Press Release: CAMCD Announces New Leadership and New Focus

CAMCD Announces New Leadership And New Focus

CAMCD holds successful AGM, and asks city of Vancouver to work with members


On March 29th, 2016 the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) held its Annual General Meeting expanding its board and electing new board members.  Newly elected President, Dieter MacPherson believes times have changed, legalization is imminent and the organization looks forward to working closely with government on regulations, policy and permitting.


CAMCD has ratified a new set of bylaws that incorporates key structural and organizational changes allowing for broader membership involvement and the development of a more robust organization.


“CAMCD’s new board of directors have established a new, stronger mandate to engage our membership, government and the public. The structural changes allow for every trade member to participate in the direction of the organization and are meant to inspire a new sense of unity, inclusiveness and strength”, said MacPherson.


“We’ve learned a lot working with the City of Vancouver on the Medical Marijuana Related Use Permit Bylaw which we can use toward building more effective bylaws for other municipalities in Canada. As the first organization to work with a Canadian municipal government on medical cannabis land use permitting and we intend to focus more energy on being more effective at this core competency,” said MacPherson


Part of the risk of being the first to introduce new regulations in any industry is that some issues may fall through the cracks.  We want to ensure that those issues are dealt with so that we can facilitate smoother implementation for other cities.  The City of Vancouver has pioneered the regulatory permitting of medical cannabis dispensaries in Canada and we have great respect for that.  Now we want to forge stronger relationships with Vancouver and other municipalities.


CAMCD strongly encourages the City of Vancouver to offer amnesty to our members that are, in good faith, proceeding through declustering or awaiting their Board of Variance hearing. Mr. MacPherson believes “The City of Vancouver was sincere in their intentions so now we need to work with them and other municipalities to ensure that medical cannabis dispensaries can continue to provide the same critical care as they have been for 20 years.”


CAMCD is reaching out to municipalities to offer support and expertise in drafting bylaws to regulate emerging dispensaries. CAMCD emphasizes a community approach to medical cannabis dispensing and believes municipalities are very important stakeholders in the legalization movement despite provincial and federal legalization legislation expected in 2017.


CAMCD is a non-profit trade association for medical cannabis dispensaries founded in 2011. Their Dispensary Certification Program is a rigorous accreditation program developed in part with the support of the UBC SEED Project, and funded by a Peter Wall Solutions Initiative.

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Dieter MacPherson



Dispensary Association Offers Expertise to MP Blair

Welcomes Coming Consultation Process on Cannabis

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) commends the Liberal government for continued momentum toward cannabis legalization with Friday’s announcement that MP Bill Blair will lead broad-based consultations under the Minister of Justice.

“We are pleased this government has reaffirmed its dedication to an evidence-based approach and we are confident that the knowledge and experience of dispensaries will help this government develop excellent public policy,” said CAMCD President Jamie Shaw. “Previous cannabis regulations did not include input from some key stakeholders, and it took many long and costly court battles to force the government to act on the evidence.”

“Community-based dispensaries are the proven and preferred retail model for medicinal and recreational cannabis in an ever-growing number of jurisdictions, and we are supportive of Blair’s commitment to learning from these experiences,” said Shaw. As an example, Shaw noted that other jurisdictions have kept the sales of cannabis separate from alcohol.

Canadian dispensaries have over twenty years of experience handling retail cannabis sales, and have been supported by the courts and the Senate. CAMCD was established in 2011 as a non-profit organization to support dispensaries in providing high quality products and patient care through its Certification Program.

“As the only organization in Canada with actual experience regulating dispensaries and consulting with municipal regulators around dispensary licensing, CAMCD is looking forward to participating with the task force,” said Shaw. “Legislation based on our knowledge and expertise will ensure that the impact on patients will be carefully considered.”

CAMCD would like to see small and medium-sized businesses included in legislation moving forward. Shaw said that “Transitioning the pre-existing dispensaries and their suppliers into the new legal market is the key to effective legalization.”




