Pubdate: Fri, 11 Apr 2014
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The London Free Press
Author: Hank Daniszewski


A London doctor opens a storefront for legal weed on Dundas

London has become the unlikely home of Canada's first storefront
one-stop pot shop.

Options Clinics Canada at 790 Dundas St. will assess patients and
dispense authorizations for them to buy medical marijuana online from
about 12 federally licensed commercial producers.

When it's delivered, patients will be able to pick up the pot at the
counter of the secure facility.

"I am fairly certain this is the first of its kind in Canada. I have
talked to a couple of (marijuana) producers and they weren't aware of
anything like this," said Dr. John Craven, owner/operator of the clinic.

In future, patients may be able to smoke the pot at lounges in the
building or in an outdoor area at the rear.

New Health Canada regulations which came into effect April 1
anticipated medical marijuana would be delivered by registered mail.
But pickup at a doctor's office is also permitted under the
regulations. Craven said there's a "huge pent-up demand" and he
already has 120 medical marijuana authorizations ready to go, based on
his own practice, and all his patients preferred pickup at the clinic.

Craven, associate director of the methadone clinic at 528 Dundas St.,
has spent 12 years dealing with people whose lives were ruined by
addiction to prescription pain killer oxycontin.

Craven said medical pot is safer than opiates but few, if any, London
doctors are willing to authorize use of medical marijuana.

"That's the niche we are going to fill . . . I've been convinced since
I was 16 of the medical benefits of marijuana and I was certainly
convinced when I worked with people in trouble with pain killers,"
said Craven, who has written a book about therapeutic uses of
marijuana called The Power of Pot.

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has cautioned doctors
about prescribing marijuana because of the lack of clinical trials and
uncertainty of doses.

But Craven said he "strongly disagrees" with the college's stance,
saying the risks of marijuana use have been exaggerated.

"There are many people considered recreational users of marijuana who
are using the product entirely for medicinal purposes and we intend to
welcome there here," he said.

Craven bought the building across from the Aeolian Hall in December
and immediately hired crews to do extensive renovations on two floors
to create a comfortable and secure interior.


The pot shop at 790 Dundas St., will also house Culture Rising, an
upscale shop with marijuana supplies such as pipes and vaporizers and
an art gallery featuring the classic comic book art of Londoner John
Sewell, a former oxycontin addict.

Owner Dr. John Craven said Culture Rising and the gallery will be open
this weekend and the clinic should open in seven to 10 days.

"We are welcoming cannabis culture to 790 Dundas St.," he said. 
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