Since it’s 2016, Canadian marijuana policy is about to change. Yesterday’s users were delinquent outsiders. They apparently acted as criminal, conspiratorial spys, students and single mothers. They were immoral, indictable and illegal sitting targets. Tomorrow they will become moral, politically correct and legislatively upright at the stroke of a pen, as the State, previously bereft of clothes, begins to dress.
I stand here and look on the not previously visible crowd and I look at them in wonder. Let me attempt to see through the violent fog of yesterday as a new dawn, not a false dawn, burns through to the earth. We wipe our eyes, we enter Canada again, reborn perhaps, ready since yesterday.
As the Canadian marijuana mob was being chased, hunted, set up, framed, hand cuffed, beaten, fined, humiliated, incriminated and jailed their patriotism did not waver as their Charter of Rights trembled and was tested.
I have lately engaged in the surreal experience of attending the openings of store front medicinal marijuana dispensaries and following the evolution of compassion clubs, seed banks and vapour lounges. Their range of clients have fashionable accouterments from multiple earring studs and tattoos to comfortable looking fold up walkers with cushy seats.
There’s that nice lady who works for Corrections Canada talking with the young woman who organizes for a food bank. There is that twenty something long haired glass blower working out of his garage talking to the magazine publisher about profit and loss. There is that heavy set fellow in a wheel chair reminiscing about a life time in construction talking to a bank manager about edible gummie bears. All this happens in rooms filled with glass counters, charts, scales and menus within the antiseptic clarity of proper vision. They then are part of the population of the delicate rascals and rogues of resistance, most often previously invisible to one another but working together.
Now you see. Now they see. These nice people, these rough people callused and thick skinned in their suffering endurance are blossoming and poking through the social surface, engaging sunlight and truth. Sunny days, indeed.
What did we leave behind? What did we create? It was longer but let’s say it was forty years; two generations that lived under perverted marijuana policy. If we step back and allow the possible legitimate rationalization of policy to encompass a willing suspension of disbelief then perhaps the government really deliberately wanted to create a vast shadowy net work of green spooks supporting green warriors. The resistance developed trade craft, code words, signals, looks, phrases, hand-shakes, dead letter drops, money laundering, blade runners, smugglers, front men, beards, cut outs, mules and rubber gun shows.
It was national policy, it was a covert poison pill. Perhaps a part of the back bone that keeps Canada free, in addition to the forces of law and order, is the creation and maintenance of a vast sub-rosa citizen based movement of patriots working in faceless anonymous cells from government Jacks to ner-do-well pirates. This resistance established itself as part of the body politic substantially enshrined by an omnibus crime bill that guaranteed underground existence and upped the ante. Spys, agents and spooks, Baby. Canada was creating a very antagonistic foundation for prosperity and security through incarceration and despair.
The Gas Town riots have evolved into the Quebec Cannabis Cup. Somewhere in between the green secret agent was born. For some there was a calling, a moral imperative to resist a colossal mistake after a time when Saint Simon and Auguste Comte’s modern musings of a scientifically controlled society is only hindered by the shortage of post-modern statistics, recently made available, placing pension cheques a paranoid’s piss test away.
The maple leaf, the fleur-de-lis were replaced by the cannabis leaf silhouette on national flags, carried through the streets, on the sidewalks, up the steps of Parliament and, increasingly well deported, into the chambers of justice equal to the Crown to halt the persecution of innocence.
Wittingly or unwittingly the State had shepherded a multi-generational shadow citizenry into the law books, into searching Supreme Court records, into puzzling out the intricacies of legislation as if it mattered. That was seen more appropriate than matching the ante to October crisis levels, which was always a heart-beat away.
After forty years of perceived persecution, calmer heads had occasional doubts. The historical records reveal that sometimes it just takes that extra spark and the prairies light up – good or bad.
This prohibition also existed as an Achilles heel, damping certain voices in certain movements across time and space. So we do look forward to the attendees of tomorrow’s political tent enhancing their bongs with national administrative duty no longer threatened by the narcotics officer as we imagine a ‘Norbert the Narc’ free Canada.
I asked some marijuana activists about their thoughts to explain why the cannabis movement was mainly peaceful and did they smell victory?
Chris Bennett a long time activist, store owner and author said, “Greenpeace was started by pot heads, Earth First too as well…cannabis is the plant of peace. After twenty five years of activism the smell of victory is down the bend and around the corner.”
Marc Emery,the extradited prince of pot who most recently served five years in a US series of jails for selling pot seeds said, “It smells more like integration. Pot will be like any commodity that’s legal, it will attract the people who can produce it efficiently and meet demand in a competitive market. If we have a legitimate legalization – the alternative is Prohibition 2.0 where the governments limit the franchises for selling or producing similar to the government liquor system, etc. then cannabis will be $20 an ounce within three years. Once Canadian farmers with their thousands of hectares of farmland begin mass cultivation of cannabis – for them it’s profitable at $20,000 a metric ton, that’s two cents a gram – pot prices will plummet to an appropriate level suitable to plants grown in a legal common environment.”
