The Calgary Cannabis Club says they’ll be taking a $6,000 donation elsewhere after the Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF) turned the money down.
Gordon Hayes, Calgary Cannabis Club’s director of events and fundraising, said the money was raised through an auction in memory of a club member who recently died.
Rick Beaver was a longtime cannabis advocate and was using cannabis to help him through his cancer treatment.
Hays said the club held a memorial service and an auction to raise money for cancer research, but when they tried to make the donation to ACF – the group that handles donations for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre – they were told that they couldn’t accept the money at this time.
Phoebe Day, the VP of Marketing and Communications for Alberta Cancer Foundation, said the donation presented an issue because recreational cannabis has only been legal for a few months.
“It’s more of a timing thing for us,” she said. “We’re playing a bit of catch up and we’re trying to figure out the rules and the regulations of the new legislation as best as possible.”
She said they’re in conversations with Alberta Health Services about the issue, as well as looking at other jurisdictions to see how they’re handling the matter.
However Hays doesn’t think much of ACF’s reasons for not accepting the donation right away.
“I feel like that’s a pretty lazy excuse,” he said. “Cannabis has been medically legally for almost 15 years, with recreational legalization on the docket for four years.
“I mean, how much time do you need?”
Hays said the money was not raised by selling cannabis directly, but by auctioning off cannabis lifestyle accessories, such as water bongs, as well as non-cannabis related items.
He said one club member who owns a cleaning business donated several hours of cleaning time to be auctioned off.
While the ACF is still looking at how it might accept these donations in the future, Hays said the money will be going elsewhere now.
“I’m not looking to donate it towards the Tom Baker Centre anymore,” he said. “We simply can’t support that. We will be looking at other cancer organizations.”