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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A group of individuals in Fort St. John are trying to raise awareness about medical marijuana in the community.

‘The Giving Tree’ says their mission state is ‘to provide Fort St. John residents with a safe and effective alternative medicine’.

The team currently consists of three members: Marlo Andrews, Cole Andrews and Dan Daley.

The group says they have identified the opportunity to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the City. They say that they want to help provide alternative options to those who may need narcotics or other drugs that can become addictive.

“We want to operate with full transparency and with all the RCMP’s concerns fully addressed.”

They say they would provide compassion pricing (low cost pricing) for those going through chemo therapy or that are suffering from a terminal illness.

The dispensary would also act as an education centre for medical marijuana with the group providing literature and consults to everyone.

The Giving Tree has listed four key points when it comes to a harm reduction plan.

  • Prevent sales to minors
    • Two pieces of ID would be required to enter the store
    • Willing to cooperate with the RCMP as to who they can sell to
    • Members will sign forms prohibiting them from reselling the product
  • Prevent the accidental consumption of adulterants
    • All product sold at The Giving Tree would be sourced from licensed growers
    • All product sold at The Giving Tree will have strain name, price, amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)
    • Patients will be assured that the product they are purchasing is safe and has not been contaminated with other drugs or chemicals
  • Block criminal element from profit
    • The Giving Tree will decrease black market sales in Fort St. John
    • Patients will no longer have to deal with the criminal element while purchasing product
    • The Giving Tree will work with the RCMP to provide information on any suspicious activity
    • The Giving Tree will offer full disclosure of business practices to the RCMP
  • Prevent sales to problematic users
    • The Giving Tree will screen patients to ensure they don’t have a medical history that conflicts with the medical use of marijuana
    • Memberships will only be issued to patients who meet prescreening criteria

The Giving Tree says they will help identify systems and recommend the appropriate medicine for their condition. Once a patient and their symptoms have been identified and deemed treatable with medical marijuana, they will be issued a membership card. The group has listed the following conditions that memberships would be issued for.

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s
  • PTSD
  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Epilepsy/Seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anorexia
  • Cancer Remission

The group is identifying community mindfulness as a crucial part of The Giving Tree, they have listed the following areas as the most important:

  • Protect young Fort St. John residents by keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth
  • Keep profits out of the hands of criminals, particularly organized crime
  • To reduce burdens on police and the justice system associated with simple possession of cannabis offences
  • To benefit the community by contributing to charity campaigns
  • To create job oppurtunities within the community
  • Ensure residents are well-informed through sustained and appropriate public health campaigns and for youth in particular, ensuring that risks are understood
  • Establish and enforce a strict system of production, distribution and sales, taking a public health approach with regulation of quality and safety (child proof packaging, warning labels)

The group will be appearing before Fort St. John City Council on March 13 to go over their plan and what the dispensary would give to the City. The group believes that with the current drug overdose crisis happening in B.C. and also around the country, that this could help cut down on deaths and overdoses.

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