Dana Larsen who last week sent 184 Members of Parliament a gram of weed and a book about the history of cannabis said, “The cannabis movement is Canada’s largest example of peaceful civil disobedience that I know of. Over the last two decades, the cannabis activist movement has peacefully defied laws against cannabis books, pipes and bongs, we have held massive rallies of civil disobedience, cannabis use and give-a-ways, we now have hundreds of dispensaries thriving nationwide, all it peaceful civil disobedience of these unjust and immoral laws.”
David Malmo-Levine, cannabis warrior and no stranger to fighting cannabis laws in court said, “Canadians are peaceful. Assertive, but peaceful. We used civil disobedience tactics such as ‘hug power’ (learned from watching documentaries about the free speech movement in Berkeley) to defend our cannabis farmers market – the crowds got bigger every year. Raids on retail outlets did not scare away customers. Jail did not scare activists into obedience.”
Push did come to shove in every instance where someone was punished for such innocent behaviour. Some friends, families and co-workers paid a higher price than others and their stories are unbelievable legends. The victorious debate on legalization was unfortunately not won through reasoned mature intellectual debate but through a raw political power t hat seeks to remove domination. The myths too will be reinvented and legend may have it that one of those weed warriors one day became Prime Minister. We are all Canadians in 2016. Undercover shadows no more, sunny days ahead.
Roy Berger is a contributor to Fogel’s 2015 Underground Comic Book Guide.http://www.hippycomix.com/ and author of 2012 Rabbits http://www.amazon.ca/Rabbits-Happy-Apocalypse-Shortwave-Radio-ebook/dp/B005CBFR9G
Of late, enforcement of marijuana laws was whimsical or arbitrary, used mostly to intimidate and harass, or as a tool to hold somebody against their will (and otherwise without cause) — yet technically, not violating Charter Rights against detention.
It undermined the credibility of police, scandalized the courts, ruined young lives, motivated criminals, and was totally useless and ineffective against the use and proliferation of marijuana.
It’s High Time that scare mongering politicians, pharmaceutical companies, synthetic fibre companies, and law enforcement empire builders and their corporate suppliers take their lumps, instead of regular Canadians going about their lives and kicking back from time to time.
It’s about freaking time!
Maybe there’s hope for humanity after all.
Your optimism is garbage. I have malignant hypertension, kidney failure, anemia and arthritis. I have tried to obtain legal medical access for over 6 years and have been unable to do so. I still have to worry about being arrested and receiving a criminal record.
In December, 2013 I attempted to purchase some medicine; but instead was robbed of $350, assaulted and generously given 3 broken ribs.
The war is still going on, and from my perspective although it may end – I don’t see when. Every single day that I wake up, I wake up as a prisoner to my illnesses and the law.
As a result, I have no respect for the law, none for the country, and I am definitely not a patriot. I can honestly say that with regards to Marijuana I am currently ashamed to be Canadian.
Yes, change is in the air. But WHEN? I’ll probably live to see legalization, but others won’t.
Who gets the honour of being the last person in Canada to be arrested for simple possession?
No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous, like pharmaceutical drugs. In truth it’s a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” –John Ehrlichman
Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.
In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party ten days ago. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. A recent Federal study has reached the same conclusion. And legalization should improve those numbers further.
No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s the most benign ‘substance’ in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.
Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Research in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.
Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’
Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. “Cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.
The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. But Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.
Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.
I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.
Thomas, there is a solution; and a proudly Canadian solution at that.
There is a Marijuana On Line (MOM) website that takes care of all one’s needs safely and anonymously.
It works every time, and it’s only about 5 days from ordering until a smartly uniformed Canada Post employee drops off a vacuum sealed, ordinary looking package, at your doorstep, with your medicine.
@ Lassie. I use one MOM and although they are very reliable and do have a medicine that I find useful (CBD capsules), they don’t have high CBD flowers such as Cannatonic or Harlequin. They do sell named strains, so I can attempt to pick and choose – but it’s always a race to order when new items appear on the menu, and frequently unsuccessful. I’ve never had an order arrive in less than 7 days and most commonly 12 days from order to receipt.
I have had a 100% success rate ordering, but it is never the same as walking into a dispensary and being able to discuss medical issues with bud tenders – or the same as having the capability to order from one of Health Canada LP’sand being able to get specific desired strains.
Using the federal mail system also carries mandatory jail time (at the moment).
I do thank you very much for your suggestion. I’m waiting on the feds to actually legalize and hopefully allow personal cultivation so I can grow exactly what I want/need.
Unfortunately from my perspective, when legal access rolls around the tax rate will likely be too high.
So, personal growing or actually obtaining medical status is what I want.