Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 2015
Source: Parksville Qualicum Beach News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Black Press
Author: Auren Ruvinsky


Education session planned for Friday at 7p.m. in downtown Parksville

Local and high-profile supporters of a medical marijuana dispensary in
Parksville call the police raid Thursday harassment and invite
supporters to an event tomorrow.

"I tried to do it legally, but it just didn't work out," said Donna
Johnson. She said she tried to go through the licencing system, but
the paperwork and finding a doctor to prescribe it "just became too

Instead she turned to the Nanaimo-based Phoenix Pain Management
Society, which opened a dispensary in downtown Parksville in January,
to help treat her fibromyalgia and two forms of arthritis.

She said she has since been able to ween herself off all her
heavy-duty prescription medications and considers herself a medical
marijuana patient, though she isn't licensed with Health Canada.

"I see this as a human rights issue," said concerned citizen Jo

She said she doesn't use marijuana but "freaked out after I heard
about the raid and contacted the mayor and all the councillors and the
police to complain. I think the timing was strategic, right before the
long weekend. Police are doing more harm than good."

"We can list all kinds of things that are illegal, but the laws are
going to change," she said, calling The NEWS to register her
dissatisfaction with her elected representatives.

"I just feel like this is harassment and I hope this will make it on
the agenda soon and people keep open minds. There's a lot of real
science about the medicinal effects."

It's not about the medical effects for everyone.

"Even if it just makes you feel good - we have pills for that, we have
pharmaceutical medicines to make you feel better - so how could that
degrade the use of a plant for the same effect?" marijuana activist
Marc Emery asked.

Emery spoke to The NEWS in support of Phoenix, saying he knows the
organizers and "I wish them well."

While Phoenix helps patients access marijuana for medical reasons,
Emery said the dispensary fight is the front line of the bigger battle
to legalize marijuana, stating "It'll be legal everywhere in the
Western World within five years."

"We rely on the police to make some busts because it brings needed
attention to the fact that it's still against the law and the law
should be changed," Emery said. "It's important for the police to go
ahead and do this and provoke the public because it keeps us
politically relevant, it keeps us motivated, feeling oppressed and
persecuted, which we are."

Emery said in some places, like Vancouver, police "have decided
marijuana is inevitably going to be legalized and so they're paving
the way for it to be done properly=C2=85 you have about 75 dispensaries
selling 30-40 different kinds of cannabinoids, and they're about to be
licensed by city hall, which would be the first city in North America
to essentially legalize marijuana on the local level by licensing all
the distribution outlets."

"The bottom line is everyone knows someone in their family who smokes
marijuana," he said, adding there isn't the same stigma as there was
30 years ago.

"Everybody talks about it now, you can't shut these pot people up,
they're everywhere and they're noisy and they're going to engage in
civil disobedience by opening up these dispensaries," he said, vowing
to keep fighting.

"We're going to keep doing it, that's our whole point."

Meanwhile the Oceanside RCMP detachment didn't respond to questions
about the timing of the raid last Thursday afternoon.

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre and the RCMP have been clear since
Phoenix opened in Parksville in January that distributing marijuana or
cannabis products is illegal.

Initially, society director Akil Pessoa said they were not
distributing in Parksville, but told The NEWS in February that they'd
started selling CBDs (cannabinoids, or cannabis based products).

There is a City of Parksville notice on the door at Phoenix that says
the property cannot be used in any way until it is officially
inspected and found to be safe, due to controlled substances having
been on the property.

The mayor and city officials said they didn't know anything about the
raid until after the fact, which is when the bylaw kicks in.

There is an education session at Phoenix's Parksville location, 120
Middleton Street, this Friday at 7 p.m. about childhood diseases and
how cannabis extracts are being used to treat conditions like
epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy and other issues. A guest speaker
will talk about cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system and childhood

People are asked to RSVP to  to reserve seats for
a $5 donation. They will also collect donations for the Owen Smith,
Neil Allard and Karl Mitchell defence funds.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt