After being arrested several times for selling cannabis to patients from his Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada (CBCoC) in Victoria, BC, Ted Smith appeared before Victoria’s city council and helped convince them that the laws against pot should be loosened.
The CBCoC was first raided in January 2002, after a black-listed former member brought police to the door (CC#36, Med-pot news: Raid in Victoria). Then police began a campaign of arrests and intimidation to destroy the CBCoC and put Smith behind bars.
Smith wasn’t backing down. He continued to hold public cannabis-education meetings, including a med-pot info session in January, a public convention of west-coast activists in March, and his weekly Hempology 101 ? a cannabis history and culture class. Smith also helped open two more clubs, one to service Northern Vancouver Island, and another across the country in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The police came again on March 21 and took about $12,000 worth of med-pot. Smith was thrown in jail, only to be released on bail a few hours later.
“I realized that we had to get the support of politicians or they were going to keep coming,” Smith said. “On March 28, nine of us went to the City Council and filled them in on who we are and where we are going. We told them that we knew the police were going to go after our business license, the Mayor was forced to admit that a meeting with police was scheduled, and the CBCoC was the topic of discussion. After the meeting became public knowledge, everyone wanted to attend, and it had to be moved to [a public forum].”
At the April 2 meeting between City Council and the police, Ted Smith and friends were triumphant. The police application to remove Smith’s business license was rejected. The city decided to contact Health Canada and ask them how sick people were supposed to get cannabis medicine.
A week later, Victoria city councillors spoke strongly in favor of decriminalization. They drafted a letter to the Federal Council of Municipalities asking them to put pressure on the federal government to stop enforcing laws against med-pot users and clubs.
Yet the good wishes of local politicians wasn’t enough to stop the club from being raided again. On April 22, officers stormed into the club and seized another quarter-pound of pot. Later that same night, thieves broke in and took $500 from the club’s legal self-defense fund.
Ted Smith credits the club’s continued survival to public support. Donations and offers of assistance are welcome.