By Heidi Simmons

Julie Montante has been a Coachella Valley resident for over 30 years.  When her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Montante wanted to find alternative ways to help her fight the disease.  That experience led her to 15 years of marijuana research and development.  Today, she is Chief Executive Officer of the collective PSA Organica — Palm Springs Associated Organica.

This Friday, February 5, from noon to 2:00 pm, Montante and PSA Organica will have a ribbon cutting to celebrate the community’s newest licensed medical marijuana dispensary, located at 400 Sunny Dunes in Palm Springs.

CVW spoke with Montante about the medical marijuana business.

When did you first get involved with the pot business?

First off, we don’t call what we do the “pot business.”  That’s not what we’re about at PSA Organica.  We are all about medical cannabis and the health and healing of people who are sick.  Our business is to help all patients, especially those with cancer and AIDS.

Why marijuana?

Medicinal marijuana is legal and offers a wide range of health benefits.  I learned so much going through cancer treatment with my mother, family members and friends.  I wanted to help others find alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation treatment.   Medical cannabis can provide a way to wean off prescription opioids.  As a business, PSA Organica can reach out and help more people who are ill and improve their quality of life.

How did you choose the name PSA Organica?

Palm Springs has been a leader in marijuana licensing.  At PSA Organica, we want to show that we are associated with Palm Springs’ licensing values.  All of our medicine is organic.  Our goal is to be Palm Springs’ ideal dispensary and an innovator in medical marijuana treatment.

What makes PSA Organica different for other medical marijuana shops?

We take great care in listening to our patient’s needs.  We sit down with them to find out what their health problems are and work out a treatment plan.  We are open to the whole community.  Anyone can come in and use our lobby as a cooling station or get something to eat or drink.  We have an on-going canned food drive to feed the hungry and homeless.  Bring in five cans of food – for people or pets – and we give $5 off your purchase.

How will PSA Organica serve the community?

We are committed to the community with the lowest prices, best quality and excellent service.  We offer discounts to veterans.  We treat anyone with stage-four cancer, HIV or those who can’t afford it for free.  We deliver for free.  As we grow with our patients, we plan on having a health clinic, a gym, chiropractic care, Zumba classes and more.

What’s the biggest challenge of running a medical marijuana business?

The biggest challenge was to get the license and convince the city that we are sincere in doing whatever it takes to create a healing and healthy environment that not only serves those who are sick but the wider community’s health concerns as well.

What is the best part of running a medical marijuana business?

The best part is when patients thank us for helping them with treatment and getting them through their time of need.

Do you believe marijuana should be legalized for adult consumptions?

It will be legalized.  But, I believe in marijuana for its healing purposes.  For recreational use, that’s up to the individual to choose.

What do you want people to know about medical marijuana?

I want people to know they can find comfort in it.  It works.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  I invite people to come into PSA Organica and ask questions.  Medical cannabis is an effective alternative medicine.  If someone chooses not to use conventional methods, PSA Organica will help find the best alternate treatment.

PSA Organica allows people to use their lobby and come in for a free consultation without a medical card.  To use the dispensary a medical marijuana card is required.  Located at 400 Sunny Dunes in Palm Springs, PSA Organica is Palm Springs’ fifth licensed medical marijuana dispensary. For more information on PSA Organica call 760-778-1053.