Pubdate: Sun, 15 May 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jenny Yuen with files by Terry Davidson
Page: 5


A west-end medicinal marijuana centre is asking the mayor for a little

True Compassion Toronto (TCT), a facility where "patients treat
patients" for chronic illnesses using cannabis, sent Mayor John Tory
an open invitation Friday for him to come tour the facilities and see
the community benefits before the city cracks down on the city's
growing number of pot dispensaries.

"We want him to see a compassion club rather than a dispensary," the
club's co-partner Rick Vrecic said Saturday. "Cannabis saved my life.
I was on a number of opiates before I discovered cannabis
approximately eight years ago. In that process, I was able to ween
myself off the painkillers completely four years ago."

True Compassion Toronto is a members-only club with clients who have a
prescription for medicinal marijuana. The centre services 20 to 50
people daily since opening in November. One of the members is a Second
World War veteran.

"Everybody here on the volunteer side is actually a member as well,"
Vrecic said.

On Thursday, Tory pushed for regulation of marijuana dispensaries and
other similar institutions and asked city staff to work with Toronto
Police "to address the health and safety concerns of neighbours and

Vrecic stressed he doesn't want compassion clubs to be lumped in with
dispensaries. He said TCT is "community based" and holds neighbourhood
clean-up events.

"We're here to provide a safe, dignified place for your medicine," he
said. "We wouldn't offer to smoke a bowl with John Tory because,
technically, he isn't a member and would break one of our rules of our
code of conduct. In light of everything that's going on, keeping an
open mind to things would be a wise thing. That's all we're asking."

Tory said Saturday during a media scrum, he would go to the centre if
his schedule permits.

"I'm certainly willing to listen," he said. "The very fact I went to a
medical marijuana dispensary last week and just asked a lot of
questions indicates my interest in knowing more about this.

"I just think what we're seeing now is something that goes way beyond
meeting the needs of genuine medical patients."

Meanwhile, a dispensary in Kensington Market, has temporarily closed
pending the city's review.
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