Minutes after opening on Weds July 15, 2020, investigators with the provincial government’s Community Safety Unit entered the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club for the second time in 8 months. The action caught the organization by surprise, as everyone assumed the letter of support written by the Victoria mayor and council in January would at least be answered before more enforcement actions were taken. Indeed, the raid was the province’s response to the municipal government.
The mayor and council unanimously agreed to support the VCBC in an attempt to obtain a temporary exemption from the province. The motion to support our club was not even debated by the council, as it is clear to them that we serve an important role in this awkward legal transition. The letter is on the back of this newsletter, along with the response of the CSU to a letter written by us to follow up the city.
This took our organization by surprise, with a store full of medicine and limited opportunities to engage in the political process during the COVID situation. While we will recover financially, in large part due to the overwhelming support we have in our community, this incursion has dismayed many who feel their voices have not been heard after they spoke out following the first raid. Despite losing a substantial amount of medicine, we were able to reopen again the next day and have been rebuilding our stock ever since.
There may be a reason the CSU felt rushed into hitting the VCBC before the fine was processed or any other actions taken by our new law firm JFK Law Corporation. On the day after, Thurs July 16, the Victoria Chief of Police was ordered to begin an investigation by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner into the involvement of the Victoria Police Department in the CSU raid of last year. This investigation was initiated by member William Freeman.
Now we need members and the public to help us convince the VPD that it is irresponsible to assist the CSU in raiding the VCBC as it negatively affects the health and well-being of many seriously ill patients. There are two steps. The first step is writing a letter to introduce yourself and encourage a full investigation into this situation.
Simply write to firstname.lastname@example.org. This letter can be short and sweet. Here is an example:
Hello Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
My name is Ted Smith and I have been a member of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club since Jan 1996 to deal with my incurable back pain and depression.
The products the club supplies me are far superior to what is available in the legal medical or recreational programs, at prices I can afford to use daily. I feel very vulnerable and threatened knowing these police actions could seriously affect my health.
I am being negatively affected by the actions of the Victoria Police Department and want to fully participate in OPCC File #20-108001 (Freeman) in a safe manner, as I assume this will be thoroughly investigated.
My email is email@example.com and my phone number is 250-415-1063.