For Immediate Release
Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club Gets Eviction Notice
 
Tues, Feb 16, 2021
 
Victoria, B.C.: Despite Solicitor General Mike Farnworth sending Victoria City Council a letter on August 31st, 2020 supporting an exemption for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, the Community Safety Unit is forcing its landlord to evict the 25 year old nonprofit society.
 
Photo by Matt Love, Members protesting outside Carole James office following the first CSU raid in November 2019.
 
With over 8,000 patients relying on the low cost, high quality products the club offers, the VCBC is prepared to launch four simultaneous responsive actions to this situation in a desperate attempt to stand its ground. If the club fails to find a way to stop the province from threatening the landlord, the VCBC will have to move from 826 Johnson Street by March 31 after decades of being in that location.
 
Photo by Matt Love, Ted Smith consoling patients outside the BC Legislature the day after the first CSU raid in November 2019.
 
There are several major problems with the Cannabis Act that make it impossible for the VCBC to comply without destroying the organization and leaving members without the critical medicines they require at prices they can afford. For example, down the street The Original FARM sells two 5 mg THC cookies for $13, while the VCBC sells its cookies for $2.50 and they contain 75 mg THC, a whooping difference in price per mg of THC.
 
Photo by Matt Love, Victoria Police escorting the CSU while raiding the VCBC in November 2019.
 
The four strategies to save the club are:
 
  1. Pressure the BC Cabinet to grant the VCBC a temporary exemption to halt the eviction, pending a decision by Health Canada on an exemption from that level of government;
  2. Prepare to file a court injunction with our legal team at JFK Law Corporation to suspend the threat against the landlord, and any other punitive measures by the Community Safety Unit, pending a decision by Health Canada on an exemption;
  3. Daily protests at noon during the week, following COVID protocols, at the Ministry of Health to pressure Adrian Dix, the BC Minister of Health, to acknowledge the benefits of cannabis as a substitute for opiates and to advocate for the VCBC to get an exemption from his Cabinet colleagues;
  4. Send a comprehensive exemption application from our legal representatives at JFK Law Corporation to Health Canada by the end of February. A last minute attempt to collect letters of support from members, politicians and supporters is being made.

We have provided a template letter below to help guide your letter writing if you need some support in structuring your letter of support.

Every effort is being made to ensure the patients the club serves will continue to have access to the wide selection of products the club produces and sources. If the VCBC is unable to secure the storefront, plans are in place to set up a tent at City Hall five days a week. Home delivery and mail order will continue uninterrupted.
 
Photo by Matt Love, VCBC group shot following the rally we held outside the BC Legislature to protest the CSU raid.
 
More information about the VCBC and our federal exemption application is available at www.vcbc.live and www.cannabisdigest.ca.
 
For more information, please email us hellovcbc@gmail.com
or call Ted Smith at 250-415-1063.


Member Letter Template

The following letter is a sample to help patients understand some of the main points and tone we wish to use in our attempt to obtain an exemption.  This example is brief and some of the details in this example are incorrect to help highlight issues that can be addressed.

Today’s Date

Hello,

My name is ______ and I am writing to encourage Health Canada to grant the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club a temporary exemption from the Cannabis Act.   

They need to continue to provide their high quality medicines to patients like me until such time as the legal medical and/or recreational systems are able to offer comparable products at comparable prices.  

My use of cannabis as medicine started ______________.  As the condition progressed, using cannabis ___(topical, suppository, smoking)____ worked to relieve ___(pain, inflammation, etc)____.  I also use cannabis as a substitute for _____(prescriptions, illicit substance, etc)_____.  

Since the club has formed I have had a steady supply of high quality, inexpensive cannabis products that have provided me with excellent symptom relief.  In particular, the products the club provides give me the relief I need at a cost I can afford on a daily basis.  

Before the club, my access to cannabis medicine was _______. If the club was shut down I would have to __________. This would impact my life in the following ways___________.

While I have looked at what is available in the legal system, I have not seen anything comparable in price or quality.  The few times I have actually tried in a legal store was ________ and my experience was __________.  While in the legal stores I have tried to ask some questions about the medical applications and my experience was _______.

My doctor is unwilling to prescribe me cannabis because ____________.  I cannot afford to pay an online doctor to write me a prescription and do not have a credit card to make a purchase even if I got a legal prescription.  Since I do not have a lot of money, waiting to get medicine in the mail is a serious inconvenience compared to going to the club.

If the club was shut down I would lose access to the products that keep me healthy and happy.  My anxiety would go through the roof, my finances would suffer and my community would be dismantled.  The VCBC has been central to my life for _____ years and it would be devastating to have it fail in transition to legalization after being so instrumental in the fight against prohibition.

There are few negatives of allowing the club to continue operating as it has for a quarter of a century.unless generating profit for big companies is more important than helping patients, particularly those with a low income. Rarely have the club’s activities caused problems when compared to the immeasurable benefits the club has on its members.  Indeed, taking care of the sick, vulnerable and elderly makes the entire community a happier and better place to live.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my situation and I truly hope you grant the club a temporary exemption.

Have a pleasant day.

Your Name
Your Contact Information.

To get a better understanding of why our club needs to keep running, we went down the road to our licensed recreational neighbour, The Original FARM and bought some legal cannabis products.  Below we have provided a direct comparison of our products, with doses and prices, to the options available to consumers in the legal market. The overwhelming difference in cost and strength is only one of many reasons why the VCBC needs to continue operating.

3.5 grams of Pink Kush from FARM compared to Pink Kush from the VCBC
Cannabis infused chocolate from a local VCBC third party producer, vs. legal cannabis infused chocolate.
A VCBC cookie baked on February 5th vs a 5mg cookie from FARM packaged on July 28th, 2020
Expensive and low dose cannabis capsules from FARM vs. our large selection of capsules with compassionate pricing.