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Pot cookies, pot butter: lingo of compassionate Cannabis Buyers Club

By Hempology | April 29, 2002


Friday, April 26th, 2002

Mark Russell’s stress level has risen significantly over the last few months.

That’s almost ironic, given that he is the founder of the Coombs chapter of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada.

One of the conditions some of his customers use the marijuana they obtain through the club for is to relieve stress.

The former owner of The Hemp Store – Russell has given up the store in large part because of the demands of operating the cannabis club – knows he is operating outside the strict letter of the law with the club, which provides marijuana to those who can demonstrate chronic pain or debilitating illness, usually with a doctor’s note or a perscription for other medication.

And given the fact Ted Smith, the founder of the original Cannabis Buyers Club in Victoria, has been visited by police three times in the past four months, Russell knows the risk for him is real. But it’s one he’s willing to take, he says, more than once if neccessary.

That’s because he wants to make sure the club keeps operating for the 100 members currently signed up, make sure they have access to the drug they see as medicine.

“It’s nice to be able to go to a place that’s somewhat legitimate,” says Nicky, one of the club’s members.

She has fibromyalgia, among other disorders, and marijuana is one of the few drugs that provides relief, and with no side effects.

Part of Mark Russell’s day involves making sure the marijuana he provides for the Cannabis Buyers Club is pesticide and fertilizer free.

Not only does it reduce her pain, but it also controls her nausea and helps improve her appetite. Her doctor wrote her a prescription for the drug, to allow her to become a member of the club.

Her mother, an elderly woman who says she’s allergic to the smoke from marijuana, supports her daughter, and will come and pick up a supply from the cannabis club when her daughter can’t.

“They don’t do it to get high, they do it for relief,” she says.

Wendy is a grandmother drawing a disability pension. Like Nicky, she suffers from fibromyalgia. Before starting to use marijuana – she usually eats two ‘pot cookies’ a day, and have a couple of tokes – she says she was taking 11 Tylenol 3s with codeine a day, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. She doesn’t take any now.

While talking at the compassion club, she sips a cup of hot chocolate with a half-gram of pot butter mixed in. Before starting her drink “the tightness was like this,” she says of the pain in her hands, making a tight fist.

“Now it’s loosening up.”

Neither of them have applied for the federal license that would allow them to use the drug legally, in part because the process would require them to open their homes to random searches, says Nicky.

Besides, the government has changed how it plans to dispense the marijuana it has grown for medical use.

Federal health minister Anne McLellan has indicated the medical marijuana must go through clinical trials before it will be released to the public.

Russell says those seeking a permit to legally use marijuana for medical reasons are now being told they have to become part of the trial, and that means they might receive a placebo rather than the drug itself.

Even those who already have a licence find themselves in a bind. Without the government’s medical marijuana supply, they have no legal way to obtain the drug, because it is still illegal to buy the substance from other people, and there is no legal supply of seed to grow your own.

Which is why Russell thinks he still has a role.

“If they’re not going to give or distribute the marijuana to those people, then they should let us do it.”

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