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Marijuana activist opens Danforth medical clinic

Samuel Mellace holds joint smoked in the House of Commons on Oct. 4, 2010 to protest parts of the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.

A Toronto marijuana activist who once lit up in the House of Commons has opened a medical clinic on the Danforth that would be open to dispensing pot in the future if legislation changes.

“There’s no clinic like this — my doctors will even do home visits,” owner Sam Mellace told CityNews.ca in a phone interview Wednesday.

The New Age Medical Clinic on Danforth Avenue east of Pape Avenue will focus on pain management as well as a family doctor practice, with services typical of a general practitioner.

The appointment-based clinic – it’s not a walk-in – offers blood tests and ultrasounds as well as a psychiatrist and naturopath.

But as of yet, Mellace won’t be offering marijuana.

“We’re not dispensing narcotics or marijuana out of this unit… What we will do is try to help our patients get a [medical marijuana] licence from Health Canada,” Mellace said.

“I cannot refer people to compassion clubs; I won’t do it. I’ll refer them to Health Canada.”

However, if legislation changes, Mellace is open to dispensing marijuana.

The clinic’s focus on pain management came about after conversations with the late NDP leader Jack Layton. Mellace said he and the NDP leader were concerned about opiate medication and the way Canada social networks absorbed the cost of prescription drugs.

Mellace pointed to people on disability who were prescribed Oxycontin as an example of the type of patients who may benefit from his clinic.

Patients can be monitored on a monthly basis, he said, and in time, be weaned off prescription and street opiates.

“If we can control your pain, we can return you to your normal life,” Mellace said.

The federal government, under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is currently considering eliminating personal production of marijuana in favour of licensed commercial producers, a move that has outraged some activists.

If approved, the changes would be in place by March 31, 2014.

The Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Alliance of Canada argues marijuana should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada’s push for more stringent laws are at odds with changes south of the border, with two states — Washington and Colorado — recently voting to legalize marijuana.

With files from The Canadian Press