History of the CCC

History of the CCC

History of the CCC

Cannabis Health – The Medical Marijuana Journal
Volume 1 Issue 1 – November/December 2002

Author: Debra Harper

What inspired Canadian activists to build the framework for a united voice to represent a diverse cross-section of the cannabis movement?

What led to transforming a steering committee into a board of directors, into a general consensus, and maybe beyond?

Actually, the Canadian Cannabis Coalition (CCC) unintentionally manifested from collective and conventional cannabis wisdom, gaining definition in response to the ever-changing cannabis climate. It has no
budget, salaries, offices or officials, just the strong and steadfast convictions of people who have expressed themselves on-line or at meetings. These dialogues have led to interesting and lively discussions, debates, changing structures and some proud accomplishments.

Throughout these formative years, the CCC has been leaderless, but not rudderless, as driving forces steer it through unchartered waters.

The earliest incarnation began as a small e-mail networking list, set up in April 1999 by Deb Harper, to explore
the idea of creating industry standards within the medicinal cannabis movement (1) and to exchange information between compassion clubs and other interested parties. In June of that year, list members and other activists met at a gathering, initiated and hosted by Brian and Teresa Taylor and friends in Grand Forks, B.C., (2) to further discuss the role for the fledgling medicinal cannabis network. It was decided among the approx. 20 participants who represented wide-ranging interests from non-government organizations (NGO’s), entrepreneurs, professionals and grass-roots activists, that the propagation of a broad unifying entity encompassing the whole cannabis community would be more desirable.

June 2000 – Third CCC meeting at Broadacres in Grand Forks B.C.
– photo Deb Harper

A name, the Canadian Cannabis Coalition, and a purpose – a nation-wide umbrella organization for cannabis organizations and activists – was agreed upon. A mission statement was crafted, “The Canadian Cannabis Coalition is dedicated to facilitating access to a safe supply of cannabis through research, education and advocacy”, and an interim steering committee was elected.

Networking continued over the internet, a website was designed, (3) and a second meeting was held in Grand Forks on September 5th (4) that brought several more organizations on board. The number of attendees almost doubled by the next meeting that was held once again in Grand Forks in June of 2000.

(5) The last annual get-together happened in October 2001, hosted by Matt Elrod and friends on Vancouver Island.

The undaunting task of creating a position that represents so many within the movement has produced tangible results on several occasions. A press release issued in February 2000 stated the CCC would re-evaluate its “unwritten policy of encouraging people to apply for section 56 exemptions to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in direct response to the government’s obvious mismanagement of the process”. (6) On August 2nd, 2000, an open letter to Health Minister Allan Rock, precipitated by Rielle Capler of the British Columbia Compassion Society (BCCCS), specifying recommendations for the upcoming clinical trials (7) was noticed by the media. (8) A group project to develop documents to file for intervenor status at the upcoming Supreme Court case of Malmo- Levine, Caine and Clay was initiated and is now pending.

Dr. Paul Hornby and Hilary Black
– photo Deb Harper

The voices of the CCC have also been heard in a more individualistic fashion. An on-line newsletter (9)written and compiled by Deb Harper was published on the website in the spring of 2000, which highlighted some individuals, members and events of CCC. The responses from participating organizations to the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations were also posted between April 7th and May 7th, 2001, as there was no official CCC position. (10) The CCC’s networking list has approx. 65 subscribers representing 40 organizations from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia and international affiliates from the U.S. and Australia. Currently the focus is on issues the government is refusing to deal with that are vital to medicinal cannabis users such as practical regulations and a distribution system. Members also have court cases pending at every level of court system in this country.


Since this article was written in 2002, the CCC continued to grow and included members from shore to shore and as far away as Nunavut which made getting together in person much more difficult. This led to mainly connecting via a listserve to share ideas and information which it still does today.

The coalition advises persons who contact it concerning medicinal cannabis, legal problems or other cannabis-related issues. Cannabis experts within the CCC have the ability to consult, make recommendations, hold conferences, design research protocols, develop products and services, and devise a regulatory framework. By default,the combined experience, knowledge, resources and talents of the participants assert the CCC’s role as a leading national authority on cannabis.

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