HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Compassion Club Seeks Expansion
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Dustin Walker, Canwest News Service
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)


Nanaimo Group Hopes to Secure a Downtown Location to Provide 
Marijuana to Medical Users Across the Region.

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

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 establish the Mid-Island Compassion Society.

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

"It 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 to rent space 
downtown, but wouldn't provide further details until the deal was finalized.

In order to buy marijuana, patients would have to provide a doctor's 
note stating 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 many people are afraid to go this route for privacy 
reasons and because it could limit their ability to travel into the U.S.

Payne said initially a minimal amount of marijuana would be stored 
on-site until the group gauges the reaction of the RCMP.

But he stressed the Compassion Society won't attract crime.

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

Nanaimo RCMP weren't immediately available for comment.

Philippe Lucas, executive director of the Vancouver Island Compassion 
Club, said about five per cent of its 750 members come from north of 
the Malahat to buy pot for medical purposes.

"I'd be happy to save them the long trip from Nanaimo," he said, 
adding many Canadian compassion clubs fail quickly due to operational 

However, Lucas points out 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. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake