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Ep.150: Hilary Black, Dieter MacPherson, John Fowler, Lift Expo Panel

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.150: Hilary Black, Dieter MacPherson, John Fowler, Lift Expo Panel

Ep.150: Hilary Black, Dieter MacPherson, John Fowler, Lift Expo Panel

No matter your opinion on Project Claudia- the Toronto dispensary raids from this past week, we most likely all agree that safe patient access is paramount.
Unlike Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia, Toronto does have a regulatory framework for it’s dispensaries.  And as you might know, the federal regulatory framework (MMPR) does not account for dispensaries.  Thus the Toronto dispensaries are in a legal limbo which isn’t necessarily grey.  So we had perfect timing with the Lift Cannabis Expo Roots panel recorded live last week just after the raids.  We discussed BCCCS’s upstart, MMAR (Marijuana Medical Access Regulations) and MMPR (Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations).  We also discussed the upcoming re-write of MMPR in August, what to make of the raids, and what how to take action in support of legal cannabis in Canada.  Special thanks to David Brown at Lift for pulling the whole thing together.  And as a bonus, Jeannette Ward opens with an MCBA update.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Episode 150,

Speaker 2: but first we're going to talk to net ward. You remember Gen network from episode 133. I'm not minority cannabis business association has some information on some networking rallies that are happening in Portland and Oakland. Hopefully if you are in one of those cities you can, you can join.

Speaker 1: And so jeanette ward, you know, you and I were in Canada last week. Yes, we were in Canada. There were two events. Uh, there was the, I guess Canada Institute, a kind of business event. There was the lift cannabis expo. What did you take away from your trip to Canada?

Speaker 3: The market cannabis market in Canada is a very vibrant, changing, evolving rapidly and it's fascinating, um, the difference in the models between their licensed producers and their dispensary's and how they're both, both models, both groups are working to serve patients but doing it differently and how, just just the dialogue. I mean, we were there at the same time as project Claudia was, was happening. So that was kind of a historic time, I think, in the history of Canadian cannabis regulation and it was just really fascinating to see dispensary owners saying, we believe that we're doing the right thing and we're going to keep doing it regardless of these kinds of, of, um, invasions by police. Um, it was really fascinating time to watch that.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, absolutely. What a I found interesting was that your BC, a British Columbia, a dispensary do have a regulated market because of the cities that they're in. So Vancouver and Victoria are certainly regulated at the city level, a, albeit not federally. Um, what became apparent when we were there was that Ontario does not, or you know, Toronto city, the city of Toronto does not have that same or regulatory framework. Um, so it was, when you say vibrant, I mean, it was connected. The energy was certainly kinetic.

Speaker 3: It was. Yeah. I mean, I'm, I'm choosing my words carefully. It was, um, passionate

Speaker 1: indeed. And so that's good. Uh, that they are passionate and they are figuring it out. They're gonna rewrite a, you know, their MMP, our legislation in August. And so maybe there'll be a new day as far as dispensary's in Toronto, um, you know, as far as the regulatory framework, but we're not here to talk about that. Um, the MCPA that minority cannabis business association, uh, you know, starting to, to kind of, uh, uh, get into action and there's a couple things coming up that we wanted to talk to you about, right. So June 11th in Portland and then June 22nd in, in Oakland, what's happening?

Speaker 3: We are having our first and second networking rallies. So the minority cannabis business association will be holding these events that we're calling networking rallies because they are half, I'm kind of a political and educational rally to give people information they need on how to open a cannabis business, what the regulations are and um, what jobs are available in cannabis and what does cannabis employers are looking for. And then the other half is networking and there'll also be some activism and some speeches from some really great leading cannabis activist. So we're excited about, about what we'll be bringing to people in Portland, in Oakland.

Speaker 1: Excellent. All right. Let's go through some highlights. Portland first, what are you excited about?

Speaker 3: So Portland, on June 11th, we have earl Blumenauer speaking and he is the congressman hailing from Oregon who has been extremely passionate and vocal and active and helping advance cannabis regulation both locally in Oregon and federally. So we are excited that he is a partner and an advocate and as a speaking at the event, we're also have people speaking from the city of Portland on the licensing process and the state of Oregon on the licensing process. We've got folks talking about business assistance, um, and how they can help established businesses. So we're excited about the first half of the agenda really being about the industry and the business of cannabis and helping people get the information they need to move forward with any business they might want to establish.

Speaker 1: Excellent. And kind of practicing what we preach as far as, uh, the mission statement, literally, you know, kind of delivering to them information or delivering to folks information on, on how, how to start a business, how best to work with the community, etc. Etc.

Speaker 3: YEs. And to continue that delivering on our mission. We have a medical section, we'll we're going to have one of our board members who's a doctor, Dr. Rachel Knox speaking about medicating with cannabis and how specifically people of color can do that to treat the diseases and ailments that most impact communities of color. And we have a nurse who was representing a local dispensarY panacea who will also be talking about medicating with cannabis. So plugging right into our mission.

Speaker 1: Episode 150,

Speaker 2: but first we're going to talk to net ward. You remember Gen network from episode 133. I'm not minority cannabis business association has some information on some networking rallies that are happening in Portland and Oakland. Hopefully if you are in one of those cities you can, you can join.

Speaker 1: And so jeanette ward, you know, you and I were in Canada last week. Yes, we were in Canada. There were two events. Uh, there was the, I guess Canada Institute, a kind of business event. There was the lift cannabis expo. What did you take away from your trip to Canada?

Speaker 3: The market cannabis market in Canada is a very vibrant, changing, evolving rapidly and it's fascinating, um, the difference in the models between their licensed producers and their dispensary's and how they're both, both models, both groups are working to serve patients but doing it differently and how, just just the dialogue. I mean, we were there at the same time as project Claudia was, was happening. So that was kind of a historic time, I think, in the history of Canadian cannabis regulation and it was just really fascinating to see dispensary owners saying, we believe that we're doing the right thing and we're going to keep doing it regardless of these kinds of, of, um, invasions by police. Um, it was really fascinating time to watch that.

Speaker 1: Yeah, no, absolutely. What a I found interesting was that your BC, a British Columbia, a dispensary do have a regulated market because of the cities that they're in. So Vancouver and Victoria are certainly regulated at the city level, a, albeit not federally. Um, what became apparent when we were there was that Ontario does not, or you know, Toronto city, the city of Toronto does not have that same or regulatory framework. Um, so it was, when you say vibrant, I mean, it was connected. The energy was certainly kinetic.

Speaker 3: It was. Yeah. I mean, I'm, I'm choosing my words carefully. It was, um, passionate

Speaker 1: indeed. And so that's good. Uh, that they are passionate and they are figuring it out. They're gonna rewrite a, you know, their MMP, our legislation in August. And so maybe there'll be a new day as far as dispensary's in Toronto, um, you know, as far as the regulatory framework, but we're not here to talk about that. Um, the MCPA that minority cannabis business association, uh, you know, starting to, to kind of, uh, uh, get into action and there's a couple things coming up that we wanted to talk to you about, right. So June 11th in Portland and then June 22nd in, in Oakland, what's happening?

Speaker 3: We are having our first and second networking rallies. So the minority cannabis business association will be holding these events that we're calling networking rallies because they are half, I'm kind of a political and educational rally to give people information they need on how to open a cannabis business, what the regulations are and um, what jobs are available in cannabis and what does cannabis employers are looking for. And then the other half is networking and there'll also be some activism and some speeches from some really great leading cannabis activist. So we're excited about, about what we'll be bringing to people in Portland, in Oakland.

Speaker 1: Excellent. All right. Let's go through some highlights. Portland first, what are you excited about?

Speaker 3: So Portland, on June 11th, we have earl Blumenauer speaking and he is the congressman hailing from Oregon who has been extremely passionate and vocal and active and helping advance cannabis regulation both locally in Oregon and federally. So we are excited that he is a partner and an advocate and as a speaking at the event, we're also have people speaking from the city of Portland on the licensing process and the state of Oregon on the licensing process. We've got folks talking about business assistance, um, and how they can help established businesses. So we're excited about the first half of the agenda really being about the industry and the business of cannabis and helping people get the information they need to move forward with any business they might want to establish.

