The B.C. government will soon be using a strengthened Civil Forfeiture Act to put a nail in the coffin of B.C. Bud cannabis farmers.

B.C. Bud is the colloquial term for thousands of underground cannabis farmers, vendors, and other related cannabis service providers.

Before legalization, these people were engaging in civil disobedience. If Canada ever legalized, people believed the government would bring this community into the mainstream. 

What else does legalization mean?

Well, we found out. Once the Trudeau government pledged to legalize, B.C. Bud became “organized crime.” Even to the B.C. government.

Instead of embracing the economic output of B.C. Bud, the NDP BC government has done everything possible to collectivize them into a corporate-state model.

Why “Illicit” B.C. Bud is Justified 

Why "Illicit" B.C. Bud is Justified

Cannabis prohibition is unjust. Full stop. Therefore, cultivating, selling, and transforming cannabis flower into consumable products is a basic human right.

Many in B.C. Bud voted for the Liberal Party in 2015. Many expected Justin Trudeau to end the crony capitalism of Stephen Harper’s medical cannabis market.

They expected legalization.

What happened instead was corporatization. You needed deep pockets to succeed. Cannabis in Canada was about selling equity, not weed. And now the failure of that system is upon us.

Meanwhile, B.C. Bud has been slowly (and reluctantly) given a path to legitimacy. It just involves a lot of money and paperwork brought to you by bureaucratic regulators.

The institution that enthusiastically threw you in a cage for cultivating a flower is the same apparatus telling you how to produce it.

Thanks to Justin Trudeau’s “public health and safety” method of legalizing cannabis (embraced by the B.C. government without question), a vast sum of the B.C. Bud’s community remains locked out of the legal regime.

They either have to make unrealistic sacrifices to their current business model or raise additional capital to satisfy the demands of government bureaucrats.

(This latter point of requiring a certain amount of capital to be considered legitimate inflicts many industries. It is one of many ways Canada’s “civil servants” ensure the rich get wealthier at the expense of the middle class and the poor.)

Instead of trying to work with B.C. Bud, the NDP BC Government has been out for blood. First, by establishing the “Community Safety Unit,” which has threatened and raided longstanding, respected community dispensaries

And now the B.C. government wants to kill B.C. Bud with Bill 21. The Civil Forfeiture Amendment Act of 2023.

B.C. Government to Kill B.C. Bud with Civil Forfeiture Act 

B.C. Government to Kill B.C. Bud with Civil Forfeiture Act 

Civil forfeiture is when governments seize property and other assets from individuals suspected of committing a crime. Its origins date back to the 1980s in the United States as an attempt to reduce organized crime.

Of course, organized crime got its big break with alcohol prohibition.

Traditionally, in the English common law system that the U.S. and Canada adhere to, asset forfeiture is a power that belongs to the criminal courts.

These courts require proof beyond a reasonable doubt—another example of how a decentralized network of courts and legal professionals secures our rights.

Consider the legislative response.

Since clever criminals can successfully conceal asset ownership, governments have reacted with civil forfeiture. Namely, undertaking civil action against individuals and entities suspected of being involved with criminal activity. 

This means allowing the government to seize property through civil courts instead of criminal courts. Civil forfeiture shifts the burden of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to a “balance of probabilities.”

Instead of providing hard evidence, governments can confiscate assets based on “reasonable suspicion.”

Using civil courts in this matter is antithetical to our common law traditions and concept of liberty.

Suppose the B.C. government were to accuse you of purchasing a home or a car from proceeds you made selling cannabis (that is, selling cannabis without your proper government papers). 

In a criminal trial, you’re not proving your innocence. You’re presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the civil forfeiture process, the state requires you to prove that you derived the assets in question through legal and legitimate means. 

It flips the entire “innocent until proven guilty” concept on its head.

