Dispensary news highlights community concerns over medical cannabis in Dundalk
The news caused quite a stir when it hit the Eagle Facebook last Wednesday, to the tune of hundreds of comments, reactions and shares and thousands of views.
A medical cannabis dispensary, Charm City Medicus, will be coming to North Point Boulevard across from Eastpoint Mall.
First, a correction. I originally stated that it would be at the site of the former McDonalds. It will will not. Rather, it will be next to that site.
Reaction was swift and varied between jokes and expressions of concern regarding security and the impact such a business would have on the Dundalk area.
I understand this reaction, I really do.
I mean, let’s face it. Dundalk does tend to get more than our fair share of social services facilities, methadone clinics and the like.
But this is different. Let’s look at the issue a bit.
First, the benefits of medical cannabis have been studied (though not as extensively in the past due to its illegality). Medical cannabis can provide relief for issues ranging from pain to nausea to PTSD and other conditions.
There can be some side effects, as with any medication.
First, it is important to note that there have not been any recorded overdose deaths associated with cannabis use. It is far safer than many other medications, especially opioids.
Cannabis, especially the product containing the psychoactive ingredient THC (the chemical that creates the “high”), can impair judgement and operation of vehicles and machinery.
As with any medication, patients can react in various ways. Some patients may experience (generally mild, temporary) effects ranging from sleepiness, dizziness, reduced coordination to anxiety or paranoia.
Severe effects are rare and medical cannabis is considered generally safe.
When compared to the effects of other commonlyprescribed and even overthe-counter medications (even common pain relievers like acetaminophen can cause death if used improperly), medical cannabis is very safe.
At the dispensary, the medical cannabis will not just be offered in the flower form, but in oils, tinctures, lotions and other processed products. Edibles are not legal and will not be sold, though patients can use the cannabis to make their own edibles for consumption at home.
According to Bryan Hill, president and CEO of Charm City Medicus, the dispensary will encourage patients to take the cannabis in ways other than smoking, including vaporizing oils or creating edibles.
There are also many options for patients to obtain medical cannabis without THC (and, thus, no “high”). For example, medicinal cannabis topical lotion can be rubbed onto arthritic joints for pain relief.
In addition to the medical concerns, readers have expressed safety/crime concerns regarding the dispensary itself.
The safety measures proposed by Hill are listed in our cover story on the issue. There are legitimate concerns over the presence of large sums of cash at the business (since banks will, generally, not service dispensaries since medical cannabis is still illegally federally). However, Hill pointed to several applications developed to allow for cashless payments at dispensaries. If these applications work properly, that would seem to reduce the level of safety concern down to that of any pharmacy in the community.
While there are legitimate concerns about medical cannabis use and its impact on the community, I think it is an issue which can be looked at logically and discussed rationally (and with a minimum of “stoner/ munchies” jokes).
We will not be seeing zombified medical cannabis patients stumbling out of the dispensary and sliding behind the wheel of a car to terrorize an unsuspecting Dundalk.
(The dispensary DOES NOT administer medical cannabis on site and patients are prohibited by law from consuming it in public or driving while under the influence.)
What we will see is more patients, beset by chronic conditions that depress and destroy their quality of life, getting medication that can give them the chance to find relief.
I think we owe it to those patients — whether cancer sufferers, veterans with PTSD or children with severe seizures — to allow them access to that relief in their community.
The program and the business should — and will — be heavily monitored, but I think it is vital to keep an open mind as we learn together how to navigate this brand new industry.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not represent the opinion of The Dundalk Eagle or Adams Publishing Group.
Medical cannabis buds with potency testing results are seen on display at a dispensary.