Speaker 1: Excellent. And kind of practicing what we preach as far as, uh, the mission statement, literally, you know, kind of delivering to them information or delivering to folks information on, on how, how to start a business, how best to work with the community, etc. Etc.

Speaker 3: YEs. And to continue that delivering on our mission. We have a medical section, we'll we're going to have one of our board members who's a doctor, Dr. Rachel Knox speaking about medicating with cannabis and how specifically people of color can do that to treat the diseases and ailments that most impact communities of color. And we have a nurse who was representing a local dispensarY panacea who will also be talking about medicating with cannabis. So plugging right into our mission.

Speaker 1: Excellent. All right. But uh, we're not done once we get done with a portland. Let's talk about, uh, oakland before we talk about registration, what, what's happening know

Speaker 3: in oakland we have a similar format and that we're going to have education first and then networking after and so in oakland or education will be from a host of great people. We're going to talk about regulation with amanda reiman who comes from the drug policy alliance and we're going to have a state of kind of the cannabis industry in California as kind of stayed in the industry. What are the numbers? What do we expect to see in terms of growth? And that's going to come from our representative from mj freeway. They've got the largest cannabis data in the us, so they're gonna show us what those numbers are telling us and then we have

Speaker 1: wait to see who mj freeway, sir.

Speaker 3: I know, right? Um, and then we have steve de angelo, who we are super excited to have speaking. He's going to be doing a q and a With none other than seth adler. Yeah. And steve, if anyone doesn't know who steve is, steve founded said health center, which is the largest dispensary in California. And by the numbers I think the largest dispensary I'm in oakland or I'm sorry, in California. so the largest spencer by the numbers of California, which is very exciting, but it's also headquartered in oakland. And steve wrote the cannabis manifesto, did highly recommend anyone read. She gives a wonderful history of cannabis criminalization and the way cannabis has been used to stereotype certain, um, certain groups. So steve's a big advocate for minorities and people of color and ensuring a quality in this industry. And we're very excited to have him as our rise up activists speaking. I'm in oakland.

Speaker 1: Alright, fantastic. So if I'm in portland or if I'm in oakland, how do I register for these things?

Speaker 3: You can visit mcbs website and we have big and live and in color in our banner on the homepage links that allow you to get to event brite and buy tickets. We are limited in the capacity of space in both these venues. So once we sell out, we sell out. We highly recommend if you're in portland or oakland, do not miss this. These events are the first of their kind with the combination of education and jobs information. We're going to have employers on site in portland. So if you're interested in a job, a high fi farms will be there. Some other big, big dispensary and cultivation centers. If you're on site, you could get a job. So don't miss portland. Don't miss Oregon. I go to our website and you can buy your tickets.

Speaker 1: Alright. So this is not just education, this is also, you know, truly a rally for employment.

Speaker 3: That is right meeting our mission.

Speaker 1: There we go. Alright. So jeanette ward, thank you so much for letting us know about these two. Uh, what sound like very interesting and fantastic events. I'm very much looking forward to being a part of the oakland one and, uh, I guess I'll see you next week.

Speaker 3: Yes. See next week the lift cannabis expo roots pat.

Speaker 2: No matter your opinion on project claudia, the toronto dispensary rates for this past week, we most likely all agreed that safe patient access is paramount. Welcome to cannabis economy. I hear most seth antler check us out on the social networks with the handle can economy. That's two ends of the world economy. We have perfect timing with the panel featuring the hillary black dean and macpherson and John Fowler recorded the live last week, just after the rate we Discussed the nineties in bc, m, m a r, which is maRijuana, medical access regulations and map r, which is marijuana for medical purposes, regulations. We also discussed the upcoming rewrite of them in pr in august, what to maKe of the rates and how to take action in support of legal cannabis in Canada.

Speaker 4: So please, if you would give our panelists a round of applause to welcome them to the stage. Okay, fantastic. I'm just because she's the best. She's going to go first. Hillary black has very, a interesting background and she's actually the perfect person for the canadian industry today as well as, uh, the future. Uh, hillary, give us a little bit of your background. Your with badger can now, but that doesn't tell the whole story. How far do you want to go back? All the way where you just want to go professional white because you have the whole thing. But let's just key in on, uh, on the dispensary. Go ahead.

Speaker 5: Okay. Well,

Speaker 6: can we hear her? Can't really hear her. Okay. Because I haven't started talking yet. So thank you for coming. It's lovely to see your faces. I'm, I'm the founder of the first medical cannabis dispensary in the country, the bc compassion club society 19 years ago. Um, there is, there is some stories that are the roots behind that, but I don't think we're going quite that far into my history. So do you, would you like to hear a little bit about the compassion club and about how we started creating the tolerance that has turned into the dispensary's in Canada now? Okay. So the compassion club is a, first of all, it's a registered nonprofit organization. We run a wellness center, so all of the proceeds from the cannabis distribution goes to support herbalists, nutritionists, counselors, doctors of traditional chinese medicine. Uh, we believe that cannabis is a really important a therapy that when you can provide people that are marginalized and living with other addictions, dealing with other mental health issues, when you can provide them with a team of therapists, that that's when some really profound healing starts happening. So in the early days it was very important that we were financially transparent, that it was very clear we weren't operating with a profit motive and that we're contributing back to our community in a significant way. We worked really hard to have excellent relationships with our neighbors, baking them muffins if they were mad at us, cleaning the, doing whatever

Speaker 4: it took to be really loved by our community. And those are examples. That's actually things that you did correct? Correct. You're not being cute when you say we bake the muffins. You actually baked. It only happened once. Fine. But it works. Indeed. And they were not infused. They were not infused know dieter, what are you doing?

Speaker 7: So I'm the, uh, president and executive director of the victoria cannabis buyers club, uh, another dispensary that's been around, not quite as long as the bccs, uh, I'm the president of the canadian association of medical cannabis dispensary, which hillary was actually one of the founders of. Um, so that's an industry organization that represents about 45 dispensary's across the country. Medical dispensary's a previous style that I was actually a grower and a producer. Good luck stated she'll go. Oh, you got it. Thank you. Uh, so I was an outdoor grower for about a decade and that's how I got involved in the dispensary industry because I always supplying for one of them in victoria, which I am now the executive director and president of. Um, so cam cd is a certification body that's been working diligently for the last six years to bring a, a level of standards across the entire industry to ensure stakeholders, patients and policy makers that there is a good way to operate dispensary's that are very beneficial to their community and patient access.

Speaker 7: Um, and we're currently working very hard with municipal governments to try and develop regulations for land use. So obviously dispensary's do not have a federal or provincial regulations that they're included in a but because of the massive growth across this country and the number of the many municipalities are looking for tools to manage their location and how they operate. And that's been our main focus over the last six months. So obviously toronto hasn't been quite as successful, but we're working, uh, ontario obviously not a win for, you know, uh, as we learned this week and we're going to get into that. What provinces though besides bc been open minded to what you have a. Well, bc has been the biggest one. There's dispensary's in saskatchewan, nova scotia, new brunswick, a. There's one opening in pei. We've already seen a little, a little more tolerance in those provinces, but bc, by and large has been the one where the most proactive approach has been taken a bcs looked at this and the cities and bc have looked at this as an issue that is a, whether it's medical, recreational land use policy is something they're going to have to deal with down the road anyways, so they're doing it now.

Speaker 7: A writing these regulations means that two years from now when legalization comes down, they don't get caught off guard. So we're trying to encourage ontario to do the same thing in toronto specifically to look at this from a regulatory approach instead of an enforcement approach. indeed. And we, again, we'll get into that. That's the, uh, that's what everybody's looking forward to talking about that. Yes. Uh, if only we had an lp perspective on the. Oh look, there's

Speaker 4: John Fowler from supreme.

