Its often we find in life that the things that help us the most at our lowest points are unexpected and not always recognizable. I didn’t realize it at the time but no matter how bad I felt walking into my dispensary, I always felt a bit happier, healthier and more positive walking out the door.

I would go there with every intention of getting what I needed as quickly as possible but my plan was always getting positively foiled by a doobie-smoking Dan! At first I would always turn him down, although longing to step into the box and he always knew it. Pointing out that no matter what I was doing, I had at least 30 seconds I deserved to take for myself, he would hold out a smouldering skunk cannon from inside the box.

Not a day goes by where I don’t stop to take 30 seconds to think about how grateful I am that he did that and how much that room changed my life.

I am lucky enough to live and budtend in a city where our mayor and city council are progressive enough to regulate dispensaries rather than have them strictly shut down. And I am so glad! My doctor won’t sign cannabis prescriptions for anyone under any circumstances, even if your life depends on it. Without City Hall bravely listening to what the people want, as opposed to the federal government, I really would not have had access to my medicine; I couldn’t have made edibles, salves or exposed my body to the broad cannabinoid profiles strain variety offered me. I truly appreciate the City of Victoria allowing me to buy the plant that gave me my life back. I just wish they would let me use it.

The risks I face when I consume in public

Unfortunately, the new bylaws stop short of allowing for places where you can consume cannabis onsite and if you are like me, a medicinal user with conservative doctor, you have no protection. Use it in your home and risk being evicted if you are renting, and sick people can’t afford to move. Leaving the only option to consume in public.

I don’t like making people uncomfortable when I am using cannabis. All I want is to be able to relax and let my medication take effect on my body, mind and spirit and having people near me that don’t like what I’m doing messes this right up. There is nothing worse than having nowhere to go but the street to smoke and turning the corner to make eye contact with a mom and three kids. The fact that these kids are exposed to far worse things like alcohol doesn’t make me feel any differently about a parent having the right to have these discussions at their discretion. I don’t want any kids or parents to be around my cannabis use and that is my right as much as theirs.

If you want to use your medicine, the only alternative is to find a dark alley way or corner tucked away from the public because the stinky smoke will definitely alert anyone looking for a vulnerable target. After all, everyone knows that while cannabis can be miraculous, it does not give those with little mobility invincible strength, amazing speed and a Bruce Lee-like reaction time for self-defense. Not to mention, depending on how it is used, it is common knowledge that cannabis can make a person feel quite impaired. As a 29-year-old female with a genuine medical need, I have been in several situations where someone has smelled me smoking and decided to approach me just because of it. I shouldn’t have to put myself at risk just to be able to inhale my medication.

Onsite consumption rooms enriches lives in so many ways

I have a girlfriend with Lupus. She uses CBD and THC capsules on a regular basis but when her symptoms flare up, it becomes about catching them. The best way to do that is getting a quick release of cannabis into her bloodstream through inhalation as this is the most effective medication for her with the least amount of side effects. If it is an emergency at home, she will smoke a joint in her bathroom, taking care to have her boyfriend keep their son far away from their bedroom. If she is at work or is able to get down to the club, she comes to the box to use the Volcano.

A Volcano Vaporizer is a Class 2 Registered device with Health Canada because of how safe they are for the lungs. There is also a great deal of evidence showing how vaporizing cannabis at different temperatures will maximize the release of different cannabinoids, and Volcanos allow for custom temperature settings. I asked her one day why she doesn’t have one at home and I got two very simple responses from her: her son gets into everything she has at home and that she can’t afford the $700 it costs to buy one.

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“The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital.” – Mark Hyman

    We all know that being sick really sucks but unless you have been through the hell that is chronic illness, you can never understand how awful it is suffering through every second. It is not just the painful physical symptoms, it is seeing everyone around you seeming to be happy, healthy, successful and pain-free when you are the furthest thing from. Everyday you are constantly reminded of the experiences you are missing out on because you cannot stand as long, walk as far or in some cases be able to even leave the house. The places that make you feel better about this are truly special and essential when you are recovering from something. I speak for myself as well as many others when I say that going to the box helped me build myself back, cell by cell.

Dan would hand me that doobie and I would feel instantly at home within a few seconds. It is a safe place where everyone is accepted regardless of creed, race, religion, sex or beliefs, and the only major rules are respect each other and no tobacco. I can sit down with a group of people and all of us are very different; we come from all walks of life and are ill but we have all found relief of some sort in this amazing plant. We can share ideas, give each other support and most importantly remind each other that no one is alone in this struggle to live healthy happy lives. And all without pissing off any neighbours or landlords.

 

Taking Healing Higher – The Green Ceiling

    This option used to be available only until 6:45 pm most nights until The Green Ceiling, our cannabis community centre opened its doors. I can use expensive equipment included with my entry, go to local art shows, get involved with activism meetings, attend classes there, see both comedy and music shows without being around alcohol and I don’t even have to get up off the couch! This place has received a total of $3500 in fines trying to pressure it to close and push us onto the streets again…and we aren’t hurting anyone!

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If we are going to live in a world that recognizes the benefits of cannabis, we have to allow for people to use it. Attacking onsite consumption should only happen if these are valid complaints being placed by people who are directly affected from that use. Unfortunately, as a wise person once said: “Common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden”.