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Medical Cannabis Compassion Clubs in Canada

Since the mid-late 1990's, organizations known as medical cannabis "compassion clubs" have operated throughout Canada. Like marijuana dispensaries, compassion clubs are illegal, although many people open compassion clubs in cities where the political atmosphere seems tolerant of their existence.

The fact that clubs are often permitted to operate is referred to as the "grey-area" of the law, as medical use of cannabis is legal in Canada, and clubs are a very low priority target for law enforcement action.

There are major cities in Canada now beginning to regulate compassion clubs with licensing agreements, such as the City of Vancouver and Victoria, BC.

Compassion clubs differ from cannabis dispensaries in that clubs are typically run as non-profit societies or not-for-profit ventures, whereas cannabis dispensaries are often operated directly as businesses.

There is significant public support for the medical use of cannabis, and clubs serve the community by offering a range of services for patients, usually including a storefront location. This allows the patient to visit and speak face-to-face with a person and view the wide range of available medical cannabis products.

A requirement of membership to a compassion club is that a health professional, doctor or physician must have attested to the medical need for cannabis for the patient. Clubs are very focused on the medical use of cannabis, and many clubs have health professionals in-house available for consultations.

However, before you consider opening a medical cannabis compassion club in Canada, it is highly advisable to consult with a lawyer, tax lawyer, accountant and/or legal professional.

Information about licensing for online distribution and sales of cannabis in Canada.

If you need information about compassion clubs, please contact us.

Here are a few useful resources:

City of Vancouver Medical Marijuana Retail Dealer Licence Application Form
City of Vancouver Marijuana Retail Dealer Bylaws (Compassion Clubs and Dispensaries)
BC Compassion Club Society (BCCCS) Operational Standards
Roadmap to Compassion


See also: How to Open a Cannabis Clinic in Canada.

See also: Information about pharmacy distribution.

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Click here about lab testing for your medical cannabis product.

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