Health Canada has denied Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (VCBC) a special exemption status, negatively affecting medical cannabis patients. It took the federal health bureaucracy two years to come to this decision.
In the meantime, VCBC has raked up $6.5 million in fines from B.C.’s extrajudicial “Community Safety Unit” Gestapo.
In a letter delivered to VCBC on May 30, David Pellmann, an “acting director general,” wrote:
I maintain that you have not demonstrated that the proposed exemptions are necessary for a medical or scientific purpose, or otherwise in the public interest, taking into account the objectives of the Cannabis Act (the Act) and the existing licensing and medical access framework.
Translated: We’ve defined “public interest,” and the VCBC does not align with our personal interests and institutional agendas.
VCBC’s Denied Exemption is Criminal
I maintain that Health Canada doesn’t understand basic cannabis economics. And the letter sent to VCBC confirms this.
Additionally, you indicated that an exemption allowing the production and sale of edible cannabis products that exceed the 10mg limit on THC would benefit people who use cannabis for medical purposes. However, insufficient evidence or additional information was provided to demonstrate why such an exemption is necessary, given that multiple units of the same cannabis product can be consumed to achieve the desired effect.
It is incredible that someone thought this, wrote it, edited it, and sent it off. Now, being a writer myself, I understand that typos happen. Editors don’t always catch mistakes. But this is a glaring flaw in their logic.
If a 10mg cookie costs $25, and a medical cannabis patient needs 100mg daily for pain relief, they’re spending $250 a day, nearly two grand a week. Remember that many of these people are on fixed incomes, unable to work because of their illnesses.
VCBC’s denied exemption letter continues,
Moreover, insufficient evidence was provided to demonstrate that currently available edible cannabis products are inadequate in meeting the medical needs of people who use cannabis for medical purposes or that other ingestible cannabis products with higher THC limits, such as encapsulated extracts and tinctures, cannot be used as an alternative to edible cannabis.
The first part of this quote again demonstrates why politically-connected bureaucracies should not be making rules and regulations. We already have laws on the books to regulate goods and services in an economy.
Our common law tradition encourages innovation while protecting individual rights. Until legislatures stepped in for the “public interest,” the common law even prevented companies from polluting the air.
As for why patients can’t purchase other products with higher THC limits – such as extracts and tinctures – consider the ingredients and the bioavailability of different cannabis goods.
VCBC Denied Exemption Letter Does Not Address Bioavailability
A 2012 study looked at the bioavailability of different delivery systems. They found oral consumption had a bioavailability of around 6%. Meaning of that 300mg capsule, you’re likely only getting 20mg of cannabinoids.
Smoking and vaping, of course, have some of the highest bioavailability at 31%. While eating cannabinoids is a slow process, as the cannabis passes through your digestive tract, more of it is absorbed.
Cannabis companies often dilute extracts in MCT oil or olive oil. If you try to mask the taste by mixing it with a drink, you lower the bioavailability even further.
If you’re consuming hundreds of milligrams a day of cannabis extract, you’ll also consume a lot of saturated fats. Not everyone can handle high-fat intakes – especially in the form of oil. Some people do better on a carbohydrate-based diet.
Health Canada denies these people exist, evidently.
VCBC Denied Exemption? See You in Court
Health Canada has denied VCBC an exemption status—time for the lawyers.
“We look forward to taking our case to the judiciary to prove that Health Canada continues to violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of sick and dying Canadians with their unacceptable medical cannabis program,” writes Ted Smith in an e-mail.
“Lawyers Jack Lloyd and Kirk Tousaw have been preparing for years to convince a judge that an exemption is in the public interest, especially with the opiate crisis continuing to spiral out of control.”
Of course, the Supreme Court may accept Health Canada’s ruling that VCBC’s denied exemption is in the “public interest.”
A forgotten part of history is how lawyers, judges and law societies went along with Nazi Germany. They were able to justify Hitler’s actions based on their interpretations of the “rule of law.”
As legal scholar John Hasnas has argued, “The law is always open to interpretation and there is no such thing as a normatively neutral interpretation. The way one interprets the rules of law is always determined by one’s underlying moral and political beliefs.”
If the Supreme Court rejects the VCBC’s argument, it will be the opinion of nine unelected “experts.” Civil disobedience is still justified. And it may become the only option.
Is CLN Breaking the Law Too?
Despite having a medical cannabis program. Despite “reasonable access” to medical cannabis being a protected Charter right. And despite the plethora of randomized control trials proving cannabis’ efficacy, Health Canada says promoting cannabis for health benefits is against the law.
As the VCBC Denied Exemption letter reads:
We wish to remind you that the prohibition on making medical claims in relation to cannabis products is not limited to provincially or territory-authorized storefronts. Under subsection 104.12(1) of the Cannabis Regulations, it is prohibited to promote cannabis, a cannabis accessory or a service related to cannabis if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the promotion could create the impression that health or cosmetic benefits may be derived from the use of the product. This provision of the regulations applies regardless of whether the cannabis is intended for medical purposes.
So does that mean we here at CLN are also breaking the law? It’s evident in Trudeau’s Canada that we must limit our free expression for “public health and safety” reasons. Which, incidentally, aligns with corporate-state interests.
Canadians have a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws. And that includes giving patients information about medical cannabis.
And not just physically ill patients. Someone suffering from mental health issues might want to hear about double-blind, placebo-controlled studies showing how cannabis helps relieve anxiety.
Health Canada Does Not Care About You
Treating cannabis as a scourge on society (while handing out free opioids and turning a blind eye to alcohol companies marketing to youth) is just one more reason to ignore Health Canada.
Canada is undergoing a Maoist cultural revolution. Federal bureaucrats do not care about medical cannabis patients.
Perhaps some of us can (with consent) relocate to a First Nation Reserve where cannabis, individual rights, traditions, and the environment are respected. Of course, the Community Safety Unit Gestapo still raids Reserves. And the Reserves are technically the property of the federal government.
Cannabis is a gateway drug to liberty and prosperity. It has health and therapeutic benefits. Industrial hemp can save the world.
Throughout history, individuals and small groups have sparked broader movements. Cannabis legalization is a testament to that fact.
And it all began by disobeying unjust laws.