Barinder Rasode is one of the most admirable woman in Vancouver. This woman’s accolades precede her wherever she goes. Barinder is an advocate for gender equity, like seriously loudly proud to fight for women’s rights. She is a well-respected woman in the political field.
Barinder is also quite a savvy business woman and strives to inspire women to take the spotlight (in business) as their given right.
Ms. Rasode’s resumé is as lengthy as her involvement in social issues. Just to name a few – Elected City Councillor, Candidate for Mayor, Co-founder of the wildly popular She Talks and host of She Talks Radio – a platform for women to tell their raw stories in the safety of her company.
Let’s add (past) member of Fraser Health Board of Directors, (past) Director of Social Responsibility/Resource Works. Current President and CEO, NICHE Canada.
As a mother, business woman, and advocate Barinder Rasode has managed to find that fine balance that allows her to be the most well-rounded individual I know.
Recently I managed to get her to sit down with me for a brief and informal chat on the topic of Cannabis Legalization.
An informal Q and A
Barinder Rasode, President and CEO of NICHE Canada.
What is Niche Canada?
National Institute of Cannabis and Health Education, Canada. Niche is the discussion on cannabis legalization from the perspective of helping Canadians catch up to those who have invested so much, both in terms of knowledge, and monetary investment in the cannabis space, so we’re the bridge that brings government at all three levels, stakeholders and cannabis industry together.
Is NICHE planning on becoming the major source of current news in the cannabis industry?
Yes. Our goal is to become a reliable source of information both in terms of current events but also to take research that’s either being done, or has been done, and putting it into digestible language for everyday people.
How does Niche help potential investors invest in the industry?
Yeah, what we’ll have is we’re going to be working on monthly webinars and the webinars speakers will be experts from the industry. And it’s really important that as we are building out the legislation that we keep in mind that this is going to be an industry of the future that will not only create jobs but provide people alternatives to healing, and have recreational benefits too, so for sure people who are getting into that industry have a lot of questions.
Let’s start with you. How do you really feel about Cannabis?
Well that’s the interesting piece so, while I was a city councillor I supported motions that came before UBCM on decriminalizing or legalizing. However, I was also one of the councillors that helped bring forward a very strict policy in Surrey to prevent, both dispensaries, and the production of cannabis in any part of the city except a very small area.
How I feel is, I grew up in the era when cannabis was the gateway drug, it was not the cool people who were hanging out in the smoke pit smoking up. Now I have come with life experience to the point where I have seen people with chronic illnesses, either pain or people in hospices dying of cancer who use cannabis for medicinal reasons.
I have seen family members, of people I know, passing away use cannabis as anti-anxiety solutions versus other pharmaceuticals. And I have read enough to realize that, you know that cannabis has been around for centuries and it has been used as a healing herb by traditional and holistic healers for many, many centuries. And you know we have a lot to learn, so I want to be a part of that conversation where people are learning.
Has anyone, close to you, ever disclosed their personal stories of a situation where cannabis has alleviated pain in their lives?
Oh! so absolutely. A couple of my friends’ parents have died from cancer. And that’s where, not only are the benefits of healing and pain relief, but you also learned the anti-anxiety components which were very helpful. And now recently, before I took the role, I learned a lot about premenopausal and menopausal women using cannabis versus other therapies, or not using anything at all and suffering greatly through that period. So definitely many reports peer-reviewed by American medical journals on the benefits of everything from cramping to fibromyalgia and endometriosis.
Hmm, are you saying this could be a cure-all medicine?
The benefit of Cannabis, is it’s not a, it’s not a one fits everyone solution. People need to learn about what strain, and what doses work for them, so it’s not like you pick up a bottle and Its ibuprofen and it’s this many mgs and this many mgs but there is nothing different about it. And people are learning that different cannabis strains are helping them for different ailments. But people also benefit from them differently. So, it’s almost like a healing therapy that’s catering to who you are, which I think is a gift.
Do you think there’s been enough research and surveys done that has been dedicated to this new industry, especially with regular society?
No, and that’s the other purpose of NICHE, is that we have a basic understanding and see value, but is there enough research to answer all of the questions as we’re moving forward? No. And that’s something that we’re really committed to, you know. Where does somebody from a municipal government, who has now been tasked to create a report for elected officials to make a decision, go to get information? because when you Google it you will find half a dozen articles for the cannabis industry, and a half dozen against cannabis industry.
Any trusted articles, or reliable sources, for this industry in Canada on the net yet?
There’s no medical journal or legal journals at this point, so we want to be very mindful that with our board and the policymakers that are on the board that there will be a certainty about the information being from credible sources and based on some research.
Based on your research and everything you have learned and know so far, has there been any documented cases where cannabis has actually ruined a child’s, or a person’s life?
So, outside of the judgment and the stereotype that comes with using mind altering substances, which include alcohol, I have been hard pressed to find a consistent legitimate concern around how this could have a long lasting negative impact on people, unless of course they’re under the legal age. So, what happens is that, there are documented incidences where there might be some compelling correlation between a trigger of a mental illness and cannabis if it’s used at a young age. But we know if somebody smoking crack cocaine or heroin the likelihood of them being addicted is guaranteed. That addiction is not present with cannabis.
So that’s the other exciting thing for me as a member of the Fraser Health Board. When I looked at this opportunity, it was the opportunity to deal with the opiate crisis by using cannabis.
How is that?
What it does is it provides an alternative that is not addictive in nature, and it’s not hard on the liver and kidney, in the organs. It’s the same with drinking, which is much more harmful to your liver than cannabis is, cannabis is actually used by people who are battling liver cancer to help heal the liver.
Stay tuned for part two of this conversation with Barinder Rasode, NICHE CANADA.
I am perpetually seeking natural healing for the mind, body and soul, because humans matter,