How I got my green card — without asking my family doctor

By in Opinions

This isn’t another Sheaf article attempting to justify the legalization of marijuana, or me trying to convince you of its medical benefits — you know about all that already. What I am here to do is share my experience with Natural Health Services, and how I got my green card.

Despite its benefits, medical marijuana remains stigmatized.

Now what does that mean? With my card, I may now possess marijuana outside of my home, as long as I have my prescription on my person. I may now smoke without the ever-present paranoia of being arrested.

I don’t have to tell my future employers about that time when I was 20 and got busted with a minor possession — that is, if I even get to speak with them about it — or about my medication ruining my life. I can say that it feels amazing to no longer have to consider myself a criminal.

That’s a lot to say about me, but what about others? Having access to an openly friendly doctor means eliminating the overwhelming anxiety that many people feel when speaking to a family doctor — someone who has usually known them since birth — about how they use marijuana, and how it’s a positive aspect of their life.

It also means eliminating stereotypes that they are a drug seeker. Anecdotally, I have yet to meet someone who partakes solely for the pleasure — there is usually something at play there, like their anxiety, their insomnia, their depression. Having a green card also provides legal protection for those who, by nature of their circumstance, find themselves in contact with the police more often than need be.

NHS, located on 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue — directly bordering the downtown transit terminal — provides consultations with a doctor who is willing to write prescriptions for medical cannabis for those with legitimate medical need.

You make an appointment on their website, then show up to their storefront where you’re given an information package on medical cannabis, how it may be consumed and the details on the process of getting your prescription.

NHS requires you to return every three months for follow-up visits. You’re also provided with a list of 35 licensed producers to choose from. You will need to pick one on the day of your appointment, as it is through your LP that you receive your prescription bottle or bag that gives you the legal protection to carry.

Each LP has their own website where you may check out their prices and selection of products. Personally, I chose the Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation, as they offered a large selection of products and openly displayed information such as terpene content and THC percentages.

It is important to note that those under the age of 21 are required to have parental or caregiver approval in order to schedule an appointment with NHS, but from my experience it seems that the doctor at the Saskatoon location is comfortable seeing patients over the age of 18 without their parents, as there is no legal requirement to get them involved.   

My experience with NHS was incredibly pleasant and professional. The staff were able to answer my questions about how exactly medical cannabis works both legally and medically, and can provide guidance through the world of LPs.

I highly recommend that University of Saskatchewan students who habitually consume pot with any legitimate intent go through the process of becoming a medical patient.

Liam Delparte

Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor