Red Deer city council may have kiboshed a proposed medical marijuana production facility, but it has spurred discussion about the medicinal plant.
On Monday Medcan Solutions Inc. failed in its rezoning attempt to develop a facility in a Red Deer business park.
Nicole Raffa, manager at Gord’s Smoke Shop, said she’s not totally discouraged by council’s decision.
“I think it definitely opens the doors to dialogue now. The ice has been broken and I’m sure there’s going to be more companies trying in the future,” Raffa said.
“It opens the room to talk and work things out and hopefully develop some kind of way to bring this industry into Red Deer because I think we could really benefit from it on the economic side, plus any medical patients who could have better access. That’s just a win-win right there.”
Gord’s Smoke Shop sells smoking supplies for cigarettes, cigars as well as vaporizers, pipes and bongs for medical marijuana.
She said customers are also talking about the new travelling task force established by the federal government to study how best to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Canada.
“It’s a growing industry. Just take look at Colorado and places in the states that have legalized it and benefited from all the tax dollars and job creation. I think it would be a very smart move by Alberta to be as involved in this new industry as possible,” Raffa said.
Syfronia Bonnell, of Red Deer, who has been using medical marijuana for two years to deal with Crohn’s disease, said other medicine left her feeling awful and she worried about harmful effects.
“I think marijuana is better than popping a pill. I think anything more natural is better than chemical,” Bonnell said.
“It’s not going to be for everybody and not everyone has to use it. Different things work for different people.”
She said marijuana helps by reducing her nausea, increasing her appetite and helps her sleep.
She buys online from a medical marijuana producer in British Columbia, but would much rather get it from a local manufacturer.
She said support for medical marijuana depends on who you ask.
“I’m open to it. I believe in it. I don’t think it’s anything that would negatively affect people or our society,” Bonnell said.
A medical marijuana user who lives part time in Sylvan Lake, who did not want to be named, said it’s frustrating that Red Deer city council rejected the proposed facility.
“I don’t know what they’re trying to protect. I’m very disappointed that Red Deer would deny such a business,” he said.
“Most of the sites are in Ontario. It would be nice to know that you’re supporting your local economy. It could create commerce and jobs in the area that are really lacking right now.”
He was prescribed marijuana six years ago for severe and complex post traumatic stress disorder and its preventative benefits.
“My life has drastically improved by the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis.”