Marijuana dispensary too close to schools, says Qadri

(Shad Qadri shared these comments in his weekly newsletter to residents today.)

As many of you may be aware, a new medicinal marijuana dispensary, Magna Terra, is slated to open soon at 83 Iber Road.
This will be the City of Ottawa’s sixth unlicensed marijuana dispensary of a potential nine in the coming months. Licensed dispensaries, such as the one in Smiths Falls aptly named “Tweed”, operate on a mail-order basis. Doctor’s prescriptions can be submitted and product is handled and packaged in a plant before being delivered directly to its recipient. These services are safe, reliable, and ensure that all operations are within the guidelines sanctioned by the government of Ontario.

Unlicensed dispensaries, alternatively, do not operate within these same regulations.

Following my discussions with owner, Franco Vigile, Magna Terra on Iber Road will operate as a storefront business, dispensing medicinal marijuana to anyone presenting a valid doctor’s prescription. I have been assured that at this particular facility, a doctor will be on site for review. Additionally, no product will be available within the visible sales floor. I did request at this time that a community open forum be held prior to the official announcement of their opening however the owner opted instead to ignore this request and instead will take the form of an open house on August 2nd and 3rd from 12-7 PM.

I will reiterate that while I appreciate the medicinal benefits that marijuana may provide to patients suffering from both physical and mental illnesses, an operation of this nature opening and operating willingly without a license is irresponsible to both local residents and clientele being serviced – particularly when licensed channels such as the marijuana manufacturing plant, Tweed, already operate effectively for residents of Ottawa.

One of my major concerns remains the problems posed in location as 83 Iber Road is a mere 15 minute walk from both Jean Paul II Elementary and Paul-Desmarais High School, a factor that would have been taken into consideration by a licensed establishment.

I understand the need for a market of this nature but there is a time and a place for everything; as the federal government works to legalize sale of the drug and proper mechanisms are implemented to take circumstances like this into consideration, only then will the concerns and needs of all residents be heard.

The City does not license or otherwise regulate (other than through zoning) this type of activity and until they are opened, there is little Police can do but monitor the establishment. Similarly, if any food or beverage items are to be sold, approval must be given through health inspection.

I do encourage residents to attend the facility’s open house on August 2nd and 3rd from 12-7 PM to learn more about this facility.

Until that time, I will work closely with Ottawa Police to ensure that this facility does not over step the bounds of what is legal and that community needs are met.

I would still like to request resident feedback on this dispensary. If you have not already, please share with me your thoughts and ideas by emailing me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca


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12 thoughts on “Marijuana dispensary too close to schools, says Qadri”

  1. To the Residents of Stittsville and surrounding communities,

    It’s really unfortunate to see certain attempts made to install fear into the community after all of the efforts I have made to ensure this facility will be ran safely and responsibly with full regard for the surrounding communities. I would like to make a couple clarifications to Councillor Qadri’s comments.

    Firstly, we are absolutely not a storefront, for a matter of fact this facility entails a 3 stage process. When you walk into the front of the clinic, you cannot even gain access to the reception area until you are electronically granted access by our receptionist. If and when you are granted access into the reception you will then be required to present a valid medical cannabis prescription along with a government issued photo ID. If your able to present the first two pieces of documentation, you will then be required to fill out and sign our clinic etiquette form. Once you’ve become a member of this clinic there’s a second barrier that you need to be electronically granted access through before being exposed to any of the medicine. That alone should eliminate any concerns that a youth may decide to walk into the clinic one day and potentially be exposed to anything other than drywall and glass.

    Secondly, I definitely feel that I have been considerate of the Stittsville community throughout the entire process of putting this facility together. I have self-imposed certain regulations to ensure just that. This facility is not in a foot traffic area what so ever and is 1km (1,000 meters) from the closest school and 1.3kms (1,300 meters) from the other. As an example; the city of Vancouver initiated regulations whereby a “Cannabis Dispensary” cannot be within 300 meters of a school zone and/or a community Center. I have more than tripled that distance to be sensitive and understanding to the communities potential concerns.

