Medical marijuana rezoning approved by Council

By Chad Klassen
October 21, 2015 - 11:46am

Dr. Richard Brownlee has been working for two years seeking approval for a medical marijuana facility in Dallas. 

Now he's one step closer. At a public hearing, Council unanimously approved a rezoning request for the property.

"We were hoping to find out from Health Canada first before we went through this, but because it's been dragging on so long, we thought that we would do the rezoning now, so that we're prepared if we ever do get the license," says Dr. Brownlee, who has the Welcome Back MRI clinic in Sahali.

But the rezoned property still needs approval from Health Canada. Dr. Brownlee and his partner Augustus Marks, the property owner at 8170 Dallas Drive, have been in contact with Health Canada, as it seeks out more information on the proposal. 

"Health Canada has a huge document with a bunch of regulations in terms of security, record-keeping, the ability to do recalls, and having a lab on site, so you can test all the product fro contaminants and what's in it."

They are currently in the security clearance stage. everyone involved in the project is required to submit fingerprints and have a background check.

Once that has been cleared, they can start developing the property. 

"Then they'll do an inspection, and then if they're satisfied, we'll get a license to grow," says Brownlee. "Then you have to test it, make sure it's a good product before they'll give you a license to sell it. So it could still be a several year process."

But with Justin Trudeau and the Liberals forming government, the promised legalization of marijuana can only help the process, and Dr. Brownlee hopes that's true. 

He also wants the regulations to change for how marijuana can be used. 

"Some of the restrictions they have right now in terms of how people can use it. It's only dry product, which means you have to heat it. Heating it converts it from an inert and psychoactive product. There's other ways of using it without getting high," says Brownlee. "And also the distribution. I think it should be distributed through pharmacies. Right now, they require you to either mail it or courier it to the individual client."

While this is a business venture, Dr. Brownlee wants to provide his patients with an outlet for pain relief. 

"A lot of the patients we see in pain are prescribed narcotics and become addicted to narcotics, and from my experience, the people who use medical marijuana tend to use it much more sparingly. They tend to use it at night and they seem to function at a higher level than a lot of people."

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