Speaker 8: Hi everybody. My nAme is john. I'm the ceo of supreme pharmaceuticals. We're a publicly traded company that owns a company called seven acres. You can find our booth in the back. We operate a seven acre, six football field, hybrid greenhouse facility. Um, we got into the business. My background is I'm a lawyer. I did a lot of work working with medical marijuana patients, uh, working on matt marino, challenge back in 13, don't have the length of history, uh, from the folks sitting on the panel here with me. But I was able to build and learn from a lot of the court cases and battles that they fought and we got into this business to try to improve access for patients and that's what we're hoping to do. We're hoping to see a way that we can put things like this together and bring the industry together because I see one industry, uh, it needs to be inclusive and it needs to be regulated if we want to meet the policy goals of, you know, consumer health and safety enforcement and taxability. And what you're saying is you see one industry not to different industries. Is that what you're saying? I think it's one, not three because there's lps, there's the dispensary marketing, then there's everybody else. and if you're selling cannabis in this country, I hope that there's a way that we can bring you into a regulated and legal environment in deep. And so I said, you know, let's listen

Speaker 4: for the lp perspective from john hillary, uh, because when I see hillary, I just cpc right, I don't see bedroom can share with folks what you're doing with badger can now as we speak.

Speaker 6: Sure. So when the licensed producers came online in Canada, I made a decision to work with one of them and it was a decision that wasn't very popular with some of my activist community to some people that kind of fell from my activist pedestal. But I chose to do that because there were a lot of dispensary's in vancouver at that time and patients had a lot of access to medical cannabis. And what I'm interested in and continue to focus on is breaking down barriers to access for patients, whether it's affordability or educating their physicians, whatever it takes to break down barriers of access for patients. And so I chose to work with badger can because of their extensive history in europe and because I knew them, they were friends of mine and working with bedroom. can I have the opportunity, like I just spent two days in toronto at a conference talking with pain physicians for two days. I wouldn't get those opportunities coming from a civilly disobedient perspective.

Speaker 4: Effective? Yeah. Okay. So working from the outside, from the inside basically. All right, let's get a chance to see who's in this crowd. So we know who we're talking to. How many of you work for nlp? How many of you? A couple. How many have you worked for a dispensary until a couple of days ago? Uh, that guy, that guy to reluctantly raising hands. How many of you provide ancillary services to the legal cannabis industry? A bunch. How many of you provide services to the listed market? The illicit market? Okay. There are some. Uh, and how many of you are cannabis enthusiasts? Many lots of cannabis enthusiasts. How many of you have a car? It's our medical patients. Many? Okay. And how many of you don't know where you are right now. Use that guy. Okay, fair enough. So, um, it, we've got a pretty even group, but let's kind of refocus and get back to the point of what the lps, what is in the mmpr a perspective as far as regulation and how that has been learned from, uh, from the, from the history. So as far as bEtter canada's concerned, you see the guidelines that are set out in front of you, how much of that has been informed by the history of cannabis in Canada?

Speaker 6: I would say that they took a few pages out of our book in terms of the amazing policies and procedures that we've developed over the years in terms of how they verify things with physicians. There was quite a lot that they took out of our buck essentially, literally out of our book. Um, you know, the one piece that we all know that's missing is face to face on site distribution. Right? And so for 20 years I have been lobbying the government to bring dispensary's into the regulatory framework. Right? And to end yesterday, what we saw happen in toronto in toronto is a lack of the federal government and then the toronto municipality in a timely way getting in front of it and regulating. And you know, the dispensary's popped up very quickly. There was like 200 of them in two years I think. And so they had to, I guess they felt that they had to reel it back and rather than taking a slow, methodical approach to it, like vancouver, did they, uh, they went at it with enforcement.

Speaker 4: Well, let's look at both instances. Let's look at vancouver. You know, back in the day you were there. What was the dispensary approach to the patient and the city and what was reciprocated approach to the dispensary from the city? So when you came in with the compassion club, what were you focused on as far as patient and as far as city?

Speaker 6: Well, we were focused on extremely critically and chronically ill patients and we had very serious restrictions around who we would and wouldn't distribute to. And don't get me wrong, I think that people that are using cannabis for personal use should also be able to access it in a legal and safe way. But my focus hAs always been on really sick patients and we went and talked to the city right away and we had conversations with the chief of the police and the head of the drug vice squad and we're very clear about what we were doing and invited them in for tours. And they always, um, Basically gave us tacit approval by ignoring us. I mean, the first time that I really interacted with the police or the compassion club, they phoned me up at 5:00 in the morning, hello ms.black. This is vancouver police phoning.

Speaker 6: And I'm like, oh shit, your heart starts racing. And they're like, you're establishment is how to break in and you're safe is actually sitting on the sidewalk right now. And we've got an officer down there protecting it and we'd really love it if you could get down there with a few guys and move your safe back inside. So I go down there and that's safe. Stinks. Like it's been like agitated and moved around and thrashed about and there's this like cloud of cannabis and hash stench coming from it. I mean they knew exactly what they were doing and then they asked me to write a report on the contents and I couldn't get ahold of my lawyer because 5:00 in the morning. And so I just told the truth because I always have. And the contents of the safe, we're worth more than 50,000 doLlars and the guy ended up getting charged with grand larceny, grand theft

Speaker 4: or whatever it is. The guy that had broken it.

Speaker 6: Yeah. They caught him. Yeah.

Speaker 4: And so essentially what you're saying, I think is that your city's finest thought that there was product inside, is that what you're saying? Or

Speaker 6: they knew we had had the police. Um, we had had an incident where somebody with mental health issues was threatening violence inside the dispensary. And we were trying to deal with it for quite a long time before we phoned them. And when they came they said, look, we know what you girls are doing because at that time it was me and five of my girlfriends that were running the dispensary and they said, when things like this happen, you have to call us, let us dO your, let us do our job. Like way back when, in 1998, I remember getting a client referred to me from the police because they were down in the downtown east side is sort of rough neighborhood in vancouver and there's this lovely woman with her, like fancy handbag looking for some cannabis because she was going through chemotherapy and he said, you shouldn't be down here. There's a place for people like you.

Speaker 4: Right. Interesting. Now how did you have that approach with them and how did they have the approach with you? In other words, you said that you did approach city officials. You said that you did approach the uh, um, you know, the, the authorities and they seem like we're taking you seriously from the jump. Is that the case or not the case? Did you have to earn your reputation?

Speaker 6: They were taking us seriously from the beginning and I think a big part of it was, like I said, we were a nonprofit, so it was clear that we weren't financially motivated and we built this amazing wellness center where we're providing services back to our community. We're providing services back to our patients. We're contributing back in some way, you know, we're not just like buying a fleet of suv or having vending machines or you know, and like, so that's an suv isn't vending machines I guess are fine too. But how are we giving back? So while dispensary's are civilly disobedient, if you want to have credibility with your authorities, I think it's extremely important to develop amazing relationships with your neighbors and how are you giving back? What are you doing with your profits? And

Speaker 7: as far as the amcd these concerned, how do you guide dispensary's that you are working with a to do exactly what, uh, what hillary's discussing? Well, that's a huge part of the dispensary's outreach and working with their communities. So that's actually part of the standards and the certification process is that they have to have policies around how they manage their reputation and hOw they work with local authorities and how they project themselves on the communities. Because the original dispensary's that opened in this country, we're highly conscious of the fact that they were operating illegal dispensaries and the court of public opinion would be the only thing that would protect them when they first started, uh, if they were seen to be a bad stewards of their neighborhoods are operating for unjust reasons, they never would have stayed. And it was a very different environment 20 years ago when the first operators open, they risked a, a very real chance of being rated.

Speaker 7: And many of them were, I think the bccs is likely the only one that wasn't rated out of all of the original dispensary's. And there was about eight of them that open across the country within about a two year period seven. Um, so, uh, that still exists today. A lot of new dispensary's assume that the work that was done in victoria, vancouver, and toronto, which was very underground in toronto, but they were still here, um, has mean that they've got a free pass and that all out recreation means that we can just sell and grow. But before we get to that, yep. He in, on what you just said, there were dispensary's that were operating. They had the court of public opinion on their side. No. Did approach a local municipalities and did get raided. Yep. What happened post raid back in the day? well, I'm back in the day.

Speaker 7: They all reopened how, how well a force of will going into debt fighting strong court battles and changing the law to adam greenblatt. Yeah. Yeah. There you go. There there's been a, a series of court cases that were brought about by dispensary's and a lot of those people that were the defendants in those cases are actually here in this room today. At some point or another matter of aaron being one of them chairs. Give it up for matt. Yep. House. The big gardener. Good. Amazing guy. I'm so reopening because they they reopened because they knew they were serving the critically and chronically ill canadians, the first dispensary serve those with hiv aids, hep c cancer. That was the largest kind of group of people that were being served because this was before there was ever a legal route to access medical marijuana. These dispensary's open before the mma are, so there was.

