Growing marijuana doesn’t quite evoke a noble-farmer image, even when it’s for the sake of treating terminally ill patients.
As medical marijuana becomes less taboo, however, supports for those who cultivate the product need to fall into place and that should further legitimize and raise the profile of the process, says one Kelowna businessman who’s come up with an idea or two on how to speed up the process.
“I went to school in Colorado for medical marijuana cultivation, medicine making and business administration,” said Donald Schultz, the founder of Greenline Academy.
“And now I’m bringing what I learned to Canada.”
Schultz has ambitions to open the first Canadian school for medical marijuana growers this fall, but before that happens he’s lined up some seminars that could help educate participants in safe ways to grow the plant, the legal issues involved and the various ways to become compliant to federal laws.
“Things like, if you’re licensed to grow 25 then you shouldn’t be growing 200 plants,” he said, noting that there’s obviously more to compliance than that, but it’s a good place to start.
A lawyer from Doak Shirreff will be speaking to participants at the upcoming seminar on the legal issues that they face by being in the industry.
“We also go through proper electrical compliance, fire safety measures and how to get into it, in general,” he said, adding he’s looking for a doctor who can speak to the use of cannabis as a medical treatment.
While Schultz makes growing marijuana sound as controversy free as planting rutabagas, he acknowledges that it’s an issue mired in debate.
“When I say what I’m doing, people raise an eyebrow,” he said. “When I talk about its health benefits, they’re anxious to learn more.
“But everybody knows somebody who has cancer, and if you think of it that way, it’s totally different.”
While the Greenline Academy business model may help clear up the standards of the industry that’s still caught between in the mushy space between illegality and legality, it still may take some time for the popular opinion to turn in its favour.
“This is a great new industry with a wide range of opportunities needing educated professionals with the right attitude to help us get there,” he said.
Then, he said, controversies that have come commonplace across Canada may be laid to rest.
Recently, Kelowna city council took a look at the issue of medical marijuana grow ops. At the prompting of mayors of the City of Langley and the Township of Langley, they were asked to lobby Health Canada to cancel current licenses for medical marijuana growers and, in turn, have the product dispensed through licensed pharmacies by doctor’s prescriptions.
“As this is the practice for other controlled substances, such as methadone, we do not see why this cannot be done for medical marijuana,” read a letter circulated to B.C. municipalities.
The letter also explained the grow ops were threatening the health and safety of their communities by both attracting crime and also leaving physical devastation of properties where pot is grown.
Kelowna councillors declined the invitation to lobby for the disbanding of medical marijuana licences.
For more information on the May 28 and 29 course, go to www.greenlineacademy.com or call 250-860-8611.