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Cannabis Digest Editorials

by pablofunk » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:08 am

Publisher's Note CD#32

Ted Smith
After 17 years of studying, writing, procrastinating, fighting for my life, and organizing meetings, it is hard to believe I am close to publishing the Hempology 101 textbook. But if all goes well it should be available soon after this issue goes to print. Far from being the end of a project, in many ways it is just the beginning.
This will not be the first printing; it will actually be the fourth edition. The first three editions were not only printed on hemp but were also bound together by hemp string. It was easy to sell the 100 copies of each edition I made. But some chapters of the book still needed a lot of work, so I put it off for years while running the CBC of C and other Hempology 101 activities.
Before I started the CBC of C, I had grand plans of touring the country with my newly published book. I was going to go all the way to Newfoundland in my van in the summer of 1996 to spread the good word about the herb across the country. Luckily I started the club instead, because I likely would have ended up with no money in a broken-down van somewhere in Northern Ontario.
Over the years most of my work has been on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver, with a couple of short trips to clubs in Ontario. However, with the publishing of the textbook, that will change. Though I am not doing a coast-to-coast tour like I envisioned, I do plan upon travelling across the country this year to share my dream of a cannabis-enriched society.
In July, my first trip will be back to my homeland of Ontario. I will host a game show of “Reach for the Pot” at city hall in Kitchner, then again in London, and finally in Toronto.
The next big trip in Aug. will go straight into the heart of the Conservative Party. I have never spent much time in Alberta, but that part of the country needs to be tuned in more than anywhere else. While I do not expect to have much of an immediate impact, once again I will be laying roots for Hempology 101 to grow.
Finally, in Nov. I plan upon going to the East Coast, not all of the way to Newfoundland, but to Halifax. It is my hope that we can start a Hempology 101 club at Dalhousie in time to organize a cannabis convention there. From there, Gayle and I, (of course she is coming on all of these trips), will go to Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where a Hempology 101 club is already getting off the ground. Then we will venture off to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. By coincidence the decision in the bakery trial will be handed down around the same time the textbook is going to be available in stores. The timing could not be better. The crown is likely going to appeal and the case could take years before getting to the Supreme Court of Canada. By coming out around the same time as I launch the textbook, this decision will improve our ability to educate the public about the benefits of eating or topically applying cannabis products.
One of the other major themes of this book tour will be hemp. While Canada has a legal hemp program, there are still many problems with the system. Canadians grow more hemp seed than any other country, but we are just scratching the surface of all its possibilities. It is still my dream that one day these books will be printed on hemp grown by my family near Stratford, Ont.
The best part of touring the country will be playing “Reach for the Pot” in places I have never been, with people I have just met. “Reach for the Pot” is an excellent, entertaining way to educate people about cannabis and its culture. It is something we have played here in Victoria for years, and you can find old videos of our annual tournament and other special games on our Youtube channel.
Hempology 101 has the potential to bring people together to heal, learn, laugh, and work for a better future. This year will see us accomplish more than ever as we tour the country to meet like-minded people looking to help turn our society around. With Bill C-10 getting rammed down our throats, there could not be a better time to strike back.
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by pablofunk » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:17 am

Editorial from CD#33

Andrew Brown
With another recent push by the Harper Government to make it clear that medical patients will be loosing the right grow their own medicine, there is a fair amount of anger and anxiety in the med pot community. First and foremost, we need to be honest about the true cause of the problems that have resulted from personal grow licences—the illegality of the product for the general public.
Cannabis is a plant with a long history of religious, medical, and recreational use, and is currently by far the world’s most popular recreational “drug.” When a product, like cannabis, has a high demand with limited availability, it creates a valuable commodity—the issue of supply and demand—and the black market fills the void.
In 2001, when the MMAR program was implemented, it gave the opportunity for ill Canadians to have access to medical cannabis, with one of the supply methods being personal production. Now we have a small handful of the population legally able to produce a product that a huge percentage of Canadians want. Lets not lose focus that the large majority of people licenced to produce cannabis legitimately need it—many of which are on permanent disability with very low incomes, and can not afford to purchase meds, but can indeed afford to grow them. But with this, there are a few rogues who are looking for blanket protection from the MMAR in order to produce for the black market. This is no different than people seeking prescriptions from doctors for opiates that they can sell on the black market. The only reason abuse of the program exists is because it is exclusive to those able to get a doctor’s signature on some forms. Many people who need the medicine can’t even get their doctors to sign, either.
What will happen to the legitimate medical users? Many will not be able to afford their meds, they will lose the therapy of gardening and producing their own meds, and some will likely be targeted by criminals who want to intercept shipments or rob them of their meds. Couriers and mail delivery people may also be put into harms way. Prices are said to be set by the distributer, so won’t likely be much different than current street prices.
I know this all sounds obvious and redundant, and damn it it should, but for some reason the obvious solution—full legalization—is eluding our elected officials. We need to stop making a simple issue complicated. Our government is throwing all this propaganda about the dangers and abuses of grow licences in order to distract the public from the giant polka-dot elephant dancing in the room—prohibition doesn’t work!
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by pablofunk » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:18 am