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Jamie Shaw, CAMCD President

Dispensary Association Agrees No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Makes Sense to Use Existing System for Cannabis Distribution

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) agrees with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. “Dispensaries have 20 years of expertise in providing safe and dignified access to medical cannabis along with education on its use,” said CAMCD President Jamie Shaw, “It makes the most sense to utilize the existing distribution system to sell cannabis in a legalized context.”

In most of the US states that have legalized cannabis for medical and social use, cannabis products are sold in specialized dispensaries. Colorado’s legalization was specifically built on the pre-existing dispensary model, and when it was first introduced, required all legal retail enterprises to be existing medical cannabis retailers.

According to Dana Larsen, CAMDC’s Vice President, Canada and the provinces
should follow Colorado’s lead and allow dispensaries to take their place in the legal market. “Patients prefer dispensaries over both the black market and current legal options. They like and trust this system,” noted Larsen. “If a goal of legalization is to put an end to the black market, this is the best way accomplish that.”

“It is not surprising that provincial and private liquor stores are interested in this newly emerging legal cannabis market, as no doubt are the pharmacies, we have seen this in other jurisdictions,” Said Larsen. However he notes that cannabis is a completely different substance with different storage and handling requirements, and patterns of use. “These retailers would have to make major changes to accommodate cannabis sales,” Larsen added.

Rielle Capler, a CAMCD advisor, also sees dispensary retail distribution as an important economic opportunity for Canadians. “We have the opportunity here to create a new type of legal small business that would promote entrepreneurship and help to create new jobs, which will greatly benefit the economy, ” said Capler.

Dispensaries are already being licensed and regulated in some municipalities to address public health and safety concerns. “CAMCD has developed a thorough certification program to support dispensaries in following best practices and providing the highest quality of care” said Shaw, adding “this should be the basis of regulations for retail distribution”.

The CAMCD program includes regulations for age restrictions. “We need to have regulations based on evidence and that weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks, including the risk of the black-market”, said Capler.

Washington has deliberately kept the the sales of cannabis separate from alcohol.
Capler cautions “Cannabis and alcohol do not mix well together. Selling both products at the same outlet could promote unintended consequences. We want to see a public health approach for legalization in Canada that will increase potential benefits and reduce potential harms.”



Dispensary Association Disappointed in Nanaimo RCMP

Enforcement Action Hurts Patients Most


The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) called yesterday’s Nanaimo RCMP enforcement action a completely inappropriate way to deal with dispensaries. “It’s like using a sledgehammer as a flyswatter,” said Jamie Shaw, the organization’s President, “and about as effective.”

With the clear direction given by Canadian voters to end prohibition, and Nanaimo city council voting last week 8-1 to receive information on regulating dispensaries,CAMCD is disappointed that the RCMP chose enforcement over engaging dispensaries with specific concerns. The organization believes this is a heavy-handed approach, and that it speaks volumes about the stigma still attached to cannabis and cannabis patients.

While dispensaries operate outside Canada’s medical cannabis program, not only have officials at all levels of government have been calling for their inclusion in a regulatory framework for the last two decades, several municipalities in the province have already begun to license them. Dispensaries are currently the only source for patients to access many edibles and derivatives, a right awarded to them in a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

Vancouver Police Department estimates of dispensary investigation costs, if comparable, would mean the RCMP spent almost $100, 000 in Nanaimo yesterday. Municipalities that have engaged both dispensaries and their patients, and the broader community are managing the issue much more effectively, Shaw said, citing Kimberly and Victoria as recent examples.

In Vancouver, despite many concerns voiced by dispensaries with the city’s regulations, only two dispensaries out of over a hundred in the city had not applied for a license by the deadline. “At best, a successful enforcement action simply drives cannabis further underground, making it not only harder for patients, but also for both law enforcement and public officials to effectively address any issues that may arise.”



