The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (VCBC) plans to launch a constitutional challenge against the B.C. government. They are also filing for an injunction.
The nearly 30-year-old compassionate club started in a van in the 1990s. In 2001, they moved downtown. Police raided them four different times. In each raid, VCBC beat the criminal charges in court.
Recently, the VCBC has been the victim of the B.C. government’s “Community Safety Unit,” which has fined the club close to $6.5 million. The VCBC also says the B.C. government has been harassing their landlord, BlueBird Storage, who have welcomed them for 21 years.
California, Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, or Colorado would likely welcome VCBC, as these states allow for cannabis clubs and consumption lounges.
And you can see why. All cannabis is medicinal, even if you think you’re using it “recreationally.”
For example, you may enjoy eating a lot of fruit. Whether you consider these eating fruit-eating habits nutritious or healthy doesn’t matter to your biological system.
Likewise, you may know someone who says their excessive alcohol habits are therapeutic and even medicinal. This may be true mentally, but their liver disagrees.
In that sense, you could make a case that Canada doesn’t need a separate medical cannabis program, except for a provision so patients can get their medical cannabis costs reimbursed by insurance.
However, because of Canada’s botched legalization scheme, Canadians do need a separate medical program. The government caps legal edibles at 10mg of THC. This dose is far too low for a medical cannabis patient and violates their constitutional right to reasonable access.
Details of the Constitutional Challenge
This 10mg THC cap and lack of medical storefronts is the foundation of the VCBC’s constitutional challenge against the province.
“We have been preparing for that challenge for years,” said Ted Smith.
“We are looking forward to getting our case before a competent court to resolve these issues, which not only affect our patients but impact medical cannabis users across Canada,” he continued. “Our amazing lawyers have prepared solid constitutional arguments that should both protect our organization and force Health Canada to make important changes to their program.”
Some may argue that a constitutional challenge is a little much. Couldn’t VCBC sit down with the province and discuss these fines?
Of course, they have, and they were. Until the B.C. government amended cannabis regulations last fall. As well as expanding CSU powers, it removed VCBC’s ability to argue constitutional issues regarding the fines.
They made these regulatory changes after the VCBC’s proceedings had started. In other words, the B.C. government moved the legal goalposts to ignore whether their policies undermined people’s constitutional rights.
“Therefore, we will also be accusing the government of abuse of power and subversion of power,” said Smith.
What About Exemption #56?
While the VCBC plans to launch a constitutional challenge against the province, many might wonder about their Exemption #56 application.
VCBC and its patients are waiting on Health Canada’s decision.
Exemption #56 is an exception under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allowing individuals or groups to possess or distribute controlled substances for research purposes or special needs.
Every Exemption #56 approval is unique. And Health Canada has been notoriously slow in processing these applications.
Some say this is another example of how “Canada is broken.” While Germany legalizes cannabis based on the non-profit social club model the VCBC exemplifies, Canada wants corporate weed only.
Likewise, while Canadians can easily have the government kill them to end their suffering (in fact, it’s encouraged), getting access to life-saving medicines like psilocybin has been next to impossible.
Health Canada could do VCBC, medical cannabis patients, and all Canadians a massive favour by issuing Exemption #56 to everyone, whether they asked for one or not.
Meanwhile, as the unelected premier of B.C. continues his war against B.C. Bud and medical cannabis, Smith points out VCBC has “very strong support from the city and from virtually every expert in drug policy in B.C.”
And while Canada’s law societies are falling prey to far-left ideologies, the courts have historically delivered justice to medical cannabis patients.
Whether it’s Parker, Mernagh, Smith, or Allard — Political soundbites, biased statistics, and emotional appeals to “public health” or “the children” won’t cut it when it comes to a constitutional challenge.
The B.C. government is going to have to come up with a good defence. Fortunately for them, they can hire the best lawyers via our taxes. In contrast, VCBC relies on voluntary donations. That is, consent.
VCBC Launches Constitutional Challenge Against B.C.
Will VCBC’s constitutional challenge against B.C. finally force cannabis reform in this country?
The Allard win secured home-growing rights for patients. When busybodies debated whether to legalize recreational home-growing, Allard was referenced.
And you can see why.
Suppose the government banned home growing for recreational users. In that case, they would have only incentivized Canadians to get their medical licence. Thereby muddying the waters of people who genuinely need medical cannabis for their quality of life.
Likewise, if the VCBC is successful in challenging the 10mg edible limit, then recreational laws will either have to change or a bunch of Canadians will be flooding Health Canada for medical cannabis applications.
But since big corporate producers are also against this 10mg THC cap, maybe they can put their money where their mouth is and help fund this case.
They sat out for Allard. Now is the time to make up for it.
You can find the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club at its new location on Quadra St.