For Immediate Release

Friday April 16, 2021

 

Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club Applies for Exemption from Health Canada

 

Victoria, B.C.:  After standing its ground against raids and other threats to shut it down, the

Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, with the support of its legal counsel at JFK Law Corporation,

has filed its exemption application to Health Canada. This massive 727-page document

contains letters of support from elected politicians, non-profit societies, doctors, VCBC

members, industry representatives, and academics. A link to the exemption application is

provided here.

 

The VCBC has been providing low-barrier, high-quality medical cannabis to patients who need it

most since 1996. Parts of the federal Cannabis Act and the regulations under it create

significant barriers to the VCBC continuing its operations. With this application, the VCBC has

begun the process of coming into compliance with the federal regime by seeking both temporary

and permanent exemptions to ensure it can continue serving its members’ needs while it works

toward obtaining licenses for its operations. The federal government has the authority to grant

exemptions based on medical or scientific necessity or for public interest reasons.

 

Given the depth and strength of the public’s support for the VCBC, there should be no question

that assisting the Club to transition into the legal system without major interruptions to members

is in the public interest. Letters from Victoria City Council and MPs Laurel Collins and Paul

Manly emphasize the need for the VCBC to continue operating. Letters of support from

hundreds of patients (which have been removed from the publicly available documents to

protect the privacy of their medical information) vividly illustrate the positive benefits of the

VCBC’s products and how devastating the loss of the Club would be for them.

Courts have found that access to medical cannabis engages the liberty and security of the

person rights protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Limiting access to

medical cannabis risks violating the Charter rights of our members and seriously harming their

well-being. Further, the tragic opioid crisis gripping our province continues to escalate, with

record death tolls every month. Access to high-potency, low-cost cannabis products can help

prevent overdose deaths and improve health outcomes, as our members can attest, and as

studies from UBC and other researchers demonstrate.

 

There are compelling, urgent reasons to ensure the VCBC can continue to provide lifesaving

access to medical cannabis in a safe and supportive community setting. We look forward to

working with Health Canada to ensure that objective is achieved.

 

For more information

 

Ted Smith, VCBC Executive Director, 250-415-1063