Meet Andrea and Jeremy, long time members of CCEC who have opened a new business, The Village Dispensary, serving artisan coffee and teas* (not infused with cannabis) and a dispensary. Vancouver has had operational dispensaries for almost 20 years with the support of the municipal government and local police force. The City is a leader in this marketplace providing a framework for the rest of Canada to look to as the Federal Government has indicated its’ intent to move forward with legalization and regulation. Andrea and Jeremy call themselves cannabis consultants. Their dispensary promotes the value of the plant with products scientifically tested to deal effectively with chronic ailments such as cancer, MS and Parkinson’s Disease plus; plus a therapeutic stream to address sleep disorders, PMS, menopause, anxiety and other issues.
The Village Dispensary is a local business that sells products from ‘mom and pop shops’ including Apothecary Labs and Canna Life Botanicals. Andrea asserts that this is about a plant that has been used medicinally for over 9000 years and has been studied clinically by Dr. Raphael Mechuolam starting in 1964 and he was the first scientist to isolate THC from the plant in 1965, then discovered the endocannabinoid system in the early 80's. This is creating green jobs, growing our local economy, and feeding the local market. Both Andrea and Jeremy are very entrepreneurial. Andrea has owned Café du Soleil, Ragz n Rerunzz, earthbabies and was a partner in the baby carrier product, The Happy Sac; while Jeremy, a mechanical engineer, founded and operated a renewable energy contracting business called, exchangenergy inc. Andrea says, “As peri-menopause began to show its face, I was able to address some of the symptoms with cannabis.” She adds, “It is important that I am able to share that experience with other women and their partners. That is one of the reasons The Village was conceived." With this in mind, she also is involved with the local chapter of Women Grow Vancouver. Her partner, Jeremy, a chronic sufferer of back pain that is relieved with cannabis products says, “I'm excited to bring top shelf medical cannabis that both connoisseurs and the canna-curious can experience. BC hosts some of the most celebrated artisan growers and makers in the world and we want to see those growers thrive and grow.”
It is hard to pick up the paper or watch the news without seeing an article about medical cannabis. There are an estimated 300 dispensaries in Canada – Vancouver has the most with 100 which is double the number of Starbucks locations – and there are 26 licensed producers sanctioned by the government to grow and supply marijuana only by mail to people with medical prescriptions. In a recent Globe and Mail Article it is noted that provincial governments, health authorities and even the Supreme Court of Canada have affirmed that access is essentially a health issue. CCEC has agreed and provides banking services to some of these businesses.
The potential benefits are changing people’s views. They reference an article by the US National Cancer Institute stating that Cannabis kills cancer. Both Andrea and Jeremy say, “The medical profession should embrace cannabis as an institutionalized treatment in hospitals.” With all the research, the medical profession needs education on cannabis as a treatment regime. At this time, owners of cannabis dispensaries, like Andrea and Jeremy, are self-taught attending many expert lectures, reading, joining professional support groups, watching many documentaries and, knowing their growers. It is time we legitimized their business, formalized the training and education to de-stigmatize the weed, break down the barriers, myths and stereotypes.
* They sell CCEC member, Cease Wyss's products Raven and Hummmingbird teas, salves and tinctures