Funding the VCBC Legal Challenges
Mounting legal fees and extra expenses incurred from having to move at the end of the month, requires the Victoria Cannabis Buyes Club to appeal to the public for donations. Donations of cannabis can be dropped off at the club, where it will be inspected before being made available, and money can be dropped off in the store, sent by etransfer to email@example.com or by cheque to JFK Law Corporation c/o VCBC.
To stay up to date on what’s happening with the eviction, make sure your current email address is up to date in our computer systems. Double check we have your contact info next time you’re in the store or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the key arguments the club has against the legal system is the cost of cannabis products for patients. We are doing everything in our power to keep low prices despite these extraordinary expenses, we even dropped our prices for cannabis flower for the first time a few months ago. In face of these obstacles we are keeping profit margins as low as possible, while maintaining adequate staffing levels to ensure we can take time to help members understand our products and how best to use them.
On March 31, the VCBC will be forced to stop sales at 826 Johnson St, unless a political miracle happens within the BC Cabinet. The Community Safety Unit (CSU), a division of the Solicitor General’s office, has threatened our current landlord with fines or jail time if reasonable actions are not taken to stop the sale of unauthorized, so-called “non-medical’ cannabis products. There is not enough time to prepare to file an injunction or any other legal action that might stop this eviction before the end of March.
The club has been able to absorb the costs of the first two raids by the CSU, thanks in large part to an out-of-court settlement and some donations. We have recently paid JFK Law Corporation $20,000, on top of the $40,000 we gave them several months ago when our case began, and we will be paying them another $30,000 within the next month. This will cover all of the costs associated with preparing and filing our Health Canada federal exemption application.
At first glance, requesting an exemption sounds as simple as sending a letter to Health Canada for a hearing, but this is not the case. The exemption application package we will provide to Health Canada is essentially the same information that will be put before a judge, if any further legal actions are required. This means we have to prepare a robust, comprehensive case with affidavits, expert evidence, letters of support and transcripts from other court proceedings.
Once the exemption application is completed and paid for, then we can consider other legal options, using the exemption application as a foundation. The next step is to prepare a constitutional question notice, which will cost around $25,000 over a few months. The constitutional question notice will be used to either file an injunction to keep operating or if we have to file an appeal in the future if Health Canada turns down our exemption application.
Though these are large amounts of money that is coming out of the pockets of our organization, this battle is a do-or-die situation for our club and the patients that rely on us. We cannot afford to fail in our efforts to protect the world-class products and services the VCBC offers our members and this legal work is a critical component of our strategy. That is why we have hired a big, successful law firm.
As for the eviction, we will be selling cannabis medicine from a new location as of April 1st. We haven’t signed the lease and more information about the new location will be available soon. It is uncertain how long it will take for the CSU to start enforcement actions on our new location, we aren’t out of the woods yet. If our new location does not work out, or if there is further enforcement action, then we will have no choice but to try to limit our business to deliveries and mail orders, while setting up a tent at City Hall five days a week so members have an easy space to find us for medicine, information and support. Whatever happens, we will find a way to keep the medicine flowing to our patients.
We have high hopes that our situation will generate significant political power to force the B.C. Cabinet to grant the VCBC a temporary exemption, even after we are forced out.
If you are able to donate to support our cause, please send e-transfers to email@example.com. Cheques, cash and other donations can be dropped off or mailed to 826 Johnson St, Victoria, B.C., V0R 1N3.
The members, staff and board of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club are beyond grateful for all the help we have and are receiving to get through these difficult times.
With humble appreciation and devotion,
The VCBC Team