Speaker 7: There was no functional program whatsoever. So by serving those chronically and critical critically ill canadians, it means that they stay stood on very strong constitutional grounds and if you were a good operator, if you were a nonprofit or if you were seen to be benefiting the community when you went to court, judges would invariably site with you and give you an absolute discharge or conditional discharge. And sometimes if you had done your homework and it was a raid that was structured well would change the law. So the mmpr was mar was largely brought about by these court actions from people breaking a law, but operating in such a fashion that they were transparent and when it went to court, they were seen to be doing a service tO canadians under the charter. So that's a huge difference.

Speaker 4: There we go. John, let's talk about the mfa on how to go back to that, right. Um, what, what were your initial inclinations when, when that came to be?

Speaker 8: Um, so I think the mma are how I got into it was actually reading a lot of those court cases that developed it. A, I'm a lawyer by trade, so I got into law, uh, you know, reading about kirk and john from bc or allen and paul and some of the other lawyers that fought these challenges. What was so exciting to me was, uh, to live in a country where our constitution would protect the rights of patients. And that's really important to remember is medical marijuana in Canada is driven by the courts and is driven by patients, right? Have reasonable access to medical cannabis, not a business model or not even a corporate ownership structure, a nonprofit profit, all of that is secondary. The first, there must be a robust and reasonable right of access to medical cannabis for canadians. And I was just amazed to live in a country that started with that, uh, the mma or is interesting to me because it had a lot of great qualities.

Speaker 8: It helped a lot of people, but it had a lot of challenges. I mean, noW that it's gone, it's sort of remembered for its best, but it was struck down many, many times. And before the implementation of the mpr, I would venture that most people working in the mer actually didn't like it, even if they like to talk about liking it now. Um, so the reality is when your court driven, it's always reactionary. A accord is a very blunt, a legislative tool. And it's really exciting to see a government today that I hope is going to take serious the importance of legislation and regulation that can be much more nuanced and create a much better system for everybody moving forward.

Speaker 4: Okay. So mma are, in your opinion, reactive based on the court cases that came to them. Uh, everybody remembers I'm mar a fondly where that's not necessarily the case. Dieter. Hillary, do you want to chime in on maybe, you know, recollection, recollections of mma are.

Speaker 7: Well, I would say thAt, uh, one of the important points is that, uh, the mmpr was the first time in canadian histoRy that they may know, but just the mmc. Yeah, it was a proactive regulation. The mer was changed by the courts, but yeah, it was, it was not an effective program. The mma or was designed to have oversight. They said they were going to do inspections. They were going to support it. Uh, they would, they would be working with municipalities and provinces to come up with some standards for production in homes and they didn't. So it was arguably designed to fail or left to fail. And so it was a lot of ways it was really good. But the police and the fire services and local governments absolutely hated it and they had every right to hate it because the federal government offloaded their responsibility to those. and municipalities, but didn't give them the tools to deal with it because it's still federally illegal under the cdsa. So it was a disaster waiting to happen and it didn't quite reach disaster proportions, but it was pretty close.

Speaker 4: Which, uh, which is what a kind of a pr. Yeah. John, talk about them.

Speaker 8: Uh, so the mmpr is a step forward as dieter mentioned. It's the first time we've taken a proactive response and I think much like the mma are, it's far from perfect, but the core of it is quite good. Um, if administered properly, there's lots of great companies, there's tens of thousands of patients who have access to medical cannabis now that they didn't have before and there's a lot more security in that access. So under the old program, if you were able to access a dispensary and for those who aren't aware, they didn't use to have signs, at least in toronto. So, you know, you have to really know somebody to get access and if you didn't have that personal network, uh, in large part you were excluded from accessing medical cannabis or you would have to get it from the street. So I meet with tons of patient's ledger, hillary probably meet with more who have found good quality access under this program and I hope that people, when looking at the industry and I see an inclusive one can recognize that for maybe for every person who is excluded from the mom pr because they're in the old system or whatever it is, there's many, many people who are included and it's important to see the benefit we're doing for folks and try to improve what we can with the mmpr to make it more inClusive rather than hoping we can start over again.

Speaker 4: Do it again. Okay. Which brings us to patient access within the mmp or. So, dieter, I want to start with you as far as, and so I'm from the u. S um, you know, don't hold it against me, but uh, we have federally illegal cannabis and well regulated local municipalities essentially. Um, which are providing legal cannabis onsite and there's many reasons for that. Some of them having to do with the coal memos, we can get into that, another different different panel. But as far as my perspective, the legal dispensaries in british columbia are operating legally. So, uh, well that's exactly your perspective. Your offers, they're both going then or. No, as far as somebody that deals with the dispensaries in Colorado and Washington, I'm seeing jasmine hoppier. Those are operating legally. Correct. Exactly. Okay. So for your legally operating dispensary's yeah, uh, that are a member of your association. Talk about patient access. How do they approach it? Um,

Speaker 7: well, it's one of those big questions in the industry. I wonder if I should touch on that illegal, illegal thing and explain to people what you mean for our spot. We'll, we'll go back to that to take the tape. You should start with that. I'll start with it. So what he's talking about in the United States, uh, it still remains federally illegal. So any municipality or state that is elected to legalize recreational and medical cannabis is actually breaking a federal federal laW. So although they're fine in their own municipality or state, because you know it's legal there, they're still in contravention of federal law, which means enter, you know, if you were to cross borders with it, you'd be arrested. It means you can't use banks. So it's actually a strong parallel because in vancouver and victoria where they're licensing dispensary's, it's still illegal federally, but within those little bubbles, the local police forces have no authority or had been directed not to enforce the laws as they lay. So there's a strong parallel there, but it's important to let people know that even though you're buying from what it may be municipally regulated legally, quote unquote, you still run the risk of being jailed and that's called informed consent and so you don't want to confuse people otherwise they make poor choices and they end up with criminal records like we're seeing in toronto. Fair enough.

Speaker 8: To jump in quickly, the big difference, the criminal law in Canada is solely federal. The criminal law in the United States is at the state level. The dea actually using other tools to enforce in states. So states have a much better claim to regulate medical or recreational cannabis, then municipalities do. I think municipalities are trying to do the best with the, the being pragmatic and dealing with what's on the ground, but a to dieter's point that cannabis still is federally illegal. It's no defense that you got it at the dispensary for patients, uh, and the problem with, um, allowing a lack of enforcement and it's better than nothing, but when it's not actually legal, it's good until the day it's not. And that's what we saw here in toronto this week.

Speaker 6: So I'd like to make a comment about the, um, the illegality of the cannabis that's sourced at dispensary's and part of the confusion. And really what all of this goes to say is the big picture is we need one cohesive unified system in this country, right? Like We're a mess with the mma. Our growers that had been injuncted in the, um, the dispensary's and the mmpr, there's some great elements to each one of these systems. And the problems that we're facing right now would all disappear if the government would come up with one great cohesive system that takes advantage of all of the best. But one quick story please. So just connecting what you were talking about around the illegality of the cannabis stories to dispensary's and going back to one of our roots, the very first supplier that ever ended up in the courts for the compassion club because we've never had a rate of the compassion club, but a number of our suppliers have been through the court system and they're very important cases because they set up the precedent for how the suppliers were being treated essentially.

Speaker 6: So I don't see him in the crowd, but I just want to give a shout out to marcus richardson. Otherwise known as bubble man, who is a very dear old friend of mine. And in the early days of the compassion club, I was the first out of the closet pot dealer in the country. And no dealers or growers would come within 100 feet of me because they were paranoid of me because I was in the public eye. And Mark Richardson, bless his heart, I used to give them a float and he would go out pot shopping for me because he had all kinds of great contacts and had really strict guidelines around and how things were being flushed and how things were being cured. And he was my first supplier that ended up getting busted and we went to court in 2002 and we got this amazing ruling where the judge basically said, like, this organization is a kin to a local neighborhood pharmacy. It's tolerated by the police. It's supported by its community. The medicine has to come from somewhere. It's not going to fall out of the sky like manna from heaven. I quote, and this was the case that started the precedent and built a body of case law that supported dispensary's that then the cases that have created the mar and the mmpr were built on. So just a little bit of root.

