The Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club (VCBC) started helping people with incurable physical medical conditions by providing them with medicinal cannabis and cannabis-based products in January of 1996.
We are one of the oldest compassion clubs in Canada, with over 7000 active members to date. We are open every single day of the year because our founder reminds us that cancer never quits and neither will we.
Our club was founded by Ted Smith. He started the organization while living in a van with a pager and a plan. Once the demand for high quality cannabis medicine began to grow, Ted moved the VCBC into a downtown Victoria apartment in the summer of 1996.
When the operation continued to grow, the VCBC opened its first storefront location in 2001. Over 17 years later, 826 Johnson Street in downtown Victoria remains our home.
The VCBC transitioned to a nonprofit society on October 1, 2012. Our club is overseen by a Board of Directors who are elected by our members. Our club operates as a nonprofit society that dispenses cannabis at a compassionate price because we value cannabis as a medicine all people deserve access to.
Through name changes and our rebirth as a non-profit organization, our mandate and commitment to our members have remained the same. The VCBC’s mission is to provide safe access to medicinal cannabis for its membership at a compassionate price. It is this commitment that sets our organization apart from the recreational cannabis market.
We are more than a dispensary, we are a community center. In this space we heal, using plant medicine and sharing experiences. Our Safe Consumption Site, that we refer to as ‘The Box,’ is a space that the VCBC has provided for over a decade to allow members to consume their medicine with dignity and comfort. ‘The Box’ is an essential component of our service for our members and we wouldn’t be the same without it.
The VCBC has operated in resistance to federal cannabis prohibition from the outset.
Since the store opened in 2001, the VCBC has endured 5 trials, which included 4 raids on the club between 2002 and 2003. The club beat all 15 trafficking charges laid against our organization. You can find more information on the raids on our website.
The influence of the VCBC’s activism made waves in Canadian politics and law that is still felt today. In 2015 the club’s former head baker, Owen Smith, won a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted patients the right to use cannabis oils and derivatives. Previously, Health Canada only considered inhaling cannabis to be medicinal.
Twenty two years later and we are still happy to provide members with high quality cannabis medicine. If you are interested in our club or would like to become a member, you can do so online or we would love to have you come by our store any day.
Your friends at the VCBC