On Tuesday, for the first time in 19 year, The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club did not open for business and patients. In the midst of a COVID-19 global pandemic, measures have had to be taken to ensure the safety of our society, and the VCBC has taken no exception to that.
Across the United States, and even in Canada, non-essential businesses have been forced to close, in an effort to flatten the curve, a preventative measure aimed as slowing the continued spread of coronavirus. Certain states have declared that cannabis retailers will remain open as their provide an essential service to the communities, though that is further divided down county by county.
Within Canada, Ontario and Quebec, which both announced, over the last few days, that non-essential businesses would be forced to close for a period of time, did note the exception being made for cannabis stores, as again, they have been deemed an essential service.
British Columbia provincial health officials have urged businesses to move towards remote operation, with employees working from home, and social distancing measures being followed. Many non-essential businesses have temporarily shut down, in an effort to comply with the guidelines being set. In Victoria, B.C., for the immediate future, the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, while still aiming to provide as many services as it can to its patients during this trying time, has made the following adjustments to their schedule:
- Hours of operation have changed to Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only, from 10am to 7pm
- They will extend their Wednesday hours from 9am to 9pm once a month, to accommodate those on social assistance.
- All sign-ups for new members are taking place by appointment, over the phone, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; but no purchasing will take place on those days.
The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club began in the back of a van and has been in operation for 24 years – in its current location for the last 19. It has survived through six raids and two armed robberies; persevering to provide medicine for the critically ill. They have fought for the right to help those who ask for it, providing medical cannabis and cannabis products for people who suffer from incurable conditions.
If you ask any staff member, they will tell you that the VCBC is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day. The only time the club has traditionally closed is once a year, for two hours, in order to allow for all the staff to attend the Annual General Meeting.
Why remain open all year round? Medical conditions and the symptoms they cause don’t take days off. High quality medical cannabis access is an essential life saving service, and the VCBC takes that responsibility very seriously.
That all being said, during this tumultuous time, extreme measures must be taken, and so for the time being, members will find that purchasing medicine is going to follow a slightly different process.
We will now only be allowing two members into the club at once, one for each till.Ted Smith, the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club
Ted Smith released a statement about the new policy now in effect, explaining, “There will be chalk marks on the street to help keep our members waiting a safe distance from each other.”
“Hopefully we will not have to limit our hours more but we will continue to monitor what is happening inside and outside our organization. We will try to give as much warning as possible if further changes are made. We really appreciate everyone’s patience with us as we get through these trying times. We are doing everything possible to keep our staff and members healthy and safe through this stressful situation.”