If you ask any of the staff or volunteers at the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club what they will do on October 17th, they will tell you that business will operate as usual.
On July 26, 2018, Ted Smith wrote a letter to BC’s Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, Carole James to explain. Here is that letter:
Dear Carol James,
Thank you so very much for taking the time to meet with me, Julia and Clea from the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club a few weeks ago to discuss the various problems we see with the Cannabis Act and other provincial regulations.
In operation since 1996, we help over 7,000 people suffering with severe chronic pain, addiction or mental health problems. We do not intend to switch to recreational sales so we can continue to focus on patients and the specialty cannabis products, like suppositories, they require.
The drug war has been a very long, expensive civil war. While we are happy the government is finally legalizing cannabis, we fear the regulations are so threatening to the lives of our patients that we will not be able to comply with the new laws until the following three conditions are met.
All cannabis products and derivatives must be available for sale.
Vertical integration between micro-producers, micro-processors and stores must be allowed so the club can have a kitchen and control its grow facilities.
The club’s safe consumption room must be allowed to continue to operate.
When the government amends the laws to allow for the above activities, then we will declare a truce in this war and work to become fully licenced. It would be absurd for our organization to withdraw products and services from our patients when legalization begins when we have been safely operating for so long.
While we realize the first demand is a federal matter, it will be enforced by provincial and municipal officials. We urge those inspectors to exercise restraint in enforcement until these issues are resolved.
Victoria’s city council recognizes our compassion club’s unique role in the country’s sudden move to legalize. It would be more than appropriate for you and the province to do the same.
In our meeting you stated that since law enforcement had been tolerant of us for so long, you felt the authorities could no longer allow any deviation from the law. We are prepared for the government to once again attack us for protecting patients but we are eternally hopeful that will not happen.
Many of those who risked their freedom to provide medicine to the sick under prohibition would have been happy to help create the laws regulating cannabis. Sadly, instead of being a part of this new era, the VCBC will not be able to comply with these new laws without risking the lives of patients in this economic and social experiment.
Please help us work towards a fair and just cannabis distribution system that truly benefits patients and those who serve them.
President and founder, Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club