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CAMCD Comments on Proposed Regulations, Victoria BC

Victoria Releases Staff Report on Proposed Regulations

With the announcement yesterday of Victoria’s draft regulations for medical cannabis dispensaries, the city is poised to become the third municipality in BC to license these businesses.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) congratulates city staff for all their hard work up to this point. “The report was very thorough,” said Dieter MacPherson, a Director of CAMCD who has been spearheading the organization’s efforts in Victoria. “While we don’t agree with all of the recommended bylaws, we’re generally pleased that options were outlined in the report, and we look forward to further consultations.”

Of particular concern are the proposed restrictions to all forms of derivatives outside of capsules, tinctures and oils said MacPherson, “The supreme court was very clear on this matter. Patient have the right to other form of this medicine, such as baked goods”. MacPherson also noted concerns about restrictions on mail-order or deliveries, that would impede access for some patients.

Earlier in the week, council had reviewed a motion to delay looking at this issue until the new federal government announced its plans for the legalization of cannabis. CAMCD’s President Jamie Shaw said, “We think they made the right choice in not putting this off,” citing the exponential growth of medical cannabis dispensaries over the last two years. “Municipalities across the country should be looking at what type of zoning and licensing requirements they would like to see.”

Shaw also added that the organization was disappointed in the leadership in some jurisdictions. “We would hope that other municipalities would see the senselessness of expending resources on cannabis infractions in these last days of prohibition,” said Shaw. “Particularly in the targeting of dispensaries serving those with medical need.”


The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries was founded in 2010 to promote patient-focused, community-based distribution models. The organization launched a certification program in 2013, and a Trade Membership Program earlier this year.

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PRESS RELEASE – CAMCD Congratulates Liberals on win

CAMCD-Press-Release-October 20-2015

CAMCD Congratulates Liberals on win

Dispensaries Look Forward To Working With Government

Vancouver, BC, October 20, 2015 – The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) would like to congratulate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada for their win in last nights election. “We think it’s a very positive step generally for the future of cannabis in Canada,” said President Jamie Shaw “ending prohibition is a great start, but there is still a need for regulations that address the needs of medicinal users.”

CAMCD has been lobbying for the inclusion of dispensaries in a Canadian regulatory framework since 2011, continuing the decade-long work of its founding members, and represents the largest cannabis patient group in Canada. In the last year, CAMCD has grown to over thirty member dispensaries, and has been heavily involved in consultations with various municipalities about their bylaw or licensing regulations.

The organization is looking forward to again engaging in dialogue with the federal government . “We want Canada to have the best system possible, and learn from the mistakes of other jurisdictions,” Shaw said. “We can help regulators here avoid the problems places like Washington State have had on the medical side, and contribute to something that truly works for everybody.”

CAMCD is a non-profit trade association for medical cannabis dispensaries founded in 2011. Their Dispensary Certification Program is a rigorous accreditation program developed in part with the support of the UBC SEED Project, and funded by a Peter Wall Solutions Initiative.

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For Vancouver media or information inquiries please contact Jamie Shaw by email at

For Victoria media or information inquiries please contact Dieter MacPherson by email at

Press Release: CAMCD Comments on Health Canada Correspondence

Download Original: CAMCD Press Release Sept 10 2015 2 CAMCD Press Release Sept 10 2015 2

CAMCD Comments on Health Canada Correspondence

Federal government out of step with realities on the ground

September 11, 2015 – – Today, the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) has confirmed some of the oldest dispensaries in North America were among those that received a letter from Health Canada threatening legal action. Consistent lack of leadership and inaction from the federal government on this issue has led to municipalities stepping in and creating their own regulations for these vital institutions. Dispensaries have been doing their best to comply with these regulations. These dispensaries, and CAMCD, have been requesting inclusion in a comprehensive regulatory framework since their inceptions, this threatening application of the NCR and FDA is not constructive and harms patient access and care.

The work of dispensaries has been upheld by the Canadian courts, recommended by the Senate, commended by Parliament and three dispensary pioneers have been awarded diamond jubilee medals for their important contributions to Canada. For almost two decades these dispensaries have been transparent in their conduct with their local police forces and have been supported by their communities.

