On the last weekend of January, the VCBC will be celebrating 26 years of operating but we will not be holding any events due to COVID-19.
The past year has been very stressful yet we continue to thrive and grow like an unstoppable force of nature. With many projects in the works, it seems that despite the government’s efforts to shut us down we will instead be making some major contributions to the medical cannabis field.
VCBC Celebrates 26th Anniversary
Seriously, last year was intense. Weeks after the anniversary, the landlord was threatened with jail or a fine by the BC Solicitor General if we continued to operate. Thankfully our legal team at JFK Law Corporation were able to convince the landlord’s lawyer that we were a medical club that should not be under the jurisdiction of the province’s recreational system.
The agreement with the landlord was reached days before the club expected its lease to expire, which would have forced us to operate out of a tent at city hall! The rent also went up by $420 per month which felt like a wink from the canna-verse. Every day since the club feels like another small miracle on Johnson St.
One reason we are still here is the amount of support for us that appeared when our home was threatened. We received over 300 letters from our members and their loved ones, many of which tell very compelling stories about how the club and its products have saved lives. Politicians, doctors, non-profit societies and many others also wrote and advocated to the BC Solicitor General on our behalf.
At the same time, the finishing touches were being done on the exemption application to Health Canada being prepared by JFK Law Corporation. The high volume of high quality letters complimented the excellent work we did with patient affidavits and expert evidence to compile a comprehensive exemption application. We do not expect Health Canada to give us a positive or negative answer any time soon, but for the time being a stalemate is the best case scenario.
Meanwhile, unknown to the general membership, some of the staff were unhappy with the management of the society and decided to apply to form a union two weeks after we received the eviction notice! Since we struggling with complex Human Resource issues, we hired a third party company to provide us with human resources advice. Their advice was so factually incorrect and harmful that we were found in violation of the labor code twice. Fortunately, after months managing the presence of a looming unionization, over the summer the staff voted against a union.
Thankfully the rest of the year was relatively uneventful for us, though at the end of the year some sad news from Montreal started to affect things. Sadly, the Montreal Green Cross was raided and shut down December 14th, 2021. The Green Cross has been sending their patients to us ever since, as we have the best medical cannabis products and prices in the country.
As a result, we have expanded our suppository line and are adding some other new products to accommodate these patients. This has made us both much busier, especially over the holiday season, and much more appreciative that we are still here. Our little miracle on Johnson St.
New Board Adds Depth And Experience
Last fall the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club held our Annual General Meeting in extraordinary fashion due to COVID but we managed to come away with the most solid board of directors this organization has ever seen. That is not to dismiss the efforts made since we incorporated the organization in 2012 but a recognition of the contributions our new board members have already made to the movement. With so much work ahead, the timing of this injection of intellectual power will substantially magnify our collective’s ability to manifest a future that generates maximum gains for patients.
Several of the past board were up for re-election, including the entire executive. Being a board member is a two year term and the only person not up for re-election was Ron “bones’ O’Hare. Clea Maclean, Julia Furstenau and myself, the executive and core of the board, were re-elected. A huge thanks goes out to Chloe Schubert who has been on the board fighting to keep us alive the past few years.
One board member needs no introduction. Owen Smith changed the Canadian cannabis scene and the world, when after he was caught baking cookies for the VCBC, he fought with us to the Supreme Court of Canada to make extracts and edibles legal for patients. For several years he did the design of the Cannabis Digest, as well as being a contributing writer, plus he has experience working in other dispensaries and even a legal LP. We could not be happier to have our old friend back on the team.
Nick Mailhot has been very helpful over the last few years, from donating various types of equipment to lending his expertise. He has extensive knowledge of almost every production and processing method of cannabis. With many contacts in the industry, Nick will also be very useful to us this year as we improve our packaging.
Last but not least we have Chris Marks, a former member of the board from the Vancouver Island Compassion Club and disability advocate extraordinaire. His drive to succeed has led him to sitting on disability access committees with city hall and to further his education in business.
While the club faces a long difficult road towards full compliance with the law, the next phase will definitely be made easier with these new additions to our board. No one can predict how things will work out, but we can be assured this revived leadership team will help propel us to a better future.