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Medical-marijuana adviser opens shop in White Rock

Mostly positive reaction in White Rock, entrepreneur says
Tara Caine officially opened her second public-consultation storefront for potential medical-marijuana users in Five Corners last weekend.

You could say she’s following in her father’s footsteps.

Tara Caine – daughter of Hempyz Gifts & Novelties owner and marijuana proponent Randy Caine – opened her own White Rock storefront in Five Corners Saturday, but instead of a hemp-themed retail store, the 35-year-old is working to provide public consultation and education for those who use medicinal marijuana.

“We’re strictly advocates for people who want to incorporate (medicinal marijuana) as a part of their health,” Caine said last week, of the Releaf Compassion Center. “Once they walk through the doors, that’s the first step. Getting to know the information. Then they can choose whether they’ll continue on or whether they’ll go back and consult with a physician.”

Caine is quick to note that Releaf Compassion Center is not a dispensary. Confusion as to what work Releaf does at the first location in Langley last June caused a bit of controversy.

“Langley is a little more afraid I think, there is a lack of knowledge, stereotypes and things in the media,” she said. “They were a little hesitant and reserved.”

However, Caine notes, the feedback in White Rock has been mostly positive, with many other businesses in the area inquiring about the centre.

“There are a lot of people for it. There are a lot more people who had done the research of it and are very aware of the benefits and cons of it,” she said.

The topic of medicinal marijuana has been a much-debated topic on the Peninsula – where a pro-medical marijuana rally was held outside of MP Russ Hiebert’s South Surrey office in February 2013 – and across Canada.

Last month, the courts rejected the federal government’s appeal of a March 21, 2014 injunction that temporarily allows previously authorized medical marijuana patients to continue growing in their own home, or have pot grown for them, despite new federal regulations that outlawed home grows.

At Releaf, after all paperwork is vetted, a member is connected with a reputable dispenser, who will work with the patient on strain selection and delivery method. No marijuana will be dispensed at the centres, Caine said.

The aim is to bridge a gap that she first noticed when inquiring about medicinal marijuana for herself. The former residential care aid suffered an injury to her lower back in November 2013, and last January she was told she could not continue working in that capacity.

After trying to alleviate her pain through muscle relaxants and over-the-counter medication, Caine tried medicinal marijuana for her injury.

“I came into it as very cynical, because I really had to look at if this was something I honestly, 100-per-cent believed in,” she said. “I found, at the end of the day, that this works… It definitely was not something I foresaw in my future.”

Caine noted the journey to deciding to use medicinal marijuana was what pushed her to open up the compassion centres, after encountering a lack of education from dispensaries.

“It just wasn’t the one-on-one I was looking for. It’s like when you have a doctor, you want them to explain and take time for you,” she said. “That’s what we provide.

“Caring for others is truly my passion.”

There is no cost for the counselling and information provided, however, the centres ( work on cost recovery and a $1 per gram dispensing fee through the membership-based Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary and other dispensaries.

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