Publishers Note from CD#33

Ted Smith
By the time you are reading this I should be touring around the country promoting the Hempology 101 Textbook and the many benefits of cannabis. It seems fitting that it is coming to life just after my 43rd birthday. The first 42 years of my life have been a lot of fun. The next 42 years are going to be a lot of hard work.
There are several reasons I say this. Dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency is certainly one reason my life has become more intense lately. Incorporating the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada will destroy the comfortable benevolent dictatorship I have created for myself in the early stages of the group’s existence. Changing the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations to allow for edible and topical cannabis products will have a huge impact on the ability of drug companies to control the market for cannabis-based medicines and they will fight us every step of the way. We still have to prepare for Owen’s jury trial next Feb.
My real work over the next 42 years, though, has more to do with industrial and home-made hemp products. There is no doubt legalizing cannabis will have huge benefits for both cannabis consumers and the general public. Legalizing cannabis could turn the world’s economies around when you consider the extra revenue gained from taxation and the savings in the criminal justice system. Health care costs will go down with legalization and the world should be a happier place.
Unfortunately, humanity has created an even bigger problem than the War On Drugs.
Accelerated climate changes will dramatically impact everyone on the planet. We should expect temperatures and ocean levels to rise, while facing more intense storms and UV rays. Since most of the world’s population and food sources are close to sea level, we can expect mass population movements to higher ground but are not able to move soil so easily. If I live a full life of 84 years or more, the world will be a very different place when I die.
Hemp could provide environmentally friendly alternatives to many of the harmful products we use today. Cannabis can be grown around the world, providing people almost everywhere with a potential source of food, fuel, building materials, medicine, and other products. This plant could be our saving grace when it comes to dealing with the negative impacts of climate change, as it is so easy to grow, manufacture, and use.
Here in Canada we have incredible potential for developing and marketing hemp products. Canadian farmers grow more hemp seed than anywhere else in the world, with the vast majority of it being used for food and body care products. While there is certainly more room for hemp food products like hemp ice cream to appear on the market, there are so many more to come. Paints and stains, for example, could be made out of hemp seed, replacing the extremely harmful paints used by most people today.
Using hemp seed for biofuel might seem very extravagant given what it can be sold for in stores, but for farmers who grow it on a large scale it might make a lot of sense very soon. I look forward to the day I am driving a hybrid electric-hemp fuel car. When it comes to hemp fibers, Canada is not even close to seeing large scale hemp paper, clothing, or building material production, but that will change, too.
Most people now understand the futility of the war on cannabis and are ready to legalize cannabis. Few realize how important reviving the hemp industry is. When some see how expensive hemp oil and hemp seed is, they shrug it off, underestimating how good it is for themselves and agricultural communities. As more is grown and sold each year prices will go down relative to other products, as the industry matures with more competitors and investments get paid off.
One of my main missions in life is to prove how good hemp seeds are for health. For the last couple of years I have been getting myself in better shape, adding some muscle and improving my endurance. I have been a vegetarian for almost 16 years and believe eating hemp seed has helped me avoid problems and keep me in wicked shape. In fact, I recently ran a 10 km race in Herb (our 12 foot tall and 8 foot wide pot leaf costume) and completed the race is just under an hour.
Hopefully, the Hempology 101 Textbook will help many cannabis consumers realize they are missing out on many of the plant’s most important benefits. It is also my hope it reaches out to those who are interested in saving our species from the accelerated changes to our environment that we are witnessing. Cannabis can help our species thrive, and it is my intent to see that happens.
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by pablofunk » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:45 am

