HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Duo Pushing For Pot Club
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: Harbour City Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Dustin Walker
Bookmark: (Lucas, Philippe)
Bookmark: (Canadian Marijuana Party)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


A group that provides marijuana to sick people hopes to expand into a
storefront location in downtown Nanaimo within a few weeks.

Local resident James Younger has been delivering pot on his bicycle to
about half a dozen chronically ill residents in the city for the past
few months, but has now partnered with Nanaimo marijuana activist
Richard Payne to expand and physically establish the Mid-Island
Compassion Society.

A downtown location would provide a source of safe, clean marijuana to
more medical users throughout the region who currently have to buy the
drug on the streets or travel to organizations in Victoria, such as
the Vancouver Island Compassion Club, that sell pot to patients, Payne

"It's gives us legitimacy, we're not a couple of drug dealers running
around and dealing drugs," said Payne, who ran as a candidate for the
B.C. Marijuana Party in the 2005 provincial election, and said his
connections with "growers" will help the expanded society succeed.

Payne said he was optimistic about negotiations for renting space
downtown, but wouldn't provide details until the deal was finalized.

In order to buy marijuana, patients would have to provide a doctor's
note stating that they have a medical condition that could be treated
by marijuana. Unlike some compassion clubs in Canada, the society
wouldn't require a doctor's recommendation for pot.

The government licenses people to use marijuana for certain illness,
but Payne said that many people are afraid to go this route for
privacy reasons and because it could limit their ability to travel
into the U.S.

At first, a minimal amount of marijuana would be stored on-site until
the group gauges the reaction of the RCMP.

But Payne stressed that the Compassion Society won't attract

"The people we're getting aren't gangster drug dealers," he said.
"We're going to show (the community) that we can be

Nanaimo RCMP weren't immediately available for comment.

Philippe Lucas, executive director of the Vancouver Island Compassion
Club, said that about 5% of their 750 members come from north of the
Malahat to buy pot for medical purposes.

"I'd be happy to have them honour the membership for our members in
order to save them the long trip down from Nanaimo," he said, adding
that many Canadian compassion clubs fail quickly due to operational

However, Lucas points out that the Victoria Club, which has been
operating for nine years, only allows membership if the patient has a
specific recommendation from a doctor for marijuana.

A second organization in Victoria, the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada,
only requires proof of illness.

"I understand that because of the reluctance of some members of the
medical establishment. . . that the simple proof of condition might be
enough to gain entry into a compassion club. We certainly see that in
other jurisdictions as well," said Lucas, who is also a graduate
research fellow with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin