Sangha Featured in Article about Cannabis for Harm Reduction

“It’s not the fact that we’re a group of drug users that makes us public enemy number 1. The private sector, the cannabis industry, is providing more funding and more resources than our own municipal government. We’re not the enemy because we’re growing weed, we’re the enemy because we’re right about what needs to happen as far as harm reduction. And we’re providing an adequate response”. – Sapha Habibi

New Leaf Outreach is a peer-run drug user organization local to Nanaimo B.C. and operated by people who use or are in recovery from using drugs. The organization’s unique approach to using lived in experience to provide users with harm reduction, holistic recovery and even job opportunities.

“Our unique approach to recovery from opioid and other substance use is evidence-based and inclusive of cannabis and other natural alternatives”.
New Leaf Outreach

The project started when Kevin Donaghy (KD) and Sapha Habibi (SH) met in rehab and decided something needed to be done about the drug and overdose crisis affecting their community. The website fills in better detail, the mantra and logistics of the organization. The most interesting thing is the group has taken it upon themselves to respond directly and independently to Nanaimo’s situation.

Rochele Strano (RS) New Leaf’s Coordinator oversees 15 volunteers that go out into the city to offer clean supplies but also clean up used needles and other supplies. She also works NLO’s pop up tent consumption sites appearing at different locations and supplying a safe place off the street for people to use.

Donaghy and Habibi are so busy that I interview them each separately in the only spare moment they have in a day; while eating.

I am also introduced to Anne Marie Fisher (AMF), a cannabis writer and educator under Cannawrite and another cannabis educator Sara Nurse Lovegrove (SNL). Both women volunteer with New Leaf and are part of the Sangha Collective which works with a number of cannabis businesses and non-profits providing coaching and a variety of services to help them enter the cannabis industry.

It’s definitely interesting to see how NLO sheds light on the cannabis stigma…

Read the full interview at:

Anne-Marie Fischer