How B.C. Will Use Civil Forfeiture Act To Kill B.C. Bud

How B.C. Will Use Civil Forfeiture Act To Kill B.C. Bud

The B.C. government’s amendments to the Civil Forfeiture Act will kill B.C. Bud.

Expected to pass its Third Reading and receive Royal Assent, the propaganda is about “making gang life unprofitable.”

Concerning cannabis, the amendments include invoking civil forfeiture for having 20 or more cannabis plants.

(Technically, five times the legal limit. So if you have a medical licence for 20 plants, then producing 100 will see your assets taken in civil court).

As part of the “let’s kill B.C. Bud with civil forfeiture” plan is the creation of “unexplained wealth orders,” or UWOs. UWOs streamline the process so the government can more effectively demand how you acquired your assets if they suspect you of being part of the B.C. Bud market.

The government calls it a “powerful tool” to help undermine money-laundering techniques such as “hiding assets with family members.” 

Bill 21 will also eliminate limitation periods, make it easier to target financed vehicles and access information from private bodies, like real estate boards.

Of course, the B.C. government is going after all organized crime, not just cannabis, which is a little too late, as anyone familiar with B.C.’s casinos knows.

But in case you think I’m being hyperbolic, here is a direct quote from the B.C. government media release: 

The amendments are based on recommendations from the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, which was released in June 2022. Other amendments include… targeting the illegal cannabis market.

What About First Nations? 

B.C. Government to Kill B.C. Bud with Civil Forfeiture Act What about First Nations

B.C.’s Public Health and Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, debated with the opposition’s shadow minister in the provincial house. Farnworth said the new rules won’t apply to First Nations land.

Of course, Farnworth can’t be trusted on this, as he also said the same thing about CSU raids. But, as First Nation lands are federally controlled, provincial civil forfeiture rules can’t apply.

However, if police suspect a First Nations community is illegally growing cannabis, then they can isolate the individuals on the Reserve. As soon as a community member leaves in a vehicle and crosses into B.C. territory, police can grab them under civil forfeiture laws.

First Nations cannabis cultivation has been controversial in B.C. A group of legal retailers are suing the provincial government over, what they argue, is a lack of proper enforcement.

On the other hand, First Nation groups say they have intrinsic rights to the land and its resources, including cannabis cultivation.

Many credit B.C.’s First Nations for keeping the spirit of B.C. Bud alive after eight years of systemic efforts by the federal and provincial governments to eliminate the culture.

Why Does the B.C. NDP Hate B.C. Bud?


You’d think a left-wing party like the NDP would support a working and middle-class struggle against the corporatization of a natural herb.

But, then, again, the NDP parties of today are not like the ones of yesteryear. 

During the Great Depression, workers marched to Ottawa to protest. The RCMP stopped them in Regina. You can’t read a left-wing labour history of Canada without the “On-to-Ottawa Trek” taking up at least an entire chapter.

But in 2022, when a similar struggle broke out? When working truckers drove their rigs to Ottawa? The leader of the federal NDP called them racists and accused them of arson and violence.

Meanwhile, B.C.’s NDP government strengthen civil forfeiture laws to kill B.C. Bud. They’ve also empowered their extrajudicial CSU to target online cannabis retailers (the ones government bureaucrats haven’t arbitrarily approved).

Public health busybodies always say, “Today’s cannabis isn’t like your grandparents’.” Likewise, the NDP of today is not the NDP of your grandparents’. 

A proper, left-wing party would support B.C. Bud. Not group them with criminals. 

An NDP that stood for the working class would have challenged Ottawa’s collectivization of B.C. Bud. They would have objected to having Health Canada – of all agencies – regulate the cultivation of an agricultural herb.

The NDP B.C. Government should repeal these civil forfeiture amendments and stand up for B.C. Bud. Not because of British Columbia’s unique cannabis culture. And not because cannabis is good for the economy, environment, or health care.

But because it’s the right thing to do. Cannabis belongs in a free and fair market. The only role governments have to play is keeping it out of the criminal code.