It was more than 20 years ago that Bradford McIntyre began purchasing edible doses of medicinal marijuana from the Compassion Club on Commercial Drive.
Now, as the city looks to finally bring Vancouver’s over-the-counter cannabis sales under a regulatory framework, McIntyre said in a phone interview he’s worried that the plan to normalize patients’ access will have the opposite effect for thousands of people who rely on cannabis but prefer not to smoke the drug.
“Edible medicinal-marijuana products have been available in British Columbia for decades,” McIntyre told the Straight. “The city is out of touch.”
McIntyre has lived with HIV/AIDS for 31 years. He said he takes medicinal marijuana to ease pain he experiences as a result of nerve damage caused by a treatment called AZT that he received in the 1990s.
According to McIntyre, the effects of edible cannabis last longer compared to smoking the drug; edibles are easier and more convenient to consume (and not subject to the city’s ubiquitous smoking bans); and when one ingests marijuana in the form of something like a brownie, one avoids the respiratory side effects associated with lighting a joint.
On June 11, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a federal ban on edibles was unconstitutional. In response, the City of Vancouver released a statement saying it will continue to oppose the sale of edibles, citing a concern for children. The release notes that the city’s proposed rules will likely allow the sale of cannabis oils, which people can use to make edibles themselves.
“The proposed regulations do not compromise the individual’s right to access edible medical marijuana,” the statement reads.
McIntyre acknowledged concerns about edibles being appealing to children, but he argued that existing rules on who can access medicinal marijuana are enough to ensure the drug remains out of the reach of minors.
“We keep our medicine away from our children,” he said. “It’s the same thing for people who are using medicinal cannabis.”
The City of Vancouver began public hearings on proposed rules for dispensaries on June 10. The series’ third session is scheduled for Monday (June 22).