Growing B.C. Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Industry Under Attack

There’s a constant flow of low-income people through the basement lobby of the nonprofit Eden Medicinal Society at the corner of East Pender and Main streets. After flashing compassion-club membership cards at the receptionist, these Downtown Eastside residents wait patiently before being buzzed through a locked door and into a spotless medical-cannabis dispensary. There’s not a whiff of marijuana in the air.

According to a report by Eden’s research coordinator and manager, Adolfo Gonzalez, there are approximately 2,500 members, with 250 being served each day. They have access to “a minimum of 40 strains of cannabis”—as well as superfoods, herbal remedies, and natural supplements—to help them cope with pain and other conditions.

“Right now, we’ve got the science behind us—not just the medical science,” Gonzalez tells the Georgia Straight during an interview in his office behind the dispensary. “We’ve got the social science behind us. We’re reducing crime rates. We’re reducing people consuming hard drugs and reducing their addiction to over-the-counter drugs as well.”

Dana Larsen, who manages the nonprofit Vancouver Dispensary Society, tells the Straight that there are more than 20 of these establishments in Vancouver. The first was the B.C. Compassion Club Society, which opened its doors in 1997. The Vancouver Dispensary Society, which has facilities near the corner of Thurlow and Davie streets and at 808 East Hastings Street, was created in 2008.

“After us, the floodgates opened, because we did it very publicly and openly,” Larsen says in an interview at the office of Sensible B.C.

– Read the entire article at The Georgia Straight.