January 25, 2015, Toronto, ON – Canadians have been hearing so much about cannabis these days that some have taken to calling it “CANNAda.” Promises of legalization are in the air, Premiers are publicly musing about where to sell marijuana in the coming legal marketplace, vapour lounges where people consume cannabis are opening even in small communities, and what has been described as a proliferation of Vancouver style dispensaries are popping up in Toronto over the last several months – and every day brings another news report.
Though these are exciting times for cannabis activists, some of those most in need of access to this natural medicine have found navigating the current system to be a disorienting mess. There are reports of difficulty finding a doctor to sign off on prescriptions; of high prices, and low quality product, of mail order government “schwag”, and of profiteers around every corner greedy for the dollars many patients don’t have to spend. All of this can be confusing – and intimidating – to sick people who just need their medicine.
Enter True Compassion Toronto (“TCT”). TCT is a Not For Profit compassion club that opened in Toronto’s west end in the fall of 2015. With a strict patient-only mandate (their motto is “Patients Serving Patients”), the address of the facility is given out only to members whose doctors have confirmed they are being treated for one of the ailments or illnesses that cannabis medicine is known to alleviate. Not only does TCT provide the finest in medical marijuana and patient care – but after trying the product in their testing room, a patient can also have access to a herbalist, a reflexologist, a massage therapist, or any number of natural healers that will soon be sharing their space. This is something no other compassion club in Toronto has made available to patients in a canna-friendly environment.
When asked about the risks in opening what is essentially an illegal business under the current Canadian laws, Rick, one of the partners, says he’s willing to take the risk. “… I so strongly believe in the power of this medicine, and the model of compassion centres versus the current licensed producer system in delivering quality, effective, affordable medicine that I’ll take the risk so that others can have safe access to relief they need.”
TCT truly is an asset to Toronto as well as to the patients they serve. Their commercial landlord is happy with the improvements they’ve made to the property both inside and out. Local businesses and area residents are thrilled that TCT has taken a long vacant building, added new outdoor lighting have and has vastly improved the safety of the area in which they operate. They currently have a bin set up in the centre to collect food for the needy. They are planning a community cleanup event.
TCT donated $3,400 to support the dreams of athlete Anthony Lue, (a young man who lost the use of his legs in a 2009 industrial accident) who with their financial help is now able to take a trip to compete at the Paralympics in Rio this year. They offer what they call a “Counter Love” program – free medicine for those who can’t afford to pay (offered to members on a case by case basis for those in great need.)
The partners have determined that True Compassion Toronto will be an example of excellence in the emerging industry. “We are willing to put up our facility as a benchmark,” the partners say.
They are open to visits from the media and have invited local city Councillors, MPs and MPPS who represent the area to take a tour and learn about the positive services they provide.