Medical marijuana may be coming to Summerside

Nancy MacPhee nmacphee@journalpioneer.com
Published on March 25, 2016

Former Purple Parrot

©Google Street View

Craig Gaudet plans to open health centre at former Purple Parrot on Water Street

SUMMERSIDE – Craig Gaudet hopes to soon sell medicinal marijuana in Summerside’s downtown.

Gaudet has an ambitious plan for a vacant Water Street building, known to many as either the old Royal Bank or Purple Parrot building.

His plans are for an unconventional health centre, which would include the province’s first medical marijuana dispensary.

“What we are opening is a whole health and wellness centre,” said Gaudet. “It is based on medical marijuana, but it is also going to have yoga, tai chi, massage, holistic healing, Chakara, herbalist healing — not just the dispensary.”

A former reservist, Gaudet has used medical marijuana for more than 15 years. He was injured in an accident 27 years ago where an armoured personnel carrier ran over him and crushed his legs. Since then, he’s had close to 40 surgeries on his knees.

Gaudet had, at one time, used prescription drugs to help with his pain, but since being prescribed medical marijuana he no longer uses the other drugs.

He believes he is legally entitled to sell medicinal marijuana within his centre to others who are prescribed the drug.

“The Supreme Court of Canada made it quite clear a couple of weeks ago that patients have the right to sell to other patients,” he added.

Health Canada, on the other hand, according to its website, indicates that only producers who are authorized to produce and sell to the public “may sell or provide dried marijuana, fresh marijuana or cannabis oil to eligible persons.”

In P.E.I., there are no such licences issued by Health Canada.

He also hopes to help facilitate the prescribing of medical marijuana.

“We will be looking at bringing in doctors to help patients get prescriptions. If not, we will be taking patients off the Island, in groups, to marijuana-friendly doctors.”

Gaudet has yet to apply for a permit with the city for his new business, something, he added, he plans to do this week.

He has a silent partner in the business venture and says he is close to securing all the financing necessary to open his centre.

Gaudet has been in contact with the mayor and Chief Dave Poirier regarding his plans and has surveyed businesses in the area, with resistance from only one, he said.

“I have had a couple of phone conversations with Mr. Gaudet, but no face to face meetings,” said Poirier. “As far as we know, Health Canada will not be approving any licences for this type of dispensary at this time.”