One of Vancouver’s longtime community activists seeking to address the city’s opioid crisis is looking for cannabis producers to partner with in her newest attempt to help provide cannabis to people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Sarah Blyth, the founder of the High Hopes Foundation which works to provide people with cannabis as an alternative to people struggling with opioid use, recently received a federal medical sales licence from the federal government. She is also a co-founder of the Overdose Prevention Society.
The new licence, which was years in the making, will allow High Hopes to continue providing its members access to Canada’s federal medical cannabis program. The recently-issued “medical sales only” licence will allow High Hopes to register individuals who are authorized by a medical practitioner to access cannabis from an array of third-party cultivators and processors.
Products would be ordered with assistance from Blyth and her team, with patients then able to have that cannabis delivered to a local community medical professional such as a doctor or licensed pharmacist. She says she is in discussion with many such medical professionals in the Downtown Eastside community who will work with High Hopes on authorization and deliveries.
But before that can begin, Blyth says she needs to identify cannabis producers who want to help supply cannabis for those who’ve registered through High Hopes. The goal is to find producers who can provide an array of products—from dried flower to edibles, oils, extracts, and topicals—at an affordable price and in a consistent manner.
“When you buy a pharmaceutical, you know you’re getting the same product every time. Medical cannabis needs to be the same way,” explains Blyth.
Although she says she doesn’t see cannabis as a one-size-fits-all medicine for everyone, she says she has seen it make a lot of difference for many who are struggling with opioid addictions.
“Cannabis is really a good supplement. It’s another tool that people can use. We also need other forms of safe supply, but it’s something people can use to help get off opioids.”
“I’ve seen it help. Through High Hopes, I’ve seen individuals use cannabis to help them get off opioids. I know it works. We’ve been doing this for years on the front lines. Getting this new licence was just the newest approach we’re taking to try and ensure we can keep helping people.”
The ideal partner, she says, will also be able to provide products at a reasonable price, given the often low-income nature of the individuals she is seeking to serve.
“The ideal supplier would have a good quality product that is very good for pain relief and trauma relief and can produce a consistent, high volume of that particular product, with a medical focus.”
“And honestly, [we’re looking for] someone who is wanting to help us help people in this community, and wants to partner with an organization with a mandate to give back, and who hires people who can use some work, someone who wants to be a part of a movement.
“We’re looking to try and have creative, unique ways to get people a supply of cannabis that will help with the kinds of stress and trauma people are dealing with, and to make it easy on people.”
Any producers interested in working with High Hopes can email Sarah Blyth at blyth2008 AT gmail DOT com.