Article by JC Villamere, NOW Toronto
Tania Cyalume and Brandy Zurborg are the brains behind Bloorcourt’s Queens of Cannabis, a dispensary that sells to approved medical marijuana patients. But it’s so much more than that – it’s also a healing centre.
A knowledgable, articulate couple who live and work together, Cyalume and Zurborg were patients with medical cannabis prescriptions before deciding to open a dispensary. Originally hoping to start a female-oriented head shop, they were inspired to go the dispensary route after a trip to Vancouver, where they experienced that city’s dispensary culture while shopping for woman-made wholesale pipes.
“I left my cozy job at the University of Toronto to do this,” says Cyalume. Zurborg, a former Canada Revenue Agency auditor, nods. “There was always a paycheque, it was very stable, but I just felt like I had to do this.”
Cyalume remembers her mom’s concerns: “You are going to get arrested! What are you guys thinking?”
The pair have kept a high profile as advocates through a tumultuous year for the city’s burgeoning marijuana industry. In May, Toronto police’s Project Claudia cracked down on shops. Queens of Cannabis wasn’t raided, but the city served their landlord with a warning letter.
The Queens of Cannabis maintain it’s their right to provide marijuana access to patients. They believe the municipal licensing order that says dispensaries should be located in industrial zones is unconstitutional because travel can be arduous for patients.