Activism Blog Canada Feature

How to help the VCBC after a raid

Since the Community Safety Unit has raided two Trees locations in Victoria in the last two days, we expect the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club to be next on their list.  When the CPU came to threaten the club two months ago, we were told they cared nothing for our mandate or history. According to the CPU, medical cannabis dispensaries no longer exist as the legal stores are recreational and medical is strictly mail order from Licensed Producers.

We could spend a long time going over why this approach is wrong but that is what we are facing.  This morning as we open the doors we expect the CPU will be here to take the medicine our patients need.  While we cannot stop them from entering our doors, we can prepare for our immediate response.

It cannot be stressed enough that at all times we must remain nonviolent and refrain from damaging vehicles or threatening the officers involved in these raids.  While we may have serious problems with what they are doing, it is others at the highest levels of government that are responsible for the terrible way cannabis is becoming legalized.  In fact we have a really wonderful relationship with the Victoria Police department because we have been friendly to them even in the most intense circumstances.

Whether debating with a CPU officer, politician or media representative about this situation, it is always important to avoid being rude or insulting.  We need to win this fight with love, reason and patience. Be firm in your position and passionate about your beliefs but attack the ideas of our opposition without bringing your integrity down with rude behaviour.

When the inevitable raid comes there are several things our members and supporters can do immediately.  By getting the word out on social media, we hope to have a huge gathering of people outside on Johnson St before they have packed up.  If the crowd is large enough we might march over to the office of our MLA Carol James once the vans have left.

As soon as the CPU enters the club we hope to get in touch with the media to inform them of the raid and the rally.  We need supporters to contact all local media to make sure they report this immediately and take it very seriously. Our best means of explaining to everyone how terrible legalization is for patients is through the media and we need members of the public to contact them through emails and phone calls.  It makes a huge difference in how this will be reported.

We also need our supporters to contact our local MLA Carol James, as she is also the NDP vice-Premier of BC and Minister of Finance. She has worked very close with Mike Farnswroth as they developed the provinces strategy to take over the cannabis industry.  Last summer she told us that the tolerance we enjoyed under prohibition will not last long once cannabis is legal.

MLA: Hon. Carole James
Phone: (250) 387-3751

Clearly the federal government also deserves some wrath for this mess but there are no elected Liberal MP near us.  Murray Rankin has been an alley while he has represented the NDP as an MP but he is retiring before the fall election.

Of course donations to recover any losses from the raid are greatly appreciated.  While we realize most people cannot afford to help, there are many potential members who can at least help us by purchasing their medicine from us.  We are a nonprofit society and struggling with debt before this so any extra money we can make will help us continue fighting.

The day after the raid we will host a rally at the BC legislature at noon.  This rally will give us a chance to explain our plans and give patients an opportunity to tell the media how important our club is for their health.  We will discuss how the club will continue to operate, as we are committed to ensuring patients have access to these life-saving medicines.  

We will reopen the day after the first raid, at some point once the rally is over.  It is hard to state exactly what our plan will be at that point, as we need to be flexible and persistent if we are going to survive this.  

The staff and board of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club could not be more committed to the patients we serve.  We know too well how much we help people deal with some very serious health problems and we will not turn our back on them now.  It is such an honour to work with such an ourtstanding team.

Thank you all for your support during these trying times.

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