Pubdate: Thu, 06 Jun 2013
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: Cathryn Atkinson


Company Has Refined Medical Marijuana Coffee Shop Concept

Ross's Gold is taking shape. The medical marijuana-coffee shop 
franchise planned by Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Ross 
Rebagliati, is developing slowly and carefully, said Rebagliati's 
business partner.

"We came out of the gates in January really quite unplanned and were 
crushed by media requests," Patrick Smyth of Ocean Eclipse Venture 
Capital said.

"Since then, we've developed the business model and branding per se. 
It has changed significantly. Originally, we thought we'd be able to 
be a dispensary. We cannot be a dispensary."

Smyth said they would create coffee shops in Whistler, Vancouver and 
beyond; if all goes well, the resort's first location will open this summer.

Ross's Gold has raised start-up capital and planned a storefront with 
a design concept incorporating a retail area, coffee bar, vapour 
lounge and a medical clinic. In terms of the latter, Smyth said the 
goal is to eventually serve people who meet prescription 
qualifications for medical marijuana.

"We cannot sell or distribute it. Our goal is to have people come in 
who are healthy enough to make the choice and meet the prescription 
qualifications, we'll get their prescription and then we'll recommend 
where they can buy some and then buy it directly from licensed 
producers and it will get shipped by Canada Post in the next day or 
two days," he explained.

This, he said, was "perfectly legal."

One innovation is for the company to look at creating a branded 
strain of medical marijuana called Ross's Gold.

"(It could be different strengths,) Ross's gold, silver or bronze - 
like Tylenol Extra Strength," Smyth said, but added it would depend 
on legal constraints. To this end, they had been speaking to growers 
with both farming and hot-house scientific experience.

They also have a letter of intent from a hedge fund in Britain and 
once this arrangement is finalized they "will be able to sit down and 
negotiate leases."

"We've developed relationships with product suppliers, we've actually 
have products sitting in Whistler ready to sell, sitting on a shelf. 
So we've done a lot of that," Smyth said.

"We want to have our design ready because we've had a lot of 
expressions of interest from people who want to license and brand our stores."

He said that some doctors have expressed an interest in becoming involved.

"That's the ultimate vision. Then we hope that one day down the line 
the medical clinic would one day become a dispensary, but only when 
we're allowed to do that. I'm sure the laws will change one day," Smyth said.

The Harper government is wedded to current policy of privatizing the 
supply of medical marijuana, due to take place in 2014. Health Canada 
forecasts medical marijuana users to grow from 26,000 currently to 
300,000 in the next decade, creating an industry worth $5 billion.

Smyth said they hadn't approached the Resort Municipality of Whistler 
or the RCMP.

"We haven't approached anyone there, we did speak to one councillor 
and he said it sounds like (concerns would be) a bylaw thing," Smyth 
said. "Looking at a Vancouver location, we did approach the Vancouver 
Police Department and they said it was a bylaw issue. We're putting 
our feelers out there, getting responses. The big thing is that we 
want to make sure there is understanding, that everything has to be compliant."

Ross's Gold's plans come as former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively 
announced his intention to create a U.S.-based and eventually 
international marijuana brand, using cannabis imported legally from Mexico.

His company, Diego Pellicer Inc., would be based in Seattle and 
targeted at social and medical marijuana users in the Washington 
State and Colorado, states which recently decriminalized cannabis 
use, in hope of expansion to other markets as they legalize, 
according to the BBC. Shively also plans to bring in former Mexican 
president Vincente Fox as a partner.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom