Medical marijuana simply means the use of cannabis, either the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or some of its essential extracts to treat disease or improve symptoms. The marijuana plant is not approved as a medicine, but there is limited evidence showing that it can help in treating a range of illnesses. It can treat chronic pain and muscles spasms as well as increase appetite for patients with HIV/AIDS and reduce vomiting and nausea during chemotherapy. So far, scientists have not conducted enough research to determine whether these benefits of marijuana outweigh its side effects and risks in patients.
Medical marijuana retailers and dispensaries are illegal in most parts of the world, but there are major cities now starting to regulate these retailers with licensing agreements. Since 2014, the City of Vancouver has allowed the retailers, producers, and processors to operate after obtaining licenses from the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). There are several retailers in the city, each required to pay a $30,000 license fee.
State licensing requirements
• The marijuana facilities should be located at least 1000 feet from the nearest school, playground, library or park.
• The prospective owners have to undergo a criminal and background check to ensure their intentions are legitimate.
• Full cooperation with security, operational, advertising, labeling, transportation and any other requirement.
• Adults can purchase up to an ounce of cannabis from the retailers, but can only consume it on a private non-commercial property away from the public glare.
• The sale of edibles, like pot brownies or cookies, is prohibited.
• Before construction, the owner should have an updated license, a building permit, site plan or any other approvals.
• The facility should be indoors only.
• The retail facility should be located in the Community and General Commercial zones only, and a minimum of 300 feet from the each other.
• Marijuana products and any valuables or cash to be stored in a secured safe.
• Adherence to a closing time, which is at 11 pm.
• Compliance with state standards, especially being at least 1000 feet from children’s facilities and recreational sites.
• Production and processing facilities should be located in the Light and Heavy Industrial zones only.
Under the provincial laws, individual medically authorized users or growers are not prohibited from possessing or growing small amounts of marijuana. In fact, the sick can grow their marijuana as long as they do not consume it in public or in front of a minor.
There are significant strides towards the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. The number of licensed recreational marijuana retailers keeps increasing, and some new incentives and laws are softer on the retailers. Thus, more patients can access the medical marijuana and get treated.