Be Inspired—CD 35
Andrew Brown
As we look ahead towards 2013, we should be excited, hopeful, and assertive. This past year has seen millions of people waking up to the world around them, with average people finally saying “no more.” We are no longer fighting for civil rights, rather human rights. No matter whether the issue is gay marriage, law reform, financial sector corruption, women’s rights, protecting lands, oceans, or air, among numerous other issues, we are fighting for the same thing—our right to exist without harm.
It is difficult not to become disillusioned with so much corruption around us. It exists in all levels of government, business, policing, media, and inside a lot of people. Our system has bred it, and it is time for a change. We need to get out of our comfort zone and make that change happen, even if that means giving up some of our indulgences.
Negative will always exist, but like magnetic polarity, positive will always connect to negative. When we see a negativity, we must be the positive change. There are so many people that I have been fortunate enough to meet who are that positive change, and they inspire me, and I hope that my actions inspire others around me.
Dana Larsen’s ambition and dedication with the Sensible BC campaign is an example of one person working extremely hard to make change. I would not be able to take on something that large myself, and I admire him for doing so. Rather than sit idle and say “wow, that’s really great,” I am going to help collect signatures. If someone is inspiring in what they are doing, help them.
It’s not always the big things and people taking on the world that need to inspire us either. We can look at each other, our friends, and admire our perseverance through the ups and downs in our lives: Marc, who runs, through serious health issues, putting in countless hours to keep his site updated; Owen, if anything just for maintaining a positive attitude through the trial, but also for his dedication to spread knowledge and caring for others; Gayle for kicking cancer in the ass and fighting it with every inch of strength, and being truly one of the strongest women I know; and Ted, Georgia, Al, and Ryan, from this very issue of the Digest, have their own inspiring stories.
Be inspired, inspire, give forward, and never give up. Happy New Year!
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by pablofunk » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:46 am

Publisher’s Note: Fight the MMPR

Ted Smith
If you believe in the right to use cannabis, then now is the time to do something about it.
There could not be a more important time to add your voice to the growing chorus of citizens who are calling for legalization. There could not be a better time to join forces with other like-minded people as the momentum shifts against prohibition. There could not be a more critical time to counter the Conservative government’s rhetoric.
This is a historical moment in Canadian cannabis history, and you can be a part of it. You can start by helping to protest against the new regulations that will no longer allow patients to grow their own legal medicine. Whether you currently use cannabis as medicine or not is irrelevant, for if we lose the legal ability to grow personal medicine now, it could be a long time before we get it back.
Time is short. There is a brief time period in which the government is accepting comments, ending Feb. 28, 2013. We must do everything we can to raise awareness about this backward step, encouraging concerned citizens to voice their opinions by every means possible.
On Thursday, Feb. 21, the International Hempology 101 Society will organize rallies at MP offices across the country to protest the MMPR. On the same day, we will organize a phone jam aimed at the Minister responsible for Health Canada, Leona Aglukkaq, giving those unable to physically attend a rally a chance to stick a wrench in the system, too. We will encourage others to write to newspapers around the same time, in a last-ditch attempt to raise awareness about this deplorable move by the federal government.
While we will not be able to coordinate an event at every MP office, we can at least focus on some prominent members of parliament. It is better than doing nothing in the vain hope the public will wake up to this nightmare. Even if all we do is educate some of the staff and random citizens with our signs, then we have accomplished more than we could sitting at home.
Without an existing network to coordinate these rallies, it will be a little scrambled. We are creating a web page to provide a list of offices that people have committed to going to, and will also build a facebook page to attract more protesters. The best time to hold these protests is 11 a.m., as that is not too early for patients to get to the location, and still gives the press lots of time to spread the story throughout the day.
Aside from making signs, another great way to get attention, if you have a license to grow, is to bring a plant with you. An image of a patient, or several, desperately holding a plant can have a lasting impact on people walking by, and gives the media something to add to the story that makes the government’s plan seem all the more severe. It is only a plant, after all.
These rallies will not be limited to members of the Conservative government, but will occur at MP offices of all parties. Individual Members of Parliament and their staff should have an opportunity to meet the people affected the most by this law, so they can see that the vast majority of medical cannabis users are nice, average folks. Those MPs in opposition who have spoken out against the MMPR should be given credit for stepping up to the plate, and those who have remained silent so far should be encouraged to make a statement.
Though we do not expect the Harper government to suddenly wake up and change their minds, it is important that we voice our opposition to their plans and that we try to win the hearts and minds of the public. By showing how the Conservatives’ policies hurt sick citizens, we can undermine their support and build allies in this campaign.
This will not be the only attempt to fight these new regulations, but it is important to do what we can while the period for comments. Another attempt is a class action lawsuit being led by veteran lawyer John Conroy. Hundreds of patients have started putting money into an account to support John in this endeavor. More information will be available in the next issue of the newspaper.
Of course, many will simply resist these regulations by continuing to grow after the licenses start to expire on Oct. 1, 2013. Do doubt there will be many cases before the courts, challenging the government’s attempt to take this plant away from the sick and dying. While I believe the courts will agree that patients have a constitutional right to grow their own medicine, it might not come until many have suffered by going without medicine or living with extraordinary stress.
Ultimately, I am convinced that the legalization of cannabis is possible around the world, especially after such an incredible year. However, these regulations are a big step back for patients—a big step back for the entire country—and we need to resist them in every way possible. Opening up the market to legal commercial operators should not come at the expense of patients.
Please join us Thurs., Feb. 21, as we protest against the MMPR.
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by pablofunk » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:27 pm

