The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary anniversary Meeting with Executive Director Dori Dempster

The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary 10th anniversary Meeting with Executive Director Dori Dempster

The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary was Vancouver’s third dispensary ever when it first opened the Hastings location back in October 2008.

Fast forward 10 years and so much has changed- there are hundreds of dispensaries all over town and recreational cannabis legalization is little more than a month off!

Cannabis Life Network talked to Dori Dempster, the Executive Director of The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary, in a wide-ranging interview about the changes she’s observed throughout this whirlwind decade of cannabis in Canada.

Dori also looks to the future as she tells us about what she sees as the next big battle for the cannabis community post-legalization, how medicinal cannabis is getting lost in all of the legalization hype, and the major flaws in the government’s cannabis distribution program.

Additionally, if you’re a supporter or member of The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary, be sure that you keep your calendars clear on Labour Day Monday because The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary’s 10th anniversary Annual Donation celebration is going down at Strathcona Park from 12pm-6pm.

How do you feel about reaching this milestone?

[Dori] I’m feeling extremely proud of us as a group of people who have come together for this important cause, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of love that has been shared with us from people sending in their congratulations.

I heard you’re planning something on the Labour Day weekend to celebrate. Can you tell me a little?

We have an annual picnic which has grown through the years to a celebration at Strathcona Park in the corner of Prior and Raymur.

Lunch is on us in this family-oriented celebration, and we’re also earning a great big load of fresh corn from the valley. We shuck the corn there and make it toasty and hot, and then we spread some cannabis butter we call it “Truly Baked Corn”.

We eat that with our burgers and other goodies and we simply distribute the blankets and have a picnic for our associates and our very hardworking staff for a day-off before college and work starts up again.

This year, in particular, we’re putting out a special welcome to anybody that feels that they ’ve worked towards ending Prohibition and ending the stigma because legalization is right around the corner.

medicinal cannabis dispensary tmcd

That sounds awesome. You put cannabis butter on the corn?

Yes, a crowd favorite. We always have a kiddie corn variant for those that don’t need to partake in the “rdquo & Truly Baked Corn;.

Like you mentioned, legalization is right around the corner. When you opened 10 years ago, did you think rsquo;d & we reach this stage?

A decade ago I was hoping that I might see legalization in my lifetime, so sitting here now and seeing how many dispensaries have opened and closed since then (and continue to start what seems like every single day), it’s been a really great ten years and now there ’s a lot to observe until we get back to work.

When The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary opened on Hastings St. in 2008, we were the third dispensary to start in Vancouver.

Once we opened our Thurlow location in 2010, we had been the city’s fourth storefront location. Since July 2010, hundreds have opened in Vancouver and across Canada.

Sure, there’s always been people selling cannabis, but as far as doing it in the open with actual storefront locations, business hours posted on the door, and a clear concept of what it is we’re doing- we really are the original dispensary model.

There’s been plenty of change since our dispensaries opened.

medicinal cannabis dispensary tmcd

Aside from legalization, what have been some of the greatest changes you’t seen in the previous decade?

Some of the greatest changes we’ve seen are the variety of products available to people.

Once we opened our first dispensary, we had a secure about 2 ft square that held all of the cannabis and money- there was a little cash box and only 3 types of cannabis. Now, our menu occasionally has that, and 30 or more varieties of cannabis ’s besides topicals all the hashes, edibles, capsules, oils, and tinctures – we have a Pet Division now with products for your pets!

Initially, we got a great deal of people which were already very knowledgeable about the compassion club system as we had been generally dealing with people who already knew how cannabis benefited them.

Nowour patients have shifted. We’re seeing a great deal of people of all backgrounds coming to us because they’ve heard from their neighbour about how cannabis helped them they’ve seen their grandma getting better after she’d began eating cookies with her friends, and they need to see for themselves whether it could help them feel better.

How can you see the cannabis landscape changing in the next 10 years?

I think things are going to change a good deal because we’re going through an uncertain time where fear has been evoked with people saying, “We need to close the dispensaries right now if we want any chance of having our dispensary open after legalization”, and that really concerns me because I see a good deal of people who would, all of a sudden, have to start trying to find a street dealer again to get their medicine.

Especially if you need something other than dried flower- if “your man ” doesn’t understand how to make it, you’re in distress.

I think it’s dangerous when we enact laws that force people to start making their medicine for themselves, especially when it comes to concentrates.

It’s best left to the people who understand what they’re doing because a sick person shouldn’t have to figure it out for themselves!

Will The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary combine the legal system?

We won’t be shutting our doors with the expectation that somebody will someday give us a license to do what we’ve been doing all along these past 10 years. The evidence is in and when Justice Phelan stated “ dispensaries are the heart of accessibility for patients that are medical ” and we heard that loud and clear.

We may pursue a location that will fit within the parameters of the recreational licensing system, but our present medicinal dispensaries will stay doing what they do, in the locations they are, to keep on serving our community.