    It’s quite clear that there are some that may not truly see the medicinal benefit of this medicine nor understand the reasons outlining why the mail order system does not work and isn’t ideal for most. There is a significantly large public demand for this method of obtaining medicine. As a young Canadian and compassionate entrepreneur I feel I have taken the appropriate steps to help illustrate to all levels of government that this model can work safely and efficiently for all parties involved.

    I would also like to add that I take full responsibility for opening Ottawa’s first Medical Cannabis Clinic at 903 Carling Ave. which first opened as “The Ottawa Medical Dispensary” and now operates under Magna Terra as well. This specific clinic has been operative for almost a year now with our City Councillor Jeff Leiper confirming publicly that there has been zero complaints by the surrounding community.

    Once again I would like to personally invite the Stittsville community along with surrounding communities to our community engagement days August 2nd and 3rd from 12pm-7pm whereby the community can have a chance to see the facility for themselves and have any potential concerns addressed. Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

    Sincerely,

    Franco Vigile
    President
    Magna Terra

  2. Franco Vigile

    People have been told this before I am not going to name names but there are certain dispensing places that require no md note no id etc.

    1. so what? pot is safer than chocolate. people shouldn’t have to have a prescription for pot any more than they should have a prescription for coffee.

  3. Great measured response! Teens have easier access to worse drugs in their own homes (prescriptions and alcohol), hopefully logic will prevail in the community.

  4. Candice

    I really hope your not saying teens should be allowed to use pot as this goes aginst what the feds are saying medical experts and legal weed places.

  5. Jayme…

    I think interpreting Candice’s comment was somehow suggesting teens should be allowed to use pot goes is ridiculous. She merely pointed out a considerable number of homes have alcohol and prescription meds available to be used by kids. Taking this approach, in my opinion just highlights an uninformed bias you seems to have on this matter.

  6. Shad,

    Your attempt at political pandering is pretty obvious. Instead of using your role as a “leader” in the community to support a new local business, or at the very least provide unbiased information, you chose to throw some shade on a new business before they even open.

    The addiction and health issues related to alcohol, which is now legally available in grocery stores are too numerous to mention. Some of these grocery stores are also within a 15 minute walk of schools. Where is your concern in this regard?
    Coffee, alcohol, and nicotine are all more addictive than cannabis and readily available in businesses all over town. The number of people who become addicted to and / or die from the over-prescription of pain medication is increasing every year. Cannabis is a substance that has proven to be beneficial in treating a number of medical conditions.

    Rather than pile on and support an uninformed point of view, why not act like a responsible elected official and not misrepresent the situation. Your false “store front” statement and the suggestion this business is too close to schools are idiotic. Magna Terra is located in an industrial park. Any kids walking along Iber Road are in more peril from the heavy truck traffic than they are from they pot they won’t be able to buy when they get to the dispensary. The federal government is in the process of taking steps to legalize cannabis. Rather than continuing to have your head stuck in the sand and pretending nothing is happening around you, I would suggest looking into the issues related to some of the change that is in the process of happening right now. At the very least, you’ll be a little better prepared to represent the constituents who elected you.

  7. Ken

    First I think what this company is doing is right and should be used as a role model now with that said this idea you seem to be getting at that weed would not harm anyone is not true for those under 21 pot has very serious health effects.

  8. The prices are insane… 400 for an ounce? $200 on the streets! If you really care about your patients keep it affordable.

  9. I am very disappointed in Shad Qadri. He is completely ignoring the overwhelming community support that this business is receiving, and is instead, trying to force the police to take action in order to reaffirm his own personal beliefs.

    Closing down dispensaries that only sell to people with valid prescriptions is ridiculous. All this would do is cause unnecessary stress for the customers, who by all accounts, are already struggling with debilitating diseases like MS, PTSD, and Huntingtons. Is that really the best use of police resources?

    I mistakenly assumed that the police and elected municipal officials were first, and foremost, focussed on public safety. This place has medical personnel on staff, sells only to qualified people and the local community supports it. Where is the danger?

    Everyone knows that the law in changing to allow these types of businesses. Give the increasing frequency of gang violence, shootings and other major crimes in our City, why on earth would we devote limited police resources to this?

