The club, which has been providing medical cannabis to those in need for almost 25 years, was last raided in November
On Wednesday morning, the Victoria Police Department and the Community Safety Unit (CSU) raided the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, a longstanding institution that has been providing medicinal cannabis to those in need for almost 25 years.
The club was also last raided in November. Following that raid, both the local city council and the mayor voiced their support for the club, which has continued to operate without a provincial licence.
Still, that support wasn’t enough to stop the police from raiding it again this week.
The club supplies medicine at affordable prices and only sells products to those who provide proof of a medical condition, reports Victoria News.
With nearly 8,000 members, the club has been operating at its current location since 2001, but has existed since 1996.
Club founder Ted Smith told Victoria News that the raid was motivated by the quality and price of the products the club carries. “The legal system has such poor quality products at such high prices that our members would not be able to switch over to that without putting their health at risk and literally suffering for that,” Smith said.
He told the paper that the club has had amicable conversations with the government since the last raid, so this week’s incursion caught him by surprise.
“They’ve caught us off guard this time. I believe they’ve gotten a lot more medicine than they did in the past raid and it’s going to really hurt our club, but more importantly, it’s going to really hurt our patients,” he said.
In a statement, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General noted the CSU has “authority for compliance and enforcement with respect to sales by unlicensed retailers.”
Last month, the CSU raided a shop in Vernon, B.C., seizing $10,000 worth of product. In the aftermath, traffic to the shop has surged.
As the Victoria club was being raided on Wednesday, members held signs up outside the store, saying that the club provided medical cannabis, CHEK News reports.
“We had hoped that diplomatic efforts would prevent a further raid from a club, but obviously that’s not the case,” Smith said.
After the November raid, patients and advocates poured into the shop to show their support, according to the Victoria Times Colonist.
“We’ve tried and want to comply with the law as much as possible, but the law needs to make sense,” Smith said at the time. “So we really hope that our government will come to its senses, but time will tell.”
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