The BCCCS Responds to Vancouver Dispensary Regulations

The British Columbia Compassion Club Society expressed appreciation for Vancouver City Council’s historic move yesterday, when it voted to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries. “We are proud of our city right now and at the same time we are deeply concerned about being forced to move which would likely close our doors and interrupt subsidized healthcare services for our 6000 patients,” said Jamie Shaw, the group’s spokesperson.

Vancouver is following US states like New Jersey and New Hampshire that adopted the compassion club model years ago, with the creation of a ‘compassion club’ designation in the new licensing system. Shaw said “It’s nice to see some regulation in place that encourages more dispensaries to follow the model of providing low cost healthcare services subsidized by the cannabis distribution; but we do still have some serious concerns.”

She said the BCCCS is looking at ways that it can continue to serve it’s members while being compliant with the new regulations, but added that the requirement to move may end up bringing about the end of the organization. “After 18 years of responsibly serving our community and making significant lease-hold improvements in our present location, forcing us to rip up our roots and abandon our community, while competing for a new location with other dispensaries and anyone who decides they now want to be in this field, will likely represent an insurmountable challenge.”

The BCCCS is required to move because we are within 300ft of a private school. The school has written letters of support, brings their students in for tours and in 14 years of being neighbours, we have built a mutually beneficial relationship. As councilor Reimer said in the hearings, we have significantly benefitted our neighbourhood.

“It was surprising to see that Councillor DeGonova stated she did not support these by-laws in part because the BCCCS would have to move, yet she did not floor an amendment that could have kept us in our home.”

The BCCCS said its still hopeful councilors like DeGenova are working towards a solution, and doesn’t believe it was Council’s intention to disrupt Vancouver’s longest running dispensaries.

The British Columbia Compassion Club Society has been a registered non-profit society since 1997, and promotes access to cannabis as part of a holistic approach to health.

Press contact: Jamie Shaw 778-317-3857