Speaker 7: Absolutely. And thank you for that. Um, someone just whispered in my ear, they'd love clarification on mma. Ar at mmp are are the mer, was the original program in Canada as a response to a couple of court cases that was formed in 2000 2001 the mma or originally allowed for a personal production and then designated production and eventually a single source contract that was under a prairie plant systems which is now can emit. So it was a federally mandated program where you had to fill out a very large document, about 32 pages. It had to go to health Canada for approval and then you would get a license that would last one year for a certain number of grams. Those grants would equate to a number of plants and then you can produce those plants in your own home or designate someone else or buy from that producer.

Speaker 7: So it was a decentralized program with very little oversight other than barriers to access by health Canada. It would often take three to six months before they approved your license. It experienced exponential growth and uh, uh, arguably was a commercial source for the dispensary's as it became larger. The mmpr was a more recent program in 2012 that invalidated the mma are in its inception, so when the mmpr came into force and effect, the mma went out and it was a program that was federally regulated across the board that created licenses for large scale commercial production and direct to patient distribution. So in theory it was going to deny personal production and a closed that program. Now the allergen junction has since fought that and the mmpr is going to see a rewrite by this august. That has to include improved access and likely some form of personal production. So we went from the mer, which is decentralized personal production or designated production with almost no oversight to the first federally mandated large scale commercial production licensing system called the mmpr. They were largely in conflict, but it looks like they're going to merge now by this august. So that's august. Let john, let's put your lawyer hat back on. A dieter said improved access. What does that mean?

Speaker 8: So As I said, the the charter here in Canada has protected the rights for patients access medical marijuana. It's usually described or the right of reasonable access, so there can be some barriers, but the barriers have to be there for a purpose, a justice failing in the large case. So this was a group of mma. Our growers primarily a who went to court to challenge the dataset, the invalidation or the repeal of the mma are they felt that's where they were getting their, accessing their medicine. They felt a challenge, their rights to life, liberty and security of their person to not have that access anymore. And they were granted first and injunction, which said legally speaking, the mma is gone. Uh, but you can continue growing in a style similar to how you were before. While we figured this out in the courts, basically the patient shouldn't be prejudiced because court systems take a long time.

Speaker 8: at the beginning of the year, the decision was made a finding that the mmpr was too restrictive and that limiting eliminating home completely didn't meet the regulatory objectives of the government and therefore was not a reasonable barrier for medical access. I think it's very iMportant to say in terms of what the current government's response is, they have a requirement to add more access. It doesn't necessarily have to be home growing, although I think that is the likely a remedy here. Uh, one thing I think is fantastic is a historically under our old government, this would have been appealed and appealed all the way to the court of appeal or supreme court of Canada with this government. I think it's a great sign for people who are wondering if they're serious about having a functioning and well-considered regulation. They said, you know what, rather than fighting this and seeing if we can win at a subsequent court battle, taking tons of tax payer dollars and private dollars raised from the dispensary and the coalitions, they've decided to accept the ruling and I'm hoping in august we see something that's inclusive. Keeping in mind that the commercial industry for many is the right way to go. If you don't have those personal networks or ability to self produce, it's a great supplement. A, but it's not for everybody. I know tons of people that just weren't able to get access under that program. Who can get access now? What are the chances that the newly rewritten

Speaker 7: laws will disband the local dispensary's in bc who are currently regulated? Um, well, the way I've always looked at this is a dispensary serve a purpose, and if that purpose is being met by a regulated market, then they really won't exist the way they exist now. BuT that means there would have to be storefront access that barriers would be removed so that patients that need it can cost coverage of some sort. Um, diversity of product and selection, including many derivative forms and smokeable extracts. Then in that case, many dispensaries would likely close the doors one day and reopened under whatever regulatory program was put in place until such time as the licensed producers are allowed to produce a wide variety of different forms of extracts that issue alone dispensary's, uh, likely have a constitutional leg to on that. That doesn't mean they're legal. What it means is that if they're operating soundly and providing good access to the things that can't be had in the mmpr, then they could fight and win in court and again, changed the law. So a dispensary is in bc are likely to be around a while in other provinces. It's hard to say. We've got some pretty big lobbies from the liquor lcb owes the pharmacies I and lots more people stepping in,

Speaker 4: so. Sure. No. So who knows, but let's take that and let's dive in here. Now, let's actUally talk about the cloSures that happened two days ago in toronto. Hillary, please reiterate what you did, uh, in, uh, uh, with bccs when you started. What were the keys for opening that dispensary? Keeping it running and getting respect from the local municipality.

Speaker 6: Being a nonprofit organization and being financially transparent, providing a range of ancillary healthcare services to some of vancouver is most marginalized people. So we're providing services to patients with mental health issues and a intervenous drug addictions. We're, uh, we are the safety net actually catching patients that are falling through the cracks in the healthcare system. And we reached out to the local government, we reached out to all of our neighbors, um, and we're, I think community support is one of the most important things. The compassion club recently had to go in front of the board of variants at the city of vancouver because it's within 300 meters of two schools and one of the rules is that you can't be near to schools. and we went in front of the board of variance and, uh, had letters from the school saying that they didn't oppose us being there.

Speaker 6: We had a petition from hundreds and hundreds of our neighbors. We had local business owners and neighbors come out and speak. And that is, that's why the compassion club god experienced to stay where it is. And that was based on 19 years of being an excellent responsible neighbor and giving back. Right. So there are some dispensary's in vancouver that focus on legal challenges or focus on printing education materials. And it's a question that I have because I'm not very familiar with the dispensary's in toronto, so I can't speak with any kind of expertise. But what are your, what are the standards, are there standards? How are you operating in terms of, um, being a responsible citizen of your community and how are you giving back to your patients?

Speaker 4: So dieter, hillary can't speak to the dispensary's toronto, but I'm sure you certainly can. And so, you know, hillary laid out the pathway to success for bccs. Yup. Uh, as far as the toronto dispensary's and we're painting with a broad brush. Sure. But we're have the toronto dispensary's gone wrong. Sure. Yeah. So a lot of people

Speaker 7: would shy away from being critical of the dispensary industry and I think that's a massive mistake because there'll be no growth unless we look at ourselves and say, how can we approve? Let's look in the mirror. There's my caveat, right? Um, there's been, uh, a series of issues in toronto's and in toronto and I think the first among them is the conduct of their membership and the direct community surrounding their space. A toronto dispensary's are experiencing exponential growth. This is a market of two point 9 billion people or million people, not billion, and they're not managing their direct relationships with the community very well. So that's people smoking in front of the stores, taking up parking that isn't assigned to the business, playing loud music generally being obtrusive, advertising standards are not in place. So a loud signage, these are things that generally will cause complaints, uh, the dispensary industry and the police operate on a complaint basis.

Speaker 7: So if the police receive x number of complaints per location, they have to act. It's just the way it works. So there's issues with the local bia, a's, the business improvement agencies that need to be managed. They need to come up with clear code of conduct for their members and enforce those. Sometimes it's very difficult to say, you know what, we're not going to do business with you anymore because you're shooting yourself in the foot denying yourself revenue. But in the longterm it's actually beneficial because you're not pissing off your neighbors. So that's a big problem. Uh, another one would be, um, the way they present themselves. What is the defining line between medical and recreational? So this is a existential crisis that's faced everywhere. What defInes medical use and what defines adult elective, recreational, whatever you wanna call it. Um, the original dispensary's we're all medical and they did a great deal of work to make sure there we're seeing only as serving those with legitimate medical need.