Editorial from CD#36

Andrew Brown
I want to branch into a topic an arm’s length away from cannabis/reform activism for this editorial, and speak about a pressing issue facing us on a global level—seed security. I figure that as it appears cannabis is on the cusp of being somewhat legalized for big business, while remaining (and possibly becoming more) illegal for medical users and the public in general, that a seed for a highly profitable plant will be extremely vulnerable to genetic modification and patenting.
While we can hold, plant, and save heirloom seeds, and have farms refusing genetically modified (GM) seeds, the nature of open pollination threatens to contaminate our heirloom crops. Hemp is a perfect example of a highly vulnerable plant. Pollen from hemp fields can be found hundreds of kilometers away from its source, so if a farmer plants a GM hemp crop up wind from an organic farmer another town (or even province) over, the pollen from the GM crop will pollinate the organic crop contaminating its genetics so that the next generation of that line will hold GM properties. Currently, there is a national effort spurred by Canadian farmers concerned about the approval of GM alfalfa being able to be grown in Canada. Beyond the contamination of genetics, the GM alfalfa will make it into the food system through animal feed and and crop mulching.
Why should we be worried about GM seeds? First and foremost, we don’t know the consequences to the human body over generational intake of GM food. In a study by Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, hamsters were fed a GM soy diet, and by the third generation they were unable to reproduce, suffered higher mortality rates and slower growth as pups. Secondly, crop diversity is imperative. We are unable to predict what forms plant diseases will take in the future, and simply need to crack the history book and look at the Irish Potato Famine to see the effects of relying on a crop without diversity. Look through a catalogue of cannabis seeds and note that some are mould and mildew resistant, and some susceptible. Diversity ensures that we can have plants able to acclimate and evolve naturally to resist any diseases nature throws at them. Corporations are also developing so-called terminator seeds who’s fruit will not reproduce viable seeds, forcing farmers to buy seed stock from them every year.
We must resist our food and medicinal plants falling into the hands of corporations with the only ambition being profit rather than sustainability. As soon as a corporation controls our food and medicine/medicinal plants, they will control us.
“There can be no permanent agriculture without the permanence, diversity, and renewability of seed. Unlike industrial monocultures, permaculture depends on the co-operation between different species—plant and animals, perennial and annual.”
—Dr. Vandana Shiva
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by pablofunk » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:28 pm

Publisher's Note from CD#36

Ted Smith
Recently, I was presented with the Michelle Rainey Award by the community of activists on the <> forums. Being the first recipient of this award is a huge honour for me. In fact, it is likely the most meaningful gift I have ever received.
First off, the award was named after one of the most brilliant, inspiring, and beautiful spirits that has graced the cannabis movement with her words, deeds, and hugs. Michelle Rainey passed away a few years ago after a short fight with cancer. We dedicated issue #27 to her in an attempt to give those who never had the opportunity to meet her get a sense of what a wonderful woman she was. She spent the last years of her life fighting and pleading for legalization, saving so little for herself that the end came that much sooner.
Second, it is overwhelming to think that out of all of the people in this country fighting for the legalization of cannabis, that I would be chosen as the first winner of this award. Granted, last year was the best year of my life, for a number of reasons. But there are so many other successful, dedicated activists who deserve to be awarded for their efforts, that is seems unfair to single out any one of us. It was incredible luck that the year many of my dreams came true is the year that this award was organized.
Third, the <> community is a special group of online activists. The founder, Marc Paquette, has put together the one of the most active news site in the world, despite dealing with health problems so serious he rarely leaves his property. At the same time, a number of Canadian patients and activists have used this site to network with each other, sharing political insights and helping farmers grow good medicine. While there are a number of prominent activist who occasionally use <>, many of the active members are those most affected by the medical cannabis laws in Canada.
Fourth, there are very few occasions where people in the cannabis movement take the time to recognize the work of an individual. Aside from cups that focus on who is growing the best herb, I am not aware of any awards like this, certainly not in Canada. A few years ago Cannabis Health magazine gave out a number of awards, one of which I received, but they did not give out pretty awards like I got, and it only happened once before they folded. Hopefully more groups will consider rewarding the efforts of others using the democratic principles similar to the one used by <>
Finally, receiving this award has affirmed my convictions, validating what I have chosen to do with my life. It has also paid tribute to the growing team of people that support me, working at VCBC, writing for the newspaper, organizing club activities, promoting events, and sharing the good word. Most of all, this award means a lot to Gayle, who works so hard at my side. Without the incredible team I have around me my efforts would have little impact, and this award belongs to everyone who helps me as much as it belongs to me.
Ironically, winning this has only made me want to prove I am worthy of such an honour. Not that I want to win again, in fact I will make sure I do not get nominated again. Being the first recipient of the Michelle Rainey Award both acknowledges what I have accomplished and recognizes the great future I have ahead.
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