Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 2001
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001, Coast Reporter
Author: Jane Seyd, Co-Editor
Bookmark: (Boje, Renee)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Hash, Bud, Brownies And Tinctures On Offer

Two Sunshine Coast marijuana advocates opened the doors to a storefront
operation in downtown Gibsons last week where they plan to sell pot to
people who are using it for medicinal purposes.

Sunshine Coast "kind," hash and marijuana laced cookies, brownies, tinctures
and oils are among the items that will be offered for sale at the Sunshine
Coast Compassion Club's new headquarters.

Lisa Kirkman, who has previously run as a candidate for the Marijuana Party,
and Renee Boje, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. on marijuana
cultivation charges, opened their "dispensary" Oct. 22 in a commercially
zoned house opposite the yacht club.

The local "compassion club" which the two women plan to run as a non profit
society is modelled on similar operations in Vancouver and Victoria.

Kirkman and Boje acknowledge what they're doing isn't legal.

But when it comes to medicinal use, there's more of a "general tolerance"
for marijuana, says Kirkman.

Currently the club is providing pot to about a dozen clients, most of whom
are elderly, through visits to their homes.

Kirkman says there's a need for the Compassion Club.

"Right now, patients don't have a way to get medicinal marijuana," she says.
And even when patients buy from dealers, "you don't even know what you're

Several local people with serious illnesses are applying to the federal
government for medical exemptions which are being granted to Canada's drug
laws, But that process is long and cumbersome, says Kirkman. And for those
who are successful "they don't provide you with a way to get it."

AIDS/HIV, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, chronic
fatigue syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder are among the medical
conditions afflicting members of the club who use pot to help alleviate
their symptoms.

The club has an application process, which involves a written acknowledgment
from the individual's doctor that a medical condition exists, that the
patient is using pot and that it will not harm that person.

A final decision on whether to accept someone into the pot-buying club is
made by Kirkman and Boje, who have yet to turn anybody down. Kirkman
anticipates having up to 50 members by the end of the year.

Elizabeth Shaw of West Sechelt is among the kind of pot users the club wants
to supply.

Shaw 54, has been bedridden with multiple sclerosis for the last six years.
Attached to her bed, where she can reach it easily, is a bottle of pills
containing the synthetically produced version of THC - the active ingredient
in marijuana, for which she has a doctors prescription, "but I just know I'd
rather smoke it than pop a pill," says Shaw.

Shaw has been smoking marijuana for years, and finds the drug helps
alleviate the pain associated with her illness. It also helps her cope
mentally with her condition, she says.

"It helps fill in the time. It's better to be stoned than straight when you
have to lie here."

Shaw says her doctor has been attempting to get a medical exemption for her
pot use from the government, but "that didn't come through before the cops

Sechelt police recently seized five pot plants growing in windows and under
skylights in the Shaws' home after receiving a complaint from a neighbour.

"The average medicinal pot smoker uses about an ounce of pot per month,"
says Kirkman, so the club anticipates selling anywhere from 12 to 50 ounces
a month. The club plans to sell their medicinal pot for about $220 an ounce.

Most of their pot sold will be locally grown.

"There's no need to go anywhere else," says Kirkman. "It's a well known fact
the Sunshine Coast is a major growing community."

Kirkman and Boje say they aren't trying to hide what they're doing. Both
their landlord and the police have been told about the dub.

"I've been fairly open about it," says Kirkman. "I'm hoping we can give them
confidence when they see we're not running a flop house here."

Staff Sgt. Ed Hill of the Gibsons RCMP detachment said now that the
medicinal marijuana club is up and running, he will be checking into the
legal status of what they're doing.

"The police will act on and enforce the law when we become aware a law is
being broken," said Hill.

"Up until now it's been so much talk. Now it is a reality in our community."

Hill said if there are complaints about the operation, "I'd go to the town
and say they have a business problem."

Gibsons mayor Barry Janyk said the club "does present some interesting
issues for the town."

"If it's for medical purposes, I have no stringent objections," he said.

"As long as it's not a scam, I'm open to new ideas."

The biggest worries from residents are likely to be about the potential
impact an young people, said Janyk.

"If it can be discreet and truly for the purpose for which it was
established, that's one thing. If it becomes a haven for young people who
are trying to score dope, I'd have some concerns."
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