Speaker 7: Uh, many of the new dispensary's have loosened those intake standards over time. Now that's not to say that the people that are receiving the cannabis aren't benefiting medicinally and should have access, but certainly under the federal programs and the gestalt or what we believe is medical, it's starting to push the boundaries a little bit. Nobody's being harmed is the important thing though. And a police response is certainly not the right answer. What is a regulatory response? So those were some of the main issUes. Now we also saw edibles being a big problem at the police conference. They said that packaging, labeling and testing was their main concern, but toronto is actually seen more improvement in the commercialization of packaging, testing and labeling than anywhere else. So I think that's a bit of a red herring. We're not seeing math boatloads of people going to the hospital because they're overdoSing, but it's still a legitimate concern, but it's a public health concern that can be easily managed if dispensary's, uh, adopted testing standards and some basic packaging and labeling standards as well. So, so, so there you have it. So john, as far as dove tAiling a, the sense of community, your surrounding community with patient access, take us through what you or your fellow lps are doing, uh, in that area so folks can have

Speaker 8: a better understanding as opposed to just saying we don't like it. Absolutely. So I think even with the lps, the local community and stakeholder support is very important. So even being illegal, there are companies that have challenges locally with where they are, whether their applicants are licensed companies. So one thing we took very seriously, and if I give credit, it was watching how dispensary's did this, uh, when our businesses in kincardine, ontario, so a rural town, it has no dispensary's marijuana is, is common but very underground. So we took a very transparent approach. We tried to tell the community exactly what we're doing and why I invited key stakeholders to see our greenhouse facility, let us know their concerns and how we can address them. So thank you. Really. Um, we're very well supported. We had an opening event with close to 100 people showing up who are primarily a federal provincial and municipal politicians and senior staffers.

Speaker 8: And that was the lessons we learned. Like I think the roots and how we got here are very important and that's a direct page we talked a in terms of dealing with the patients. We're a newer company so we Haven't done much ourselves, but you know, we have the ability through financing to have a medical team. There's other companies with very robust medical teams and I get to pass here in a second, um, you know, who have been able to educate doctors. We have more doctors signing in a couple years of the mmpr than we had in 13 or 14 years of the mma are. And we have more patients accessing. So again, while it's far from perfect, I think it's actually been a wonderfully successful two years, not just for the companies involved, uh, but for the patients and doctors involved with the access and not to go ahead and pat ourselves on the back from an lp perspective, but hillary as an activist operating from within and lp, take us through what is actually working.

Speaker 6: Um, well, the physician education is incredibly important. One of the greatest barriers to access for patients is going to see their doctors and they face stigma or resistance and they're not able to get legal access. So that's a barrier to access that we have to continue investing in and working diligently in there our affordability issues because cannabis doesn't have any kind of approval status. Health Canada will continue to say cannabis is not an approved drug, but we have to create access to it because the courts have forced us to. So it puts cannabis in a very awkward position both for physicians that are the gatekeepers to the legal, um, to the legal framework. And also it creates issues around affordability for patients because he can't get. It's very difficult to get insurance coverage. Cannabis is still taxed. Medical cannabis has sales tax on it. One of the, part of the spirit of our tax legislation is that we don't put sales tax on medical necessities and so actually there is a petition that is live. I was supposed to have a team of people here with ipads, but the website is. The parliamentary website is down today. Unfortunately I was going to harass you all to sign the petition, but if you would please take a minute. It's really easy to find parliamentary petitions. It's going to be tabled in mid june. Um, so that's one, one initiative.

Speaker 6: If you, if you just go eat petitions, it'll pop up the parliament through the parliamentary website, pops up and you can see the list of them and you can see the one that's for removing the tax on medical cannabis. So tax is not necessarily a sexy issue, but this is something that I've been like a dog with a bone about. The compassion club actually has taken this issue quite far through the court system and from whether I need to do it from the dispensary side or from the lp side, we will relentlessly keep working on the tax issue because it's unjust and unethical for patients to be paying sales tax on a medicine that's prescribed by their physicianS, so that's an issue thAt I get to work on from inside badger can insurance advocacy, right? This is a major mountain that we have to move.

Speaker 6: Some people with private insurance are starting to be able to get coverage if their employers support them, but the big solution, I was just on parliament hill with your status society and the canadian, a canadian aids society and canadians were access to their medical marijuana that fam and we held a event for mps talking to them about the issues that we think they need to keep their eye on as we are. The countrY's getting crazy about legalization. We need to keep a focus, a lens on patient issues and so that the. The biggest solution, one of the solutions thAt would trickle down into a number of the problematic areas would be if health Canada gave medical cannabiS some kind of interim approval status that would allow for insurance coverage, it would allow for us to take the gst off it and it would allow for the onerous restrictions on research to be lifted.

Speaker 6: People like John Page, you were trying to do basic research or people that are trying to do clinical studies. It takes years to get the licensing and there's no funding pocket. Right? So in an interim, approval would improve the tax piece, the insurance piece and the research piece and the research piece is what we need to keep moving things forward with the doctorate. It's like a chicken with a doctors. It's like a chicken and the end the egg. So, um, that's really is my focus as we're moving forward into legalization. What are the issues around patients that we have to keep focusing on as the country's crazy about all the other issues around legalization.

Speaker 4: Okay. John, you offline had Said something interesting to me about, uh, your perception of a lps and dispensary's in the managing of the two because what hillary is pointing out is it's all about patient access. It's all about getting folks that need medicine or medicine in a timely way and in a price sensitive way. How much do you want to share about what you talked about?

Speaker 8: I think, as I said, we're all in the same industry here together. Uh, I think the, iF you look at the complaints about dispensary's, whether that's around signage, advertising, labeling, health claims is one I have a challenge with. You don't fix those by trying to stump them on the ground and hope that a dealer working in a condo or a park is going to take that regulation upon themselves. Uh, you do that by offering regulation. So you know, there's a lot of heavy restrictions on mpr companies where it comes with a advertising, particularly medical advice that changes if we can get approvals to speak to a. But I think overall if you weigh the goods and the bads, it's quite good because patients know that they have to interact with their physician to really figure out what's working from them rather than just getting a sales pitch from a company that's trying to sell a product. so I think the answer here has been my theme on this issue totally is we need a regulatory regime that reduces whatever harms can be associated with cannabis, provides great access, timely well-priced end to the products they need and is really focused around the patient beCause that's where this whole thing started was our charter protects the rights of reasonable access for patients.

Speaker 7: Again, just because it is so timely, we're going to ask you guys to give advice to the dispensaries that were just closed in toronto and then we're going to go to q and a from the group data. I run A dispensary groups. What's your advice to the toronto dispensers that were disclosed? Am I giving this away for free? Wait, I already did this for free. Yes. Uh, so we're actually having a dispensary meeting on monday and everybody that couldn't make the last one on friday, we'll let you all know, but a couple of key pieces of advice, you're still breaking the law and you should always have a lawyer, one to your staff needs to know that they're breaking the law in each one of them needs to make informed consent that they're operating under that risk by not telling them. And by not telling your patients you're complIcit in putting them at legal risk.

Speaker 7: Three, you need to band together and come up with some common set of standards, whether it be adopting camp cds or a coming up with your own. There needs to be some assurances to the public that you're working as a group to better the industry and it addressing the real and legitimate concerns of your stakeholders. Uh, you know, the fourth would be that, uh, regulations aren't a bad thing and they're going to becoming and regulations don't need to be about restricting their, about consumer rights and consumer protection. so whether or not you believe this plant should be changed or unchanged as soon as you conduct a commercIal transaction, you fall under those requirements for some sort of regulation. If you want to run a farmers market, wherever, give everybody, gives it away for free and trades it. That may happen one day, but if you have a storefront, regulations need to be there to ensure that consumers are protected.

Speaker 7: And this is separate from whether it's medical, recreational, this is just the basic. We're canadians. We tend tO over regulate everything. So it's going to happen. If you can work together, if you can realize that, uh, working with the city and asking for regulatIons goes a long way, then you'll get handed regulations that you've asked for. If you don't, you're going to get handed regulations that you had no input in. And that means may mean that you get completely shut down because let's face it, they're learning how to deal with dispensary is very quickly. And toronto was a lot of new tactics that we've never seen before. So it's a bit of a cat and mouse game. And right now, toronto, we're losing.

Speaker 4: And again, just to go baCk to the us, the whole, you know, what worked well is having folks that were in the industry at the table when the regulations were being written. Yep. That'S what, that's what worked john, uh, advice to dispensers that were disclosed.

