Lachlan Labere                                Salmon Arm Starbuds operators Christoper MacMillan and Kyler Sintich. -Image Credit: Lachlan Labere

Lachlan Labere Salmon Arm Starbuds operators Christoper MacMillan and Kyler Sintich. -Image Credit: Lachlan Labere

Starbuds sets up medicinal dispensary in Salmon Arm

Beyond the reception area with its controlled door, glass cases can be seen stretched along two walls of the spacious room, neatly displaying row upon row of jars, containers, tins and packages.

A hint of marijuana intermingled with an essential oil wafts through the air. Adorning the wall are TV screens displaying menus of the products available.

This is Starbuds Medicinal Cannabis store, a franchise that opened in Salmon Arm in April at 865 Lakeshore Dr. West, one of three stores that sell cannabis in the city.

The products here include bath accessories, creams and salves, gummies, chocolate bars, tea, coffee, capsules, tinctures, suppositories and oils, as well as varying smokable concentrates and extracts.

Products contain THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, and CBDs, the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis – or one or the other. That is, some products can get a person ‘high,’ while others won’t.

Managers Kyler Sintich and Christopher MacMillan, who work for silent partners from the area, explain that Starbuds requires medical documentation from clients; their goal prior to opening was to “make it medical, make it quality,” says Sintich.

If no documentation is presented, a customer speaks via Skype with a Starbuds consultant.

A steady stream of people come through the door this particular morning; the managers say about 40 per cent of their customers are over 50 years, many who have never tried it. One patient is over 90.

For Sintich, the roots of his interest in cannabis were planted many years ago. Diagnosed with pancreatitis when he was a teen, he credits it with saving his life.

“About 13 years ago I ended up in hospital with pancreatitis. It kind of changed my life. Cannabis was the only thing out of all the prescriptions that gave me relief and gave me a normal quality of life.”

He explains he was sick and couldn’t eat.

“It made it so I could consume food, could keep going through life. When you’re in that kind of pain, you don’t want to do anything.”

He began researching.

“I grew up with the stigma about what it was, and then began learning the opposite – how wonderful of a plant it was.”

And he has been spreading that information since.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody out there in the last couple of years that doesn’t want to know about it.”

MacMillan doesn’t use marijuana, but became intrigued with its medical uses after he watched a documentary called, “Run From the Cure,” the Rick Simpson story.

He began making cannabis oil and giving it away to people who had dogs with cancer. He found success. He mentions one dog that had throat cancer and was considered terminal.

“Three weeks later it was running around like a puppy,” he says, adding that dogs heal much more quickly than people.

He, too, researched the history of the plant and its beneficial effects. When Sintich and the owners were looking for someone knowledgeable to help manage the venture, MacMillan was happy to accept.

The most common ailments the men see at their location are people suffering from anxiety, depression and pain management – whether pain from arthritis or injury. Next, they say, are multiple sclerosis and cancer.