Medical pot store to open in London
By Sara Marett
The issue of smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes just got hotter with plans to open a marijuana club in London by March.
The idea of the club was initiated by the Medical Marijuana Buyers Clubs of Ontario, an organization which plans to open six other clubs in various locations across the province and will illegally sell pot to those who require it for relief from a serious illness, providing they have documentation from a medical doctor.
"We are at the forefront of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes this has nothing to do with legalization for recreational use," said club organizer Peter Young, who is also owner of London's Organic Traveller store.
Lynn Harichy, a 36-year-old who has been fighting the government's marijuana laws for several months, will be the owner of London's club. She acknowledged she is taking a huge risk by operating the facility but said if it helps people, it is worth it.
"I will either bring this issue to the forefront of the government or I will be put in jail for life," she said. Harichy smokes marijuana five to six times a day for relief from pain associated with multiple sclerosis and will go to court in April for charges of possession of the drug.
Young explained those who have a letter from their doctor confirming they suffer from illness such as AIDS/HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis or arthritis will be eligible to buy marijuana from the club. "We will be selling it in small quantities so people will be deterred from selling what they buy from us on the street," he said.
Organizers of the club explained they would like to sit down with Mayor Dianne Haskett and the London Police Department to come to an understanding about the club. "Unfortunately, we have a mayor who is fairly ignorant of issues facing people in London," Young said.
Haskett said she is adamantly opposed to the club. "This kind of thing is not appropriate, it is not in conformity with the criminal code and I trust it will be dealt with in the appropriate manner by the police," she said.
London police Sgt. John O'Flaherty said what the club organizers are doing is illegal and although regulating the club will not be a priority for the London police, their drug unit will eventually be looking at it once it is open. "This is just part of their agenda to make marijuana legal."
Young added although the club is not yet open, his store is currently encouraging students to grow their own marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes to save money they would otherwise spend on buying the drug. "With tuition going up, this is a great way to save money."