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Comparing the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada (Victoria Chapter) and the Vancouver Island Compassion Society.

By admin | September 6, 2004

by Steve Kindred
for the Cannabis Digest.

Although there are two clubs in Victoria, each have different
mandates, membership requirements, products, procedures and goals. In fact, operating in Victoria and selling cannabis to sick people may be about all the two clubs have in common.

Hours of operation for the CBC are Mon- Sat 11am to 6pm, Sundays 12:00pm to 6:00pm, open 365 days a year. Hours of operation for VICS are Mon-Fri 12pm to 5:30pm and Saturdays 12:00pm to 4:00pm, closed on all holidays

There are several differences in purchase policies between the two clubs. The VICS has a minimum purchase of 1 gram and a minimum purchase of $6 for 3 cookies. The members of VICS do not get any discounts with larger purchases. The CBC let their members purchase as little as $2.00 for herb and $1.00 for cookies. The members will have a choice between different price ranges and get price breaks with the larger purchases. The CBC has a small room to test medicine and find quick relief, while the VICS has no safe smoking space.

The two clubs also have different requirements for their memberships. The VICS has an application form that requires their members to list Physicians name, address and phone number, but also asks members if there are taking medications and list their daily drug regiment. The VICS asks you how long
you have been taking cannabis and how much you use. The VICS requires that you get a doctors recommendation, and consent to allow the group to ask your physician about other private medical information. There is also a $15 membership fee.

The CBC requires that their members bring in proof of being diagnosed with a permanent, physical disability or disease, and picture I.D. There are no membership fees or any release of information forms. If a person walks in with the proper documents they immediately join, with a 20 minute explanation of the rules.

One of the main differences between the two clubs is their philosophy concerning the fight for the right for healthy people to use cannabis. VICS stance is that only medical users should be legalized, while the CBC feels that all cannabis should be legal. The CBC has formed with the International
Hempology 101 Society leading the way educating the general public while the club has provided medicine to the sick. The founder of both the CBC and the International Hempology 101 Society, Leon �Ted� Smith, has been arrested while aggressively challenging the state�s authority to prohibit sharing cannabis in public and awaits several constitutional challenges this fall.

The two clubs are financed quite differently. VICS has had funding from the University of California, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and the University of British Columbia. Also the VICS was growing all of the cannabis that was sold through their store in one location in Metchosin until it was busted by police on May 27, 2004 with over 900 plants and tens of thousands of dollars in equipment seized. This lab was used to produce totally organic marijuana and experiment with certain strains and products. They claimed to have the best source of organic cannabis in Canada. Other research being done focuses upon pregnant women.

Another difference between the two clubs are the products available to their members. The VICS has cookies, and brownies, a vapour spray and a tincture. The CBC has many products (see pg1), which are basically sold at cost.

The CBC has had no private funding or indoor grow operations directly funded by the group, nor do they claim to have the only source of organic medicine in Victoria. The CBC has suffered 5 raids that have left them with a large debt load, basically being forced to borrow over $30,000 to continue operating.

Both clubs have limited charity available to poor members. The CBC was forced to stop providing any credit after the second police raid, losing about $5,000 which was never repaid, while VICS can afford a modest credit to members.

The VICS claims to be the only non-profit compassion club in Victoria and this society controls the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Cannabis Research Institute which operated the 900 plant grow house that was recently busted. The founder of VICS, Phil Lucas, is the president, executive director, creditor (he loaned the group over $17,000 in the first year) and has been a controlling partner in the club�s grow operations since the beginning. The founder of the CBC, Leon �Ted� Smith, started the group while living in a van, gave up growing outdoors several years ago and has never had enough money to invest in a grow-op. The CBC works according to a mutually agreed-upon, fee-for-service contract where everyone who works at the club gets $10/hr. Between police raids, thieves, mistakes and low profit margins, the CBC is over $30,000 in debt.

The VICS does not give their address to the general public. VICS has had 4 locations in 4 years. The current location is not wheel chair accessible.

The CBC is a very open operation, maintaining the same, wheel-chair accessible storefront for over 3 years, after working from the same apartment building for 5 years.

With an active membership of about 1300, the CBC is possibly the second largest club in the country, well behind the BCCCS in Vancouver. VICS has a membership of about 400. The reason the CBC is about 3 times larger is primarily because of the VICS need to have a doctor recommend cannabis use in writing before becoming a member.

Respect must be given to both groups for risks that are taken everyday the doors are open for business. Some certainly believe that the cannabis movement has gathered such great momentum precisely because there are so many unique, strong-willed individuals trying different public experiments with the use of cannabis in pot-friendly cities and country-sides.

Topics: Articles, CD-3rd, Summer 2004 | Comments Off

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