Pubdate: Tue, 02 Feb 2016
Source: Metro (Halifax, CN NS)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Zane Woodford
Page: 4


Dispensary serving up Tasty Buds in Cole Harbour

At the municipality's newest medical marijuana dispensary, a mixture
of Nova Scotia-themed and marijuana-themed art hangs on the walls, and
the faint smell of fresh cannabis fills the air.

Patients sit in a waiting room that looks a lot like the one at the
dentist's office. When it's their turn, they go to the back of the
dispensary, and pick from a selection of different strains of dried
marijuana, hash, and edibles like marijuana-infused peanut butter cups
and suckers.

Tasty Buds on Cole Harbour Road opened its doors Monday morning, and
business was immediately steady.

"I just thought there was a need for it, and the current system we
have now just isn't providing what patients need," said owner Mal
McMeekin on Monday.

Before the system changed in 2014, patients had choices: they could
grow their own marijuana, have a licensed producer grow it for them,
or buy it from Health Canada for $5 a gram.

Now, patients have to buy their marijuana from licensed corporations,
typically by mail order.

McMeekin likens that to buying a T-shirt online: It might not fit, but
if you go to a store, you can try it on, and you know what you're getting.

"It's a tangible item: You can see it, you can touch it, you can smell
it, you can see if it's what you actually want and if it's gonna help
you out properly," he said.

McMeekin's product is grown by someone who had a licence before the
rules changed, and was grandfathered in.

But while the marijuana is grown legally, that doesn't quite make
McMeekin's operation legal. "We're in a grey area," he said.

"We feel that we're filling a void, and we're really helping people
out, and if consequences come our way, then they do."

For Farm Assists - a dispensary on Gottingen Street - those
consequences have been a couple of raids and arrests for the owners.

McMeekin thinks his shop is a little different. Tasty Buds, he said,
is more like a pharmacy, while at Farm Assists, patients also use
their medication. At Tasty Buds, you come in, get your medicine, and
use it at home.

In the absence of any guidelines for Halifax, McMeekin is following a
set implemented in Vancouver. That means strict security, and he'll
only be selling to people with licences, and not to minors.
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