The fight though is still far from over and there are a whole lot of things going on with legalization which are kind of problematic. What do you think will be the next big battle for the cannabis community?

I believe that the next big battle is figuring out how to control the edibles market because, under present regulations, they have essentially said that edibles are just not allowed- unless you know how to make your own brownies.

That in itself is problematic because people don’t necessarily understand how to make the brownies so that they consistently satisfy their needs week-to-week and batch-to-batch.

We also serve a huge group of people who just don’t have the abilities to produce a batch of brownies or can even manage a batch of brownies for that matter.

A lot of our customers are in scenarios with their housing where they should line up every night and need to have their bags checked, and they are not permitted to come in with drugs or food, which forces them into situations where they need to buy and consume their medicine daily.

That may make things expensive for people because they can’t get a bargain on things in a larger quantity just because they can’t afford to purchase it or lose much all at once if it gets discounted.

So regulation of the edibles market and making those products available to people is going to be a really big hurdle for lawmakers, but as far as the people go, we’ve got it figured out today!

We all know what to do with brownies and gummie bears and other edibles- normally, start low and go slow and make sure everybody is aware of what goods they’re consuming.

You also have to supervise your children and pets and ensure you keep your products in a safe location but remember that cannabis is not a dangerous product and there are a hundred things more dangerous in a home than cannabis will ever be.

One of the other biggest hurdles that I see is in teaching people and sifting through the propaganda and fear that’will be fed to everybody in the campaigns brought out by Health Canada and other “worried ” classes.

The ever-changing menu in the Thurlow location.

How do you feel about the government-run distribution of accredited producer-only cannabis?

What I think that will do is drive certain people to find a way to do get their cannabis without participate in that system because many people are extremely skeptical of anything run by the government generally.

Personally, I don’t see the authorities ’s version of taking new cannabis plant matter and making a centralized distribution hub functioning.

It works for liquor, sure, but ’s because everything’s stable and it’s in a jar.

With cannabis flower, we’re talking about a product that’s drying every moment it’s in a bag, so there’s constant evaporation and degradation, and even though it’s minimal, should you’re likely to say that a product has a certain degree of cannabinoids such as THC or CBD, then you need to be certain it still has those amounts in it if it gets to the customer.

From what I understand about the effectiveness tests performed on dried cannabis and the way that decarboxylation occurs, it’s a matter of how it’s stored, temperature, time, and the amount of light that can change those outcomes.

The item degrades quite quickly as far as smell and things proceed, but the government is regulating it to come in a bundle where people won’t even get the chance to find out whether it satisfies the senses!

That’s something which a good deal of people will miss about the recreational cannabis experience- being able to smell what you’re purchasing – because often it’s what the nose knows that assists the individual determine what their purchase is going to be.

medicinal cannabis dispensary tmcd

Do you believe medicinal cannabis is getting lost in all of the hype surrounding legalization?

They change the term “bud ” to “cannabis” and they change “medical marijuana-related usage ” to just “cannabis usage ”!

They broke “medical” right out because they realized they’d set up a system which only served medical patients and they needed to pay for themselves because recreational is right around the corner- but they harbor ’t left provisions for medical marijuana to be coated in at least one of these stores because everybody is expected to only transition to the legal recreational system.

I just read a doctor saying that he was pleased that we can “scrap the medical program entirely because it won’t be needed”.

I believe our services will become more essential to our members in this transitional phase because their needs aren’t being met in recreational stores.

So under legalization, it looks like medicinal cannabis will be subject to the very same taxes and markups and fees of recreational cannabis?

The prices will certainly be higher at recreational outlets because of the additional unnecessary warehousing and distribution expenses.

Sick people are already facing enough hurdles and additional taxes and fees can mean the difference between them being able to consume and medicate or simply eat.

Part of our attention will turn to teaching competent or capable members the benefits of growing their own crops under the medical program and providing for themselves where they could and then encouraging them to just share their abundance with those who can’t help themselves.

Do you have any updates on the Supreme Court test case?

Our landlord has received an order from the City of Vancouver saying that the city has discovered a medical marijuana dispensary in our Hastings location, and it was ordered closed within 2 weeks.

Our attorney reminded the city that this dispensary is involved in the test case in September regarding the location, and we harbor ’t really heard anything since.

So the Hastings store is open and it’s business as usual here.

Our Thurlow location has been issued a development permit and we are working with the architect and the building department so we can move on through to the licensing section.

Since then, COV changed it and the title of the bylaw & rsquo; s my understanding that the city department in charge of this is on hold until the national rules are developed and then they will adjust the bylaws.

Are there anything else you’d like to add?

I only want to remind everybody that on Labour Day Monday from 12pm-6pm in Strathcona Park is our 10th Anniversary Picnic Celebration.

The stores will be closed that day and reopen Tuesday at 10am when we’ll be kicking off a month of specials at the stores.

Thank you to all our members that made this day a reality. I’m honoured and grateful .

medicinal cannabis dispensary tmcd

Released at Wed, 29 Aug 2018 19:36:21 +0000

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