  10. Well said Mr. Vigile, I am your #9th client in Stittsville, and I have to say I am very impressed of not only the quality of service you got, but I feel that I am talking to qualified people (Mark, Brenen, Jordan and even your own dad), and I have to tell you that I am so proud to tell you that it has been my 10th day today without all of my 4 different prescribed drugs that had a lot of side effect on me and not helping for my depression. I was thaught by your staff a lot of knowledge and I am now only on medical marijuana, and that is all thanks to your staff and the help they gave, even going beyond what they were expected. I tried many times to taper down my original medications, but it made me so ill, that I couldn’t do it, but with the help of cannabis, I was able to and as days pass by, I feel better to stronger and truly happy!

    I suffer from severe depression, ADHD and a bit of anxiety, and with the medications, omg I felt numb (good & bad emotions), not to count that my life felt it was going in the drain. Well now I am right now feeling the happiest I have ever been, I can now slow down my brain to think, I can focus, got no more anxiety and I don’t feel my depression while on cannabis and I am now able to focus why the pain started to begin with. Their is even some path in my brain that I am now able to visit and even remember things that I forgot and made me realized what brought me to this depression. Can you imagine, for the first time of my life, it is as if everything now makes sense, I can now think properly, and my pen when I write, can now follow my head, before my head was too fast for my hand.

    I am thankful to be out of that dark long tunnel, and now I feel that there’s hope for people who like me suffer from depression, anxiety and ADHD.

    I also used to shake when I would get nervous, now it is a thing of the past.

    Just a few comments about what Shad wrote, I strongly believe that this private health establishment should be well reputed instead of the other way around, because they are helping a lot of people like me who couldn’t enjoy life anymore, who weren’t so lucky in finding the perfect traditional medication (2.5 years of being used as a guinea pig).

    I do agree that a business needs to be licensed, but in this particular business, it is all the clients that are licensed, so why be worried. Also perhaps some of you should know, that once you do have your license, they only renew it for 3 months at the beginning, and we do sign some paper to know what we are and not aloud to do, like for example, you can not sell it, give it to another person, can’t drive between 6 to 8 hours after you used edibles, etc.

    You can’t compare “Tweed” who is a private growing company that has been approved by “Health Canada”, to a private health clinic, that yes you might have to pay a bit more per gram, but that money is so worth it, when it comes to properly trained people to tell you what to do, what not to do and also what is true and what is not true. “Tweed” is a really good company, don’t get me wrong because I did deal with them, but you never see them, they don’t do a follow-up of what worked, what didn’t work for you, and at “Magna Terra” the people who are serving you that give you your prescribed medical marijuana are nurses that are looking after your health first instead of your money.

    As for schools, I really do like Ken’s comment on it, theirs better change for a kid to get hit by a car their… so true!

    Also so true that all through Stittsville’s development in the past 11 years, we saw different businesses growing, like LCBO, Beer Store, now the Independent Grocery store who now has beer. I really do not want to start a fight, but if kids really wants to have drugs, they will ask a friend in school who will refer him or her to a street drug dealer, I wouldn’t want that for my kids, but that is reality! So no need to worry of a teen going to a facility where it is obvious and they could get cut by their parents and also due to the fees of services, are more expensive then street drug dealers.

    You know in Stittsville we really do not have any big bars young adults can hang around, but I bet you any time soon it will come in the area… THAT, I would worry more then a private health clinic who cares about people who are sick and trying to get better. A lot of people these days are sad, depressed, and sometimes, just stressed, and what do we do in those situations after a long week at work on a Friday or Saturday night with friends, yep you guessed right, we simply poor ourselves a glass of wine, beer, or else, well that habit is the same as taking a joint to relax, and plus if you exceed with alcohol, that can be very dangerous. Just the same way alcohol used to be illegal, and people had to fight for it, and now it is socially accepted in public with applied conditions, the same way in a few years from now, weather you like it or not, it will be socially accepted trust me!

    Perhaps Stittsville could be the first city in Ontario to open it first cannabis bar on Iber where it is socially accepted to consume cannabis with all of us who has been approved and have our license!

    Cheers, Chantal

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