Winnipeg medical pot dispensary questioned over fees for doctor's notes

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba wants to review the files of whichever doctor is working with a Winnipeg medical marijuana dispensary to write authorization notes for patients — for a price that at least one consumer says is not fair.

Questions also raised about where Winnipeg dispensary's cannabis supply comes from

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba says it wants to review the files of whichever doctor is working with a Winnipeg medical marijuana dispensary to write authorization notes for patients — for a price that at least one consumer says is not fair. 2:35

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba says it wants to review the files of whichever doctor is working with a Winnipeg medical marijuana dispensary to write authorization notes for patients — for a price that at least one consumer says is not fair.

Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters on Main Street is already facing pressure from police. The store reopened on Tuesday, a week after officers told owner Glenn Price to stop selling marijuana.

Customers who want to buy from Price's store must have an authorized doctor's note to purchase cannabis for medical purposes.

For those who do not have a note, Price's store recommends a doctor who can write a note.
Sandi Alward went to Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters to inquire about getting a prescription for medical marijuana. (CBC)

Sandi Alward said she was told the doctor would charge her $300 for a note, in addition to $42 the store would charge in paperwork fees.

"I don't believe it's right that you should pay $300 for a prescription in Canada," Alward said.

"I'm not against any kind of treatment that helps people, but exploitation isn't something I like."

Medical marijuana on sale at a dispensary in Winnipeg. (Sara Calnek/CBC)
An official with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba told CBC News that doctors are not allowed to charge for any prescriptions.

As well, doctors who authorize patients to use medical marijuana must send the authorization notes to a licensed medical marijuana producer that is registered with Health Canada.

The college says it wants to find out which doctor is working with Price's dispensary and review that physician's medical marijuana authorizations.

Price would not identify the doctor his dispensary is working with.

"If something happens to this doctor, then there is no one in Winnipeg that is open-minded to sign," he said.

Winnipeg police say medical marijuana can only be dispensed by a producer licensed by Health Canada through a delivery service and "never dispensed through a store or personally."

Local producer says supply isn't from him

As for his supply, Price said he gets his cannabis shipments from a licensed producer in Manitoba and dispensaries in other provinces.

But John Arbuthnot of Delta 9 Bio-Tech, Manitoba's only licensed producer of medical marijuana for sale, says the dispensary's supply does not come from his company.

In fact, Arbuthnot said it would be impossible for licensed growers' medical marijuana to be supplying stores.

"Health Canada is exhaustive in their inspections of the 25 licensed producers that are currently operating across the country. It really isn't possible for even one gram of product to be diverted," he said.

Arbuthnot said it is possible that some growers that are covered under old federal regulations could be supplying dispensaries.

Price said he believes he's being used as a public example to deter other dispensaries from opening in Winnipeg — something that he believes is unfair because other marijuana dispensaries are operating in Vancouver and other jurisdictions.

"I'm being targeted because I'm the lone wolf in Winnipeg," he said.

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