CENTRAL OKANAGAN - A new clinic focusing on treating patients for pain management and prescribing medical marijuana as the treatment is looking to open in Kelowna.
Medical Cannabis Resource Centre Inc. is already operating a clinic in Vancouver, just recently bought an existing clinic in Kamloops, and is now eyeing the Kelowna market for possible expansion, the company’s business development manager Ron Bell says.
“The population and the location, in our view, makes it a prime location,” Bell adds. “We want to be up there, but a lot of it will depend on the help we get from local physicians and finding the right location.”
The company promises, on its website, to connect patients to a physician who has an understanding of cannibis and the medicines derived from it and then to one of Canada’s licensed medical marijuana producers.
Bell emphasizes the company is not a dispensary, does not stock marijuana at any of its clinics and, in fact, refuses to send clients to them.
“They are selling a product that has not been tested by Health Canada and they are operating illegally,” Bell says. “The licensed producers have spent millions of dollars setting up a safe system. Why wouldn’t we use them?"
Bell says the company acquired a couple of hundred Kelowna-based clients during its purchase in October of Kamloops-based ReaLeaf Wellness Centres, adding further impetus to a Kelowna expansion.
Beyond that, Bell says the changing political climate — from a Conservative government that grouped marijuana in with the worst of drugs to a Liberal government that is promising to legalize it — has made expansion plans easier.
“We think it’s the right time to introduce our clinic style into your community,” he adds.
Still, Bell acknowledges there won’t likely be a line-up of physicians waiting to sign on in Kelowna, as many here and throughout the province continue to refuse to prescribe the drug.
“They have every reason to be skeptical,” he says. "There hasn’t been enough research done and that’s the fault of our political system."
Bell says company president Terry Roycroft will be touring Kelowna at the end of November, spending a couple of days looking at prospective locations and talking to local doctors. He will likely make a decision on the Kelowna expansion by January, Bell adds.
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