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By admin | October 18, 2008


Cannabis Digest #19
Dear Nicole Marcia

Your email on June 21, 2008 completely dismissed the facts we presented to you (see Cannabis Digest #10, 13 and 19). Your claim to be interested in working with me on any relevant topics is unbelievable because it took several letters, personal visits, phone calls and emails before anyone from your organization even responded to our second letter. The credibility of the CBC of C and the BCCCS is current, relevant, and important to everyone involved.  However, your unwillingness to resolve this situation will only cause larger public relations problems if it is not dealt with sooner than later.

If you use May 1997 as the starting date for your club, it is clear that the BCCCS is the 4th oldest club in Canada.  As proof of this statement you can refer to an article about the BCCCS and founder Hillary Black in the 6th issue of Cannabis Canada.  In the 4th paragraph Hillary stated that she and a friend started the Vancouver Medical Marijuana Buyers Club before she left to travel, a group that was no longer functioning when she returned in the spring of 1997.  The article failed to mention that a buyers club had formed first in Victoria and that concerned individuals started Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM) in Dec 1996 and the Toronto Compassion Center in April 1997.  There is neither the suggestion in the story that the BCCCS is the oldest medical club in the country, nor is it clear to us when that illegitimate claim was first made. 

Of course, I expect my concerns and documented history to fall upon deaf ears because truth does not seem to be as important as your pride.  For example, you claim that all of Hillary’s decisions were made by group consensus and that nothing she did could have happened without the group knowing about and participating in the decision making process.  This is far from the truth.   It was years after starting the BCCCS that Hillary bowed to internal fighting and formed the ‘consensus model’ that you are so proud of.  There a consensus when Rielle Capler brushed off our first letter regarding which club is the oldest in Canada.  This was evident when I contacted you no one from the BCCCS had any knowledge of or could find any record of our correspondence. I had to send a 2nd copy of our letters and information package to you.

It is also hard to believe that your group works by consensus.  The BCCCS replaced the entire board of directors two summers ago at a special annual general meeting.  Our understanding is that when the previous board of directors were refused information about how much money certain staff earn, they unsuccessfully attempted to seize control of the bank accounts and store.   Some of the former board members have helped form the Green Cross Society of BC with the hope of developing an organization focused upon the needs of the members.  If by consensus you mean all decisions are agreed upon by certain senior staff, you would be more accurately reflecting the truth, (though non-profit societies are generally not meant to operate in this manner).  It sounds nice to state that the BCCCS runs by consensus, butbased upon what we have seen and heard over the  past 12 years this is far from reality.

With the exception of helping sick people obtain medicine, do not expect us to communicate with your organization again, until the BCCCS concedes that we are the oldest club in Canada.  We will not stop claiming we are the oldest compassion club in the country because we can prove this to be true.  The next contact you can expect regarding any of these issues will likely be a reporter asking why this conflict exists.  It would be so much easier if the BCCCS would accept the truth and drop their illegitimate claim of being the oldest club in Canada.  We are forming a cannabis research foundation this fall and have many other exciting projects that we could work on together.  However, if your organization cannot admit that it’s founder made an error and correct that mistake for the sake of the movement then we do not see any point in trying to work together beyond acknowledging each other’s existence.

No doubt the strong language in this letter will allow your group to accuse me of being a troublemaker.  This accusation has been made against me before by people in government and the cannabis movement because I do not quietly witness inappropriate behaviour.  I admit making many mistakes in my search for truth and justice and will apologize and correct my actions when necessary.

On the other hand, we have the impression that your organization is willing to stretch the truth in an attempt to improve its public image.  This seems to be a trend among a minority of vocal cannabis activists like Phil Lucas, operator of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, as was witnessed in the club’s recent trial.

m. Mr. Lucas has shown himself to be incapable of abandoning his role as advocate for and on behalf of the VICS and its cause, such that he is prepared to sacrifice the truth to advance that cause- all the while denying that he is doing so.

CROWN SUBMISSIONS, Regina vs Beren, Supreme Court of BC, Court File#131900, page 21

In conclusion, it is my hope that your organization reconsiders its claim as the oldest compassion club in Canada.  As long as both organizations make that claim, both organizations will be forced to defend their position to members and the public.  Since the evidence and history unquestionably prove our claim, you can understand our frustrations when people question our integrity when we are telling the truth.

 Good luck with the daily operations of the BCCCS. 

Leon ‘Ted’ Smith, Founder, Cannabis Buyers Clubs of Canada

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