The Kingston Compassion Club Society in Kingston, Ontario, is reopening after suffering a robbery and a police closure
"You Can't Spell Healthcare Without THC"
~ Kingston Compassion Club Society
The Kingston Compassion Club Society in Kingston, Ontario, is reopening after suffering a robbery and a police closure, as the Kingston Police continue to investigate some of the workers involved in what calls itself the only unionized medical cannabis dispensary in Canada (I.W.W. Local 610).
The not-for-profit Compassion Club, located in the Medical Arts Building at 800 Princess Street, was closed after police responded to a robbery call made by the Club on June 19. Employees called police to the facility after noticing their online video surveillance feed had been interrupted, leading them to believe a break-in may have been in progress.
"It is believed that two former staff members of the K.C.C.S. worked with a former member to execute said robbery after making false allegations to the police in hopes of having the Club shut down by law enforcement," said dispensary spokesman Matt Thornton, who is shop steward for the Kingston Compassion Club.
Police are considering charges against three people, according to Thornton, after removing about 825 grams of marijuana from the Club on June 19 despite not having a warrant. On June 21, police did return to the Club with a search warrant that only pertained to the Club's computers and patient records.
"While police have remained largely silent regarding the case, some former members have taken to the local media to make baseless allegations surrounding the Club's closure," reads the K.C.C.S. press release from Thornton. "These allegations have been entirely without merit, despite the local news media treating them as factual."
According to Thornton, a federally authorized cannabis patient, the temporary closure of the Club has made Kingston's medical marijuana patients vulnerable.
"All of the K.C.C.S. members are now forced back to criminal elements to receive their legal medication in violation of their Section 7 constitutional rights," Thornton said. "This is a blow to harm reduction and safe access in Kingston.
"All members of K.C.C.S. were registered with Health Canada or sent to us by their doctor for cannabis therapy," Thornton said. "We offered a variety of high quality strains, in various formats such as edibles, tinctures and topical creams, at below black-market prices."
The club plans to reopen its doors August 22, to continue signing new members, and assisting people in registering with Health Canada's M.M.A.R. Program.
"It must be stressed that we will NOT have cannabis products on site or be dispensing any cannabis products of any kind, period," Thornton said. "The people who robbed us and the police still have our product stock and operating funds.
"We are grateful for the incredible support we have, not only from the greater Kingston community, but also the local medical community," Thornton said. "Our well-known standards and professionalism have led to the K.C.C.S., along with other dispensaries across Canada, being invited to meet with Health Canada in the coming months to discuss becoming one of the first groups to receive a commercial grower/distribution license."
"The K.C.C.S. not only aided the community by offering below black-market prices for cannabis, easing the burden on many Kingstonians who are trying to make ends meet while struggling with debilitating illness, the Club also committed to financially support other nonprofits in the community," said Kingston Coalition Against Poverty spokesperson Aimee Van Vlack.
"In August, the K.C.C.S. was scheduled to begin donating $700 monthly to a local soup kitchen known as Martha's Table," Van Vlack said. "This was going to be on top of other monthly donations made to several nonprofit community agencies.