The Alberni Valley is home to a second licensed medical marijuana dispensary that officially opened its doors for business on June 1.
Leaf Compassion Cannabis Dispensary, located at 5069 Johnston Rd, aims to provide safe access to medical grade, laboratory tested cannabis products.
The Alberni location is the fifth Leaf Compassion facility on Vancouver Island to open, with two others in Victoria, one in Salt Spring and a shop in Chemainus.
Kyle Cheyne, founder and executive director of Leaf Compassion, said the dispensary went through four thorough inspections from the Port Alberni Fire chief and the city planner prior to opening.
“It wasn’t as easy as we thought it was going to be, we needed to make sure everything was up to code,” Cheyne said. “We’ve been following every regulation coming out of Colorado.”
All of the marijuana that the dispensary obtains is sent to a lab for testing prior to hitting the shop’s shelves.
“The whole lab testing is the most important part about getting marijuana and we test everything,” Cheyne said.
The biggest argument from marijuana skeptics Cheyne hears is that dispensaries don’t know what is in their products and that it could hurt people.
“We know exactly what’s in it.” Cheyne said. “There’s really no abuse that can happen from cannabis because you can’t die from it.”
The bud shop offers a variety of cannabis products including edibles, bath products, candies, balms, oils and medical grade marijuana.
Cheyne said in the first four days of opening he signed up roughly 50 people for medical marijuana memberships. Members aren’t required to have a doctor’s prescription to obtain medical marijuana but Cheyne says they are subject to a screening process.
“Eighty per cent of the people that are coming in to all of the dispensaries right now is mainly because they want to get off their prescriptions…when you get off you can use cannabis,” Cheyne said. “At the end of the day if you’re taking prescriptions that interact with medical marijuana then we can’t sign you up unless you talk to a doctor first.”
Cheyne became involved in the marijuana business several years ago when he began working at a marijuana dispensary putting in more than 70 hours a week.
“When I got involved with cannabis I wanted to learn everything about it,” Cheyne said. Competing in mixed martial arts for seven years, Cheyne said his body became stressed, especially his spine. He began using cannabis products to medicate his body from years of physical damage.
“I use the balms every night before bed on my spine, I smoke, I do dabs… I do it for the back pain mostly,” Cheyne said.
In addition to the physical relief that marijuana provides Cheyne, the product also offers him mental well-being for post-traumatic stress.
“Cannabis is amazing for [PTSD] because when those flashbacks come back to you it’s okay with cannabis,” Cheyne said. “I’ve never taken anything in my life that’s completely eliminated that and now I’m focused and I know what I want and I’m happy.
For more information on Leaf Compassion, their products and memberships visit leafcompassion.com