Medical marijuana is being sold for the first time in Maple Ridge today at a non-profit clinic.

The Always Growing Green Society will sell pot to patients who have referrals from their doctors and who weren’t happy with the quality of product provided by the government, said director Michael Johnson.

“It’s about time something like this opened in Maple Ridge,” said Johnson. He uses marijuana to manage severe back pain because he claims traditional painkillers didn’t help.

“I started having to go to the dispensary in Vancouver,” Johnson said.

“That was an hour trip each way. The pain just from driving there and back (was terrible).”

The Always Growing Green Society — like the six other medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver and Victoria — follows strict protocols established by police including a small maximum daily dosage.

It will buy its product from registered compassionate growers.

Jacob Hunter, who uses medical marijuana to manage chronic knee pain, said for some people pot is the only effective painkiller.

“I used so much OxyContin that I almost overdosed because it wasn’t working (for) me,” he said.

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