OTTAWA — this is a marijuana medical shop newly opened at Ottawa, but the legality of this operations are still in process and in question to all natives.
The Greater Ottawa Health Advocacy Centre, is located in a Somerset Street in shared red brick building. They opened their business starting in July 2. The costumers were widely streaming because of the inconspicuously named store and via social marketers and social media.
Ryan Levis is the store manager of the certain shop and he has a strong belief that it will click to the market and it will be then the super selling product in the year.
The interior resembles
- That of a mini walk-in clinic:
- Chairs along one wall face a counter.
- No bongs or hookah pipes here.
When the Citizen visited, 22-year-old Bill was getting his first batch of marijuana from the store. He filled out a Health Canada form about his health, ailment, symptoms and self-prescribed usage, got a laminated membership card, and then went to a backroom to purchase his pot. He says he was surprised he didn’t need a note from his physician.
“I know we’re compliant with Health Canada standards,” Levis says.
Under the ministry’s provisions, people requiring marijuana for medical purposes need to apply for a ministry-issued Authorization to possess card or have a declaration signed by their physician.
In June, Health Canada began its transition from a system of allowing users to grow their own marijuana, to licensing producers to do so and sell it. The switch will take until March 2014 to complete.
Levis says he’s applied for a licence (none have been approved yet, according to the Health Canada website) and in the meantime is selling marijuana through the “compassion” system of pooling several approved medical marijuana users’ supplies. The shop is run as a non-profit.
Bill is one of the loyal costumers in Ottawa and He says that He trusted the drug quality of the shop.
The majority of his marijuana use is recreational that he admitted that despite on having some trouble in sleeping and the onset irritably bowel syndrome.
Levi says that he will allow not showing a certain health card because lot of people don’t have and can’t afford and even other physicians don’t allow prescribing them marijuana.
“I don’t believe in turning people away,” says Levis, who considers himself a “community health advocate.”
Levis major goal:
- To encourage harm reduction in educating people in using marijuana.
- to change that face of the Chinatown
- To treat more people
- going to be a whole lot more smiling faces here.
- To let buy marijuana without prescription of a physician
This encourages him due of his having a suicide background.
But the decision to open up the sales to anyone who walks in the door has landed Levis in hot water with a similar organization in British Columbia he says inspired the shop. In a matter of hours Wednesday, Levis told the Citizen the organization, which refused to be named, called him to say he was being removed as manager for not following Health Canada protocols. Soon thereafter, Levis says the organization’s representatives told him he was free to run the non-profit as he pleased, but severed its ties.
When contacted, someone from the B.C. organization, who also refused to be named, called the connection to the Ottawa shop “a lot of gossip” and promptly hung up the phone.
Health Canada was not available at press time to comment on the legality surrounding such operations. Eli El-Chantiry, city councillor and chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, says the police will only get involved if the business lacks the appropriate licence or if the buyers do not possess the required certification.
El-Chantiry prefaced his comments by saying the police knew very little about the centre: “They didn’t consult us. It’s not like they said, Mr. El-Chantiry, would you like to come cut the ribbon?”
Levis says he has concerns the shop might be shutdown by authorities, but stands by his practice of selling marijuana to anyone who says they are in need.
“In time, I think the police will see this as a strong community building endeavour.”