chuck varabioff

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Canada: Vancouver Pot Shops Fighting New Regulations, Rejections


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensary owners who could be put out of business by Vancouver's new regulations are not planning on going away without a fight.

Only 15 to 20 dispensaries will be approved and licensed after the city goes through 176 applications for business licenses, according to Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang, reports Laura Kane at The Canadian Press. But owners who are expecting rejection letters said the first "no" from the city will just be the beginning of a process of appeals and legal action.

"With any new rules or regulations or licensing, it will take a long time," said Chuck Varabioff of the British Columbia Pain Society. "I do know a lot of dispensaries will file lawsuits."

"I'll never file a lawsuit against the city," Varabioff said, "but I definitely would appeal if I'm told that I have to move."

The city isn't imposing a cap on dispensaries, according to Jang, but only 15 are 20 shops are likely to meet its stringent requirements, including a clean criminal record and a ban on operating with 300 meters of schools, community centers and other dispensaries. Jang first revealed that estimate to local politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention on Monday; he said it was his own calculation and not an official figure.

Canada: Marijuana, Rock and Roll To Meet At B.C.'s CannaFest 2015


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two natural allies -- rock and roll and cannabis -- will be together in August at a musical festival in Grand Forks, British Columbia.

CannaFest 2015 will bring together musicians and people to educate about the healing power of marijuana, according to organizer Chuck Varabioff of the B.C. Pain Society in Vancouver, reports Daybreak South at CBC News.

"I deal with sick people every single day," Varabioff said. "I wanted to give back something to them, where they're able to come forget about their pain, their problems, anything they have negative going on in their life, and come out and experience something positive."

"It's all about the movement; it's all about the people coming together and promoting a product they believe in," Varabioff said.

This is the second year that Varabioff has organized CannaFest. The first one took place in Vancouver last year.

Grand Forks Mayor Frank Conrad said he won't "delve into the marijuana issue because that is a federal issue," but said he believes the event will help stimulate the local economy.

The B.C. Pain Society is a medical marijuana dispensary that houses Canada's first cannabis vending machines.

CannaFest 2015 will take place on Aug. 7 and 8 at James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks, B.C. One-day passes are $50, and two-day passes are $75.

Canada: Medical Marijuana Vending Machines Hit Vancouver


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vending machines could become one of the latest additions to Canada's medical marijuana industry, if Chuck Varabioff of the British Columbia Pain Society has his way.

Varabioff, who provides medical marijuana to Vancouver residents 19 and older, said his goal is to install the vending machines in clinics and nursing homes, reports the New York Daily News. He already has the machines installed at his Vancouver storefront dispensary.

For $4 Canadian, the brightly lit machine drops a plastic ball filled with Cotton Candy; $6 will get you Purple Kush. A variety of other strains is available.

The British Columbia Pain Society is one of about 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. The shops operate in a legal gray zone since a federal court ruling stymied Canada's latest attempts to regulate its distribution.

Under the new scheme, as of April 1, about 30,000 home-growing operations by patients across Canada were to be replaced by just a few large, commercial grow operations.

But many of tthe smaller growers -- particularly in British Columbia -- have refused to step aside.

While marijuana is illegal outside the federal medical marijuana program, Vancouver police said in March that it is not one of their top priorities, which are instead focused on gangs and hard drugs including cocaine, meth and heroin.

"Medical marijuana dispensaries operating today in Vancouver don't meet those criteria," a police statement said.

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