Speaker 8: ah, so I echo what dino says. I think it's a challenging situation. I think every company has to make a decision about the risks they are willing to take on and what service they provide for their patients. I think overall it's important to be involved. It's the more adversarial we are, the harder it is to make positive change. I think it's important to see an inclusive industry and, and work with government and work with regulars. I mean they have a tough job as well. Uh, the, the law on paper and the law and the ground seemed to be two very different things. So recognize that I think if you give people the benefit of the doubt that we're all trying to make this work, whether on the company side or dispensary side or even the regulator side and try to work and as dieter said, if you're not involved, you're going to get stuck with something that you had no involvement with. And overall I find like, you know, regulators, politicians, city councilors, they're looking for information, they need to understand this issue very quickly. They want to be educated on the issue and now is the time to really formalize opinions and ideas and get those out there. And it's more than just a reactionary protest or it's more than just posting on faCebook. It's actually, you know, lobbying lobbying is not something that has to be done with huge budgets and fancy firms. Lobbying is done by pounding the pavement and talking to your community and talking with you

Speaker 4: for regulators, a hillary. You did just that. So what's your advice to the dispensers that were just closed?

Speaker 6: Well, I actually, for the dispensary is all the way across the country. I think we have to wrap our head around the fact that the wild wild west is coming to an end and that if we want to be brought into a legal framework that there are going to be regulations and that we should be advocating to be a part, not just of a municipal regulations, but if federal regulations and we want to create one cohesive system, but on a more practical, uh, what can you do right now? Hire a counselor, hire a nutritionist, hire a certified herbalist, so create a fund where you're paying for the herbs and supplements other than cannabis that you're a health care practitioners are recommending to your patients. Take care of your patients. You will find amazing healthcare practitioners that are willing to work, not for $100 an hour, but they'll take some time out of their private practice to work for a more reasonable rate. If you're going to subsidize those healthcare services for free or for a nominal fee to your patients, spend some money and take care of your patients.

Speaker 4: There you go. I'm waiting for that. That's exactly right. That's exactly right. It all comes back to patient access. Alright. Uh, so that was the, that, that is the roots panel and we do have some q and a, a. I appreciate the fact that we did just go through the history of cannabis as, as hillary said, any questions from the group? Here we go. Just state your name if you, so choose organization if you are with them.

Speaker 9: Hi, my name is. I'm not currently with an organization previously with used to be with bds. I think you might be familiar with them. Um, my question is about the npr program over the last several years. I've been on the health Canada website and I downloaded the sample document for the mmpr that you take to your health physicians get side. And I've had this filled out, but my question is about the legality of this. I choose not to register with an lp. I've been using a dispensary Out of vancouver, a mail order service, uh, that existed a long, long before the lps. A system was in place. Um, but my question is, is does this piece of paper make me legal to have cannabis? No,

Speaker 7: no. The mmpr was written in a fashion and all the, all the kudos to health Canada for successfully circumventing the mma. Our flAws used by dispensary's, the mmpr document iS not itself illegal prescription or an exemption from the cdsa. The packaging that is delivered to you from a licensed producer is actually considered your license under the regulations specifically to avoid the situation that you, you're, you're in right now where you have a filled out document that has not been returned to an lp. Now, having said that, if you were to be charged, a conviction would likely never stand because you have an md on your side that signed it, but it doesn't offer you legal protection. It offers you a charter challengeable, uh, you know, support. But that means you're gonna have to spend the money to go through the court to them back that up. But no, the mmpr, the packaging as it gets delivered to you is considered your license. Health Canada was really sneaky and devilish about that, but they thought it through. So no, it doesn't offer you any legal protection.

Speaker 4: Okay. It's not strictly the packaging. The legally produced and starts cannabis itself is legal, the package is proof of that and I think the fundamental, their bottom line there is, you know, whatever you're doing for your own health, with your doctors support is fantastic, but you should be properly informed of some additional legal risk you're taking with your source of access. Okay. Your name, your organization. If you're with one of my name neil hanaman and with the cannabis rights coalition, which stands for all patients, rates, the grow your own. A question for all of you guys. Yeah, sorry. The mmpr was proven unconstitutional. How'd you guys to end state here? Promoted when you know it's completely wrong. It goeS against the patient's rights in. I'm going to rephrase that question and let's get what he's talking about. Far as proven,

Speaker 7: uh, unconstitutional. what is he saying

Speaker 10: you want to take?

Speaker 8: So in, in alarm it is correct. Uh, the justice fail and found that the mmpr did not meet the constitutional requirements of reasonable access. However, the actual delay of that is to august. So it's actually not unconstitutional until august. And this is a bit of my point. We're talking about how to fix and improve it. That's what we're trying to do. I don't think anyone here has said that it's a perfect system and uh, that's one for the mmpr and a dozen plus time for the mma or if you're counting.

Speaker 7: Exactly. And that's the rewrite that gets to the rewrite that you guys were talking about as far as august is concerned.

Speaker 8: And, and just quickly, I think the mma, our history shows using the courts to move the regulations for it is a very expensive, slow and ineffective way of regulation. It's meant to sort of flag an issue and then it goes back with politics through lobbying. And again, that's grassroots lobbying, not paid corporate lobbying. Um, and I think that we saw in the mar, the courts can't get it right on their own without a government that wants to. And I really hope, and I like to believe we have a government that doesn't want to get this right. I'm just going to take a little bit of time. Politics doesn't happen overnight. Hillary,

Speaker 6: uh, the lps that I work with, bedroom candidate, sister, company tweed, have a public position that they support patients having a right to grow at home. Nobody wants patients going to jail for growing at home.

Speaker 7: Okay. But this is, I mean their ears are open and your ears have to be open as well. We are, we're talking about collaboration. We're talking about doing this together. Without question. Any other questions? State your name and organization if you have one.

Speaker 10: My name is mark wild with medical marijuana.

Speaker 7: The question is do you see on august 24 some kind of provision for a lps in dispensary's to work together? I can go into that one, so as far as I understand. Great question. So the, the, the is a federally regulated program in storefronts fall under provincial jurisdiction now. That's one of the problems with the federal federally regulated program where it's an exemption under the cdsa. It firmly remains in the feds court. Any storefront distribution has to include a provincial coe component and there's no way in heck that they're going to be able to do that by august. So no likely not because it, that's a jurisdictional nightmare under the british north american act, a product or sales of product and goods and a medicine, our provincial jurisdictions, the only reason we have a federal program is because it remains technically illegal and the exemption exists under a federal statute, the cdsa.

Speaker 7: So highly unlikely. Now, having said that, if given a chance, I think they may allow that, but one of the things that would need to happen is the mmpr would have to be far more inclusive on the production side to allow for smaller scale producers, aggregators and our co ops to be able to supply the dispensary market because it's huge. So probably not, but I've been wrong before, but I don't think they have the tools to do it legally, if it remains illegal under the cdsa, uh, under the mmpr in terms of August 24th. And what you do expect, john, what are you expecting in the rewrite?

Speaker 8: Uh, I don't, I don't have a cryStal ball on that, but I think it'S more likely than not. There's some sort of a homegrown provision allowed. Uh, I think that's a relatively easy way to allow for access in terms of the bigger issues around product offerings, point of sale, uh, both for the constitutional reason of getting the federal and provincial governments together and also the time, I mean six months sounds like a long time, but it's a very short political window. I think we're going to see a small measure. I think many people in this room may not be satisfied with it. It may well get challenged again and that's fine, but I do think we have a government that's going to do their best to make a reasonable step forward in the short window they're afforded. And again, that's the problem with courts. It's a very blunt ruling and it's six months and do it what you can in that time if the right regulation took seven months, that doesn't work with the court. So I think we'll see an evolution over time and I think we should be open minded to the fact that this will progress over time and we should be active moving it forward to wherever individuals think the cannabis market should end up.

Speaker 7: okay. Hillary, did you want to jump in on that or to coverage? Got it. Next question. Your name and organization if you're with one.

Speaker 9: My name is Adam Burke and I'm with a big toke. Um, my question is for all three of you, what is your, what do you see was the main problem with the proliferation of dispensaries in toronto? Um, do you see project claudia as a inappropriate reaction and would you have done if you could have done something differently or promoted a different auction or do you have done that?

Speaker 7: Well, I think so. You might not have heard the whole panel. We did cover that and we did say that there's a lot more than the dispensary's could have done to engage at the community level and prove the relationship with patients so that they wouldn't have kind of come to the head of product a project. Claudia weill answer for the panel because we didn't cover that. I'd add in one thing, just just to be clear, if they had done that, I think product claudia, claudia would have happened anyways because they were so far behind the eight ball on engaging and regulating dispensary's that they felt they had to do something and that something turned out to be an overblown response in a waste of taxpayer dollars and they'll probably pay for that in the coming weeks anyways. So, and public opinion would have been maybe on, you know, a little bit further behind dispensary's, uh, your name and organization you are with jerry borrows from the international association of aerospace machinists union.

