Vancouver’s BC Compassion Club Society and 12 other area cannabis dispensaries are waiting for clarification from Canada’s federal government following a threat to call in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)—unless they close their doors.
John Conroy, the Compassion Club’s attorney, told local News 1130 that he wrote back to Health Canada after they received the threatening letter last month, asking them “to comply with the duty to act fairly that falls upon all administrators when they are going to take action that could adversely affect anyone.”
Vancouver recently became the first Canadian city to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, which remain officially barred under federal law. The city now has about 80 such operations, with the Compassion Club noted for being the flagship outfit.
Conroy, of the Vancouver-based Cannabis Rights Coalition, fears a replay of the spate of RCMP raids that occurred after the Compassion Club first opened 20 years ago.
“There [were] patients on the news complaining about the police taking away their medicine,” he recalled.
As for the latest threat, Conroy also wants specifics on federal claims that the non-profit club is advertising.
“It’s a bit puzzling what they have come up with and why they seem to have focused on the ones that are the best, the most compliant,” he said.
Conroy has also brought federal litigation challenging Canada’s restrictive new medical marijuana regulations.
In June 2013, Ottawa overturned its Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, revoking the right of patients to grow their own cannabis or to designate a grower. The new system, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, mandates that patients purchase mail-order dried cannabis from large-scale operations known as licensed producers.
Conroy’s case, Allard v. Her Majesty the Queen, won an injunction, halting the ban on patient cultivation days before the planned switch to the new regulations on April 1, 2014.
But that case—brought on behalf of Neil Allard, a neuro-immune disorder sufferer in Abbotsford, BC—only impacted the 45,000 patients who grew their own cannabis under the former system. This July, the Federal Court of Canada turned down a bid to modify the injunction to overturn other restrictions. Conroy is still waiting on a final decision in the case, which he hopes will overturn the new restrictive regulations altogether.