A medical marijuana dispensary in Maple Ridge passes on information about how to use pot to help manage medical conditions.
Michael Joinson, founder and president of The Always Growing Green Society (TAGGS) medical marijuana dispensary in Maple Ridge, said the society provides their members with a wide-range of information about cannabis and he doesn’t think Health Canada’s proposed changes to pot dispensing rules will allow those who use it for health reasons to get the right kind of information.
Proposed new regulations announced Sunday remove Health Canada from the application process, and instead require health-care practitioners to write the equivalent of a prescription that must then be filled by a licensed commercial producer.
Subsequently, producers will have to get licences to produce and sell the marijuana in an appropriately zoned industrial or agricultural area.
After the changes announced by Health Canada on Sunday, Joinson said he doesn’t think a licensed commercial producer would necessarily provide the in-depth knowledge to help use cannabis as a medical product, for example, whether it should be eaten, smoked, used topically or as a tincture, and what different strains to use.
“Just because you are a gardener, it doesn’t mean you know how to use cannabis medically,” Joinson said.
Much of the work they do at TAGGS is educating members of the society on the difference between recreational use and medical use of marijuana, and teaching them the proper way of using it medically.
“They don’t just come to pick it [cannabis] up but because of the knowledge,” Joinson said. This information has come from years of experience, he added.
People who use medical marijuana can be weaned off stronger pharmaceuticals, Joinson said, for example, he was using morphine to manage chronic back pain, but he doesn’t any more because he has found the right type of cannabis to use.
Joinson is unsure whether the marijuana dispensaries will take part in the public consultation process announced by the minister.
“The feeling is they don’t want to hear from us,” he said, adding that the society’s biggest battle is the stigma surrounding marijuana.
As the president of a medical marijuana dispensary, “people will take what I say with a grain of salt because of what I do,” Joinson said. But the members can attest to how cannabis is helping them, he added.