Nikki has been a long time patient and member of the VCBC, and we are so thankful to have her working on our team. Access to high dose cannabis medicines and the resources we provide were essential when it came to managing Nikki’s chronic symptoms throughout her turbulent medical history and ins and outs of medical offices.  Below is Nikki’s personal letter outlining how cannabis, and the VCBC, saved her life. 

Left to right: Clea MaClean, Nikki Jackson, Jacq Kittel

Hello

My name is Nichelle Jackson 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 in 2012 after being institutionalized because of a bad pharmaceutical drug reaction that caused a manic episode. I have had extreme digestive issues and severe back pain since I was 17, for which I have been put through the ringer in the western medicinal world. By 20 I was on over 15 different pharmaceuticals, some for my digestive issues, a couple for general pain and some for the resulting anxiety/ depression of being diagnosed with Crohns disease at such a young age. 

Even with all the pharmaceuticals the doctors told me I was still dying of malnutrition, I was in and out of the hospital every two weeks for an extended period of time with violent stomach attacks and vomiting fits that resulted in extreme weight loss and inability to absorb anything through my over inflamed digestive tract.  After the hospitalization my conditions continued to worsen and my mental health was declining rapidly, they had me on different anxiety medications that made me feel absolutely terrible and I was desperate for answers. 

My mother introduced me to the club and using cannabis medicinally as at the time I was only smoking cannabis recreationally.  Using cannabis in all its forms, specifically the broad selection of capsules utilizing all parts of the plant, suppositories and Rick Simpson Oil from VCBC helped me transition off of ALL pharmaceuticals. Having access to high THC & CBD levels in smaller doses was a game changer as my stomach couldn’t process large amounts of food, oils or anything really. These products minimized the stomach attacks immediately so that my appetite started to increase, it reduced the inflammation in my gastro tract and controlled the pain in my back so I was able to regain a proper sleep regime making my anxiety decrease dramatically. These products and this club replaced everything the doctors were trying to medicate me with and I felt 100x better than I ever did on pharmaceuticals. 

It’s now been 8 years of only using cannabis for managing my pain and digestive issues, it is the only thing that helps me. I also use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, cocaine and other substances. I’ve also now been sober from alcohol and hard drugs for 9 months with the help of the club and my consistent use of their products.

Since Ive been a member of the club I have had a steady supply of high quality, inexpensive cannabis products that have provided me with effective symptom relief with no side effects. In particular, the products the club provides give me the relief I need, at a dosage I can digest for a cost I can afford on a daily basis.  

Before the club my access to cannabis medicine was non-existent, it was the friend that sold or made cookies at a dosage that was unknown from an incredible source. If the club was shut down I would have to resort back to the black market that still doesn’t produce the quality of products the club does. Alternatively the even more inferior products for inflated prices created in the legal market, with non organic ingredients, harmful oils such as canola oil and massive amounts of sugar that all defeat the purpose of the medication. This would impact my life greatly as the amount of cannabis I need to consume is not affordable in any other way, I would be forced to choose medicine over other essential things in my life or vice versa.

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 been in a legal store were so off putting I never actually made a purchase. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the dose I needed had I been interested anyway. There weren’t any options in capsules that I could consume as the oils used were indigestible and low grade. My experience was less than welcoming as the staff can’t advise you on anything,  While in the legal stores I have tried to ask some questions about the medical applications and I got even less answers.

My doctor is unwilling to prescribe me cannabis because they don’t agree there is enough scientific evidence around it, yet the club has over 8000 members that are anecdotal evidence that cannabis can be used as a medicine in all its forms.. Their staff is the most knowledgable and helpful people I’ve met and have been able to guide me to a proper regime that works for my body. The legal market and medical system available to patients does not come close to offering such a service.  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 where they accept cash and are open every day of the year.

If the club was shut down I would lose access to the products that keep me healthy and happy.  The other options simply do not cut it, my anxiety would increase, my finances would suffer and my community would be dismantled.  The VCBC has been central to my life for 8 years and it would be devastating to have it fail in transition to legalization after being so instrumental in the fight against prohibition.

The negatives of allowing the club to continue operating as it has for a quarter of a century are few, 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.

Nikki Jackson.