Article by Karena Walter, The St. Catharines Standard
A company that opened its first medical marijuana clinic in St. Catharines four years ago says it has seen increased interest in its services since the legalization of cannabis.
The fact marijuana is now available in Canada legally without a prescription hasn’t led to a drop in clients wanting to be assessed at Canadian Cannabis Clinics.
“We’ve had a huge increase in interest, and we already had a lot of interest from would-be patients who were curious if cannabis might help them with their ailments,” said Jillian Henderson, director of medical outreach for Canadian Cannabis Clinics, based in Toronto.
“Since legalization of the non-medical stream, we’ve been having more people come to us asking how we can help them.”
Part of the reason for the increase, Henderson said, is less stigma.
She said people with legitimate health issues are coming forward because the medical market just became more acceptable for some people with the legalization of non-medical cannabis.
But that stigma has been decreasing over the years, she said, mainly because people are reporting that cannabis helps them manage their symptoms.
“If you take law out of it, I think what you’re getting is a critical mass of people who, whether within the law or outside the law, have tried cannabis because they’ve been suffering with chronic pain, seizure disorders, neuropathic pain and they heard from somebody else, ‘I tried it, it’s been working for me, why don’t you try it, too?'”
Canadian Cannabis Clinics has expanded quickly since it opened its first location at 80 King St. in downtown St. Catharines in September 2014 to focus solely on patients who might need medical marijuana. It was the first clinic of its kind in Niagara.
The company has since grown to 35 clinics across Canada employing 158 staff.