Legal Politics


For immediate release

Oct 11, 2023

Victoria, B.C.:  The independent panel chosen by Health Canada has just released the LEGISLATIVE REVIEW OF THE CANNABIS ACT: WHAT WE HEARD REPORT, which will be followed shortly by recommendations to the federal Minister of Health and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.  It is expected that Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club founder, Ted Smith, will again be given an opportunity to provide insight to the expert panel once again, after he and members of the compassion club were given opportunities to engage with the expert panel this time around.  The final report with recommendation will be presented to the House of Commons by March 2024.

The review covers the entire spectrum of issues that the legalization of cannabis impacts, including the medical use of cannabis.  In the report, the panel acknowledges that many patients are having difficulties with the legal medical cannabis program.  Some evidence suggests that 74% of people that use cannabis as medicine purchase from recreational sources.

Other issues in the report include: “the affordability of cannabis for medical purposes, noting that excise and sales taxes further compound the lack of affordability and that products from the non-medical market are often less expensive than those from the legal market.  Due to the varying needs of patients, stakeholders suggested the need for a greater diversity of cannabis products for medical purposes, including higher THC quantities.  They recommend more accessible methods to obtain cannabis for medical purposes, such as pharmacies and retail storefronts, to complement the existing mail delivery system.” (pg 10)

Many of the problems that are being experienced by patients in the legal medical cannabis system are not felt by the members of the VCBC because we are in non-compliance with restrictive regulations that would leave patients out in the cold.  Sadly, the VCBC is the only compassion club that engaged with the panel because there are no others left operating in Canada.  After hearing from our members in a zoom meeting, it seems clear the panel understands the value of storefront medical cannabis facilities like ours.

“Some stakeholders, especially those who work in harm reduction, noted that some patients still struggle to use the medical access program. They noted that those without access to a healthcare professional, without a fixed address, or who do not have access to the Internet or a credit card, face barriers. They noted that creative solutions, such as the incorporation of compassion clubs (organizations that provide cannabis for medical purposes) into the legal system, could address these gaps in access for marginalized populations.” (pg. 89)

A comprehensive analysis of the Cannabis Act was written by Jacq Kittel and Ted Smith in November of 2022 in an early stage of information gathering for this panel.  We worked extensively to produce a thorough policy analysis of the Act from the point of view of our patient centric non profit compassion club. Our review and answers to the Expert Review Panel’s questions is titled Cannabis Act Review 2022: Survey Responses from the VCBC, and is available on the Cannabis Digest website.

For more information contact Ted Smith at 250-415-1063 or