Speaker 9: And my question today is not to bring back the recent news, but uh, in the media, the lps have been painted as the parties responsible for the raids and the people that were lobbying to have this kind of stuff happened. I guess I just want to clear the air and I understand like it's more probably more community a disappointment at this time, but I just wanted it out of the bag. We'll just feed in on thAt.

Speaker 6: Anybody want to feed in on that? Well, I mean I know for a fact that a canopy which owns bedroom cannon tweet is not lobbying for this kind of a crackdown. They've been lobbying for the regulation of dispensary's and in fact that the, even the industry association for the licensed producers that they do not have a mandate to lobby for a legal crackdown. I can't speak for what all individual licensed producers are doing, but I can speak for canopy and for the, uh, industry association.

Speaker 5: Hi, I'm, I'm a pharmacist looking at the industry with a telescopic lens. Ben, what is your opinion in terms of looking at the future, having a standard platform amongst all of the lps or whatever producers there are to have a standard standardized formulary?

Speaker 7: Yeah, I'll hop in for the first one. Go ahead. I'm. One of the big issues around standardization of products right now is that there's no standard for testing and reporting of the constituents of cannabis and there's multiple pharmacopeia as that are used across the industry and they're desperate and don't really add up. So Canada actually has a really unique opportunity with a federally regulated program to come up with those standards, unlike the us where it state by state, municipality by municipality, um, and I think there needs to be a divergence between whole plant cannabis and derivative manufactured pharmaceuticals because they're very different. I think it's actually a mistake to apply pharmaceutical standards, the whole plant cannabis in the mmpr because they're artificially raises the cost. Having said that, there's a subsection of patients that probably need access to that because they're at high risk for infections and things of that nature. So part of improving the mmpr would be a changing division three and division seven, allowing new pharmacopeia isn't coming up with some standardization for testing and reporting of cannabinoids and thc and things of that nature.

Speaker 5: Hilary, so

Speaker 6: badger can produce as a perfectly standardized product, but that doesn't mean that you can dose it the way that you do with allopathic medicine. So just because the medicine is perfectly standardized, it still doesn't give the physician the ability to say you need this much of a gram or this many milligrams three times a day. I've been educating patients about how to safely use cannabis for 20 years and even in the environment of a standardized product. Once a physician gives authorizes access, patients have to start a journey of being well informed, being educated and empowered in terms of understanding what's the difference between an indycar and sativa. What does thc mean? What does cbd mean, what's the difference between inhaling it and eating it? I work with a group of complex chronic pain patients at the vancouver general hospital and I meet with them every month and some of them it has taken us like three or four months to really dial in exactly what they need to be using, how many times a day, and it changes based on how well they slept, what they've eaten, and so the most important thing around education, around distributing cannabis to patients is understanding that unlike allopathic and pharmaceutical medicines, it's very important for fish, for patients to to have a significant amount of education and follow up and ongoing counseling.

Speaker 7: there we go. Hillary? Yes you sir, who you are and who you're with.

Speaker 9: Neil out of north street consulting. Just curious, the ruling in february, a lot of patients who grow their own, what are your opinions in terms of assuming the growth in inpatients that will do that and I think everyone supports it. They ship it to you. sorry, what? Where do you expect that patients will find starting materials if we get a big growth in patients that do go wrong?

Speaker 7: Yeah, that's a really good question. They'll probably be forced to break the law just like some of the licensed producers were forced to break the law. And so his prairie plant systems, that's one of the weird quirks around this whole program. Um, I, I would imagine grandfathered mar growers that's technically have a section 56 exemption that was issued by the cOurts will be able to transition and there'll become a pseudo marketplace for those genetics to be transferred and that some licensed producers may be allowed to also transfer under a 53. I cAn't remember what it is, but that's a. Yeah, that's a massive issues because seeds technically remain illegal in this country. It was, it's a hodgepodge of regulations that are going to be really tough, but I'd love to see how they're going to solve that. could be interesting. Health Canada, at one point when they receive phone callS, uh, under the mma are when people were asking for startIng materials and before they had access to them, used to send them to mark emery. So on one hand, while mark emery was being extra day to the United States, our federal government was saying, we don't know how to help you go ask him. And this happened with disPensary's, you know, go to see the dispenser like manna from heaven. It's the manna from heaven thing. So likely will see the same thing. All right. You sir, who you are and who you're with.

Speaker 11: Hi. Um, my name's rob. Don't come from vIctoria, bc. We do land of understanding cooperation. I guess I'm really interested tO learn what the position, particularly of the toronto municipal government, when I have a look at the vancouver government right in the moment there's been a transformation of the dispensary's as we probably know, there's well over 200 at one point now. They're now they're at the point where they're, uh, a lot in business numbers, official business numbers to 20 to 50 official dispensary's and they're becoming like businesses within the community. Um, is there any cooperation between communities in terms of toronto because it's somewhat of a template. I would hope It's being rubbed at somewhat of a template that can carry on because it's successful. The dispensary's out west, you wouldn't even know how they're affecting or, or causing any issue within the community.

Speaker 7: I can say with certainty that municipalities are working closely together on this issue. Certainly in bc and across the country. Uh, vancouver is unique because it has its own charter, which means that it's kind of gotten, it had the ability to write its own laws and has tools that other cities don't have. toronto likewise operates under its own charter victoria. On the, on the other hand, operates under the local government act, which means that it's the standard set of tools and bylaws for incorporation that's used across this country in 98 percent of the communities. So what victoria does is actually more likely to be adopted by other cities and that's what they're watching right now closely is victoria, not vancouver because vancouver like toronto is the center of their own universe and it doesn't really apply to other municipalities, but yeah, you're correct. They are watching victoria depending how well that goes, it may see adoption in many communities across the country as a proactive approach before legalization because what they are right now will virtually remain the same under legalization because it's just land use policy. It has nothing to do with regulating the product.

Speaker 4: Two final questions for the panel from me. Uh, as we go into, uh, this future that we're talking about or rewrite in august, legal, recreational, you call it up here next year, at least being written in a. What advice do you have for everybody sitting in this audience who would like to support the industry? Whatever it is and whatever it becomes, what do You suggest that folks do to take action in supporting legal cannabis in Canada?

Speaker 8: John, I'll jump quickly. So I think what's really exciting here is it's a politically driven change now. it's not core driven both for hopefully improving the medical system, but particularly for adult use. So if you have an opinion on the matter, I think you get it out there. Um, local, provincial and federal politicians are all going to play a role in this community. Groups are gonna play a role in this. So if you care about how our cannabis industry looks in 2017 or 2018, now is the time to get involved and now is the time to let people know an advocate for where you think things should be and how you think we should get there.

Speaker 4: Data. Uh hmm. it's a good question. Lead by example. And don't be afraid of promise because we're not going to get everything we want. And when you say can promise you mean compromise, right? Yeah. That one. Just want to make sure hillary

Speaker 7: focus on the patients as we move forward

Speaker 6: into legalization and everyone's busy with, you know, taxes and what are we going to be like dispensary's and all of these big issues. Keep your eye on the patients.

Speaker 4: There you go. Okay, final question now. Final question. As far as the soundtrack of your respective lives named once song one track that's got to be on there. It's the final question we ask on the podcast all the time, john. Uh, I'm going to pass on that. Okay. We're coming back to you though. You better come up with one dieter. Oh, skyrockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Hey, go. Amazing. That is a first fantastic hillary.

Speaker 6: Well, uh, being the only person in the country that's crazy enough to have one foot in my old dispensary and one foot in an lp. I would say the theme of star wars,

Speaker 4: john, bring us home. I think I'm going to go with the waiting is the hardest part. The way that's tom petty. Ladies and gentlemen, John Fowler, dina macpherson, hillary black. thank you so much. Very much. Appreciate your time. And theirs. All right, and there you have the roots,

Speaker 2: appreciate pearson john, founder and the folks over at lyft, specifically brown for the whole thing together. Really interesting conversation. Really interesting. I hope you found it interesting. Thanks so much for listening.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.