“The current Federal government is ignoring all of those well-informed bodies by threatening dispensaries with massive fines and jail time if they do not abandon their patients within two weeks, patients they have been supporting for almost twenty years”. CAMCD President Jamie Shaw said, “It would be unconscionable for these dispensaries to do so, and it is unconscionable Health Canada has asked them to.”

The current federal regulations for medical cannabis, the MMPR, do not currently serve the needs of all patients, and dispensaries still fill many important gaps. “It is distressing that the Conservative government would choose to address the holes in their system by taking this dramatic and unprecedented action,” Shaw said, “without actually addressing the needs of the very sick and suffering patients they have already failed.”

CAMCD is a non-profit trade association for medical cannabis dispensaries founded in 2011. Their Dispensary Certification Program is a rigorous accreditation program developed in part with the support of the UBC SEED Project, and funded by a Peter Wall Solutions Initiative.


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CAMCD Press ReleaseJune 29 2015 – 2

Vancouver, BC, June 29 2015 – The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) announced they were pleased with Vancouver’s decision to regulate dispensaries, however are concerned that some of the bylaws may impede patient care and best practices established by the industry. “This is certainly a hugely important milestone, but there are still some details to be ironed out to make this an effective bylaw” said President Jamie Shaw.


Among the groups concerns are the exclusion of most edible products, especially after the Supreme Court ruling that recognized the right of patients to access this form of cannabis medicine.


CAMCD noted that the new Compassion Club designation allowing for reduced licensing fees for some dispensaries is overly restrictive. “It is truly great to see Vancouver acknowledge the delivery of complementary health care services provided by some dispensaries, however this is not an typical business model and dispensaries can give back to patients and communities in other valuable ways that should also be recognized,.” Shaw said.


CAMCD also expressed concern over the possibility that almost all of Vancouver’s longest standing dispensaries will have to move from their current locations. “What we’re looking at is dispensaries that have been in their locations for over 5 years without problems, now being forced to move into areas that may end up being problematic,” Shaw said, “Hopefully Council will recognize that the disruption and chaos we’re looking at in the next few months is actually counter-productive to serving the public interest.”


The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 to provide standards and promote Canada’s Medical Cannabis Dispensary Industry.

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Press Release: CAMCD announces certification schedule and formal complaint process

CAMCD Press Release June 22 2015

Vancouver, BC, June 22 2015 Today, the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) released their summer inspection schedule for the On-site Survey portions of the CAMCD Certification Program. Beginning in 2011, CAMCD, Canadians for Safe Access, and the University of British Columbia began developing the CAMCD Standards and Certification Program with the generous assistance of a Peter Wall Solutions Initiative grant. The CAMCD Certification Program is a rigorous and thorough accreditation program that required both the development of implementation procedures, and Inspectors trained in those procedures. CAMCD is pleased to announce that this phase is now complete.

On-Site Survey Summer Schedule

July 3 2015 – Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club
July 13 2015 – The Toronto Compassion Club
July 14 2015 – Cannabis as Living Medicine
August 6 2015 – British Columbia Compassion Club Society

CAMCD also announced the launch of its official complaint and enforcement initiative. Starting today a formal process for registering complaints, comments, or concerns regarding CAMCD certification or trade members will be available. “This process is not meant to replace or supersede any complaint apparatus individual dispensaries may have,” said the group’s President Jamie Shaw, “it’s really meant as a way for the public to inform of us of any issues they find they are unable to resolve, or concerns they may have.” CAMCD continues to reserve the right to sanction or revoke the membership or certification of any dispensary that is found to not be in compliance.

CAMCD also reaffirmed its commitment to both dispensaries and stakeholders. “We believe that by working together, we can all create an industry that is focused on patients, and is transparent and accountable to them.” Shaw added.

CAMCD is a non-profit trade association for medical cannabis dispensaries founded in 2011.

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