Medma waiting to start production

Medical Marijuana

Christine Wood / Staff Writer
August 28, 2014 08:45 AM

Medma Cannabis Pharms Inc. is perhaps the closest medical marijuana producer to setting up shop in Sechelt under the new marijuana for medicinal purposes regulations (MMPR).

Medma Cannabis Pharms Inc. is perhaps the closest medical marijuana producer to setting up shop in Sechelt under the new marijuana for medicinal purposes regulations (MMPR).

To date, Medma has selected a location in Sechelt’s industrial park and received a development permit from the District. They are waiting on issuance of their building permit and their MMPR licence to begin production.

The company was born in March. The board of directors includes chief operating officer Bal Uppal, his brother and their wives.

All four currently live in the Lower Mainland, but they’re looking at moving to Sechelt in the future.

“We have a lot of plans to have a place there for sure. It’s almost a crime not to, it’s so nice there. It fits us very well,” Uppal said.

A former law enforcement officer, upon retirement Uppal decided to try his hand at medicinal marijuana production, even though he and his family have no experience growing the product. They have hired a consultant who’s teaching them a lot and they’re “learning pretty fast,” Uppal said.

“When I started looking at businesses and opportunities it was about the same time the MMPR was coming out, and it was all over the news,” he noted. “I looked at it with my brother, who’s a chiropractor and in the natural health care field and is very passionate about healing people naturally rather than using pharmaceuticals. So it was a natural kind of progression. We didn’t really plan it. We looked at it and thought ‘hey, this is something we could really get behind.’ We started researching with the MMPR and that’s how it came to be.”

Uppal thinks medicinal marijuana will become more heavily prescribed in the future to help treat things such as post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and first responders.

“One of my strongest beliefs with medical cannabis is that it will, in the future, and I think right now too, maybe not so documented … it’s my strong conviction that it will save lives, and I think it will alleviate a lot of suffering. That’s my primary goal for doing this,” Uppal said.

His primary reason for coming to Sechelt to set up shop is the municipality’s allowing the activity on industrially zoned land.

Through a consultant, Uppal found that Sechelt was one of the few municipalities in B.C. allowing MMPRs to start up.

“We were talking amongst ourselves and doing research when Sechelt came up. For me it was a no-brainer at that point,” Uppal said.

He’s aware that some in the community are concerned about the safety of a medicinal grow-op nearby homes and businesses, but he said the new MMPR rules will make it nearly impossible to have a break in.

“I will say that having done this research on the MMPR, the security directives are quite robust. It’s very, very safe, very monitored. Of course, the added element of myself running it is a different element. There are other law enforcement officers that are involved in other companies that are licensed right now. It’s just a natural thing, I think, for someone who’s retired from law enforcement to be able to understand the security limits and what the directives are. But our facility is going to be better protected than any of our local banks or any jewelry shops,” Uppal said.

“Someone could more easily walk into a car dealership and steal an expensive car or rob a bank teller, for that matter, than be able to access us. We’re as robust as a detention centre.”

Under the MMPR rules, all grow activities must be done inside a secure building and there can be no smell of marijuana coming from the site.

Marijuana can’t be sold at the facility. Under the new rules the pot must sent by bonded courier to those who need it.


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