-Royal.

City police raided that club in 2000. But when the case went to trial, a judge ruled it was unconstitutional to deny people an opportunity to get marijuana after saying they can use the drug for medical reasons.

Given the outcome of that case, Cowell-Poitras said, the borough wants to be cautious in taking any legal action.

In the meantime, the borough has sent Culture 420 a registered letter warning that it is operating illegally since it doesn’t have a business permit.

The Lachine club was the focus of public attention in March after Webber was the victim of a home invasion. Thieves took only his laptop computer and the keys to the club.

– Article from CBC News.



  1. Matt Sullivan on

    IM a member of 420 lachine, and they are helping my pain so much, iv been working, sleeping, and eating so much better since i started smoking there cannabis. my fingers, knees, most of my joints and muscles would lock cramp up from work(Renovation) now i have so much less pain, listen i wont lie about it and say I’ve got no paint but significantly less, plus what i find is the best part of all this is that i don’t have to go buy pot illegally and worry about getting a ticket or even having neighbors see me purchase it, however most importantly is that this cannabis is purely therapeutic which means no harmful chemicals i think that’s why i works better for my specific problems. One more thing,i cant say for everyone else at the club but I’m only 23 years old and i really do suffer from chronic pain, so don’t think just because not all the members are 60+ that its all a big scam, cannabis is used for many diseases not only glaucoma, cancer and other diseases which most people associate medical marijuana. if you don’t know about cannabis than mind your own business and don’t assume the worst of people you never met…


  2. Anonymous on

    First you complain that the place is dirty and dusty, then you complain that clients are kept waiting outside because the staff is cleaning up.

    “Staff” at many compassion clubs are volunteers, not paid employees. They are non-profit organizations.

    They are on the internet and their rules are stated on the net…

    therefore no one “forced you” to waste your time going there. I think you were hoping that if you went there in person you could get marijuana without the appropriate paperwork thereby “proving” that they were operating illegally.

    I think you are a disgrunted local, not a valid medical user of marijuana.

  3. Anonymous on

    After having become a member of this compassion club, and having spoken with other members, I can say your problem was unique and rare. The employees focus on providing medical users with quality product and a warm, welcoming and secure environment. The club has consistently been open on time and ready to serve at their advertised hours.

    The club has strict rules about membership and about going in for the explanation of membership rules; I have overheard them turn down far more than just one person on the phone. By going in to the club for the membership information they are able to verify your age and demeanor in person; furthermore, they are able to do so BEFORE someone underage or unqualified shows up with all the forms prepared to be turned away bitter. This process is them doing everything in their power to strictly AVOID the types of complaints found in this news story and your own, rather bitter, comment.

    I do, also, find it quite ironic that you feel angry and shunned for being turned away for your “much needed marijuana” but are quick to level accusations about the individuals you briefly observed in line.
    Perhaps if and when you ever legitimately need marijuana for a valid medical reason you will be more forgiving of the appearances of other medical smokers. Many medical users are thankful for and benefiting from a comparatively rare service.
    I hope that if you are genuinely upset and vindictive enough to file a complaint with the police that you face your own prosecution for unlawful consumption of cannabis with a quiet dignity.

  4. Anonymous on

    Someone who suffers from depression or anxiety would not appear sick on the outside, but marijuana is useful for these conditions as well. To say that they “look” perfectly healthy is just ridiculous.

    If this club is really as sketchy as you say, then I hope it gets closed because it gives all dispensaries a bad image. If not though, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t continue to assist sick people access medicine.

  5. Anonymous on

    Something tells me you wouldn’t be so uppity if this was the only compassion club around.

  6. Anonymous on

    If someone uses cannabis to successfully treat their symptoms, they wouldn’t look sick, would they? Not to mention all the diseases that are invisible.

  7. Anonymous on

    For having paid a visit at this outlet, I do hope that the city of Lachine close down this outlet as soon as possible.
    The place is dusty and looks more like a pig sty than a medical marijuana outlet.They are not even able to respect their opening hours and the employees seem more concerned about cleaning the dirty and dusty carpet than to take care of the clients waiting outside in the cold.With this kind of outlet the future of medical marijuana in Montreal seems to be very bleak.
    I wonder why they insisted me to come over to explain the membership rules which must include a signed affidavit attached to the application form when they could have easily told me that over the phone in 5 minutes. Instead, they made meI waste my saturday morning driving for 1 hour there and I returned home empty handed with much needed marijuana.
    My rating for this club : 0 out of 10 and will not be returning.
    Also most of people waiting in line did not seem to require medical marijuana but look like healthy young people or dope peddlers just going there to buy dope. I will file a complaint to the police and do hope they close for good !

  8. Anonymous on

    Why cant we all just agree that cannabis is useful and good for us; skip all this medical process crap and just legalize A PLANT.

  9. Anonymous on

    I live in Montreal and the mentality here regarding marijuana is that of people having an IQ smaller than 10. Not much to hope from such a retarded community. Shame on you Montreal ! and stop venting your frustrations on people who use marijuana for med reasons ! and keep on swallowing your 10 big pharma pills every day and smoking your crack montreal !