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Ted’s Letter to Canwest Global Re: Crimes Of Compassion

By Ted | November 9, 2001

more by Ted Smith

By Ted Smith

President, Victoria’s Hempology 101

To: Canwest Global

    May St. Group

Re: Crimes Of Compassion

Monday Nov 5, 2001

On Thurs Oct 18, 2001, the premier showing of the movie, CRIMES OF COMPASSION, happened in Victoria where most of it was filmed. While presenting an excellent story, the movie did not accurately protray the historical facts of the situation and should be properly completed with factual information by a competent director..

Those producing documents depicting real life situations should be committed to telling the truth. The director of the film, Jennifer Pickford, intentionally excluded information and distorted the truth in order to highlight and glorify the story of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society. This unprofessional behaviour should not be rewarded by legitimate media organizations nor tolerated by activists striving for justice and righteousness. If Global TV and the May St Group hope to retain credibility producing accurate historical documents, this film should be finished with an honest director.

Jennifer intentionally excluded the existence of the Vancouver Island Canabis Buyers Club from this film in order to make a neat, simple story out of the tragic situation at the VICS. When asked at the premier why she did not report the existence of the oldest public medical marijuana club in Canada, Ms. Pickford made up a total of 4 lies. Her focus seems to have been entirely upon her career, as she also forgot to thank the people who exposed their lives on camera at risk of personal and professional harassment, until she was prompted to do so.

The first lie she told the crowd was that she did not include the VICBC in the film because she did not know about us. The oldest footage in he show actually appears to be from the site of the arrest of myself, Ted Smith, just after I had been arrested with 420 pot cookies at the downtown Victoria Library. This occured 6 days before the arrest of Philippe Lucas at VICS. The film also shows pictures from the protest at the Oak Bay Police Station, where you can see me in the background and where myself and others constantly referred to the VICBC, inferring the government was being inconsistent in it’s application of the law. Jennifer admitted that she started by looking at the local cannabis movement and could not have missed me and VICBC.

The second lie she told was that no one had told her about me. Not only did she probably film me first as I already said, but she even told people during interviews specifically not to mention our club.

Although she was able to contact and interview federal Minister of Health, Alan Rock, she claims not to have been able to get together with me. While I seem to recall one appointment that I may have cancelled last spring, she told me at the time that she had enough footage anyway. I do not easily give up opportunities to spread the word about my activities and remember telling her that we should be included in any story about VICS because we helped them start and have been operating a larger club for a longer period of time. It was her story I could not fit into, not her schedule.

The final lie she told about why the VICBC was excluded from the film was because we were not a part of the story. This is untrue because footage from the BC Compassion Club Society in Vancouver was included in the movie and so was an interview of Marc Emery. The story of the VICS actually begins with the VICBC, we work with many of the same people and we work in the same community, now being only one block apart from each other. We are the oldest public club in Canada with the second largest membership at 700 and counting. The fact that the courts have protected us from the police while arresting Philippe Lucas is every bit as interesting, provocative and controversial as the distinction between law enforcement officers dealing with cannabis in Vancouver and Victoria. When I was being released after my pot cookie arrest the judge actually declared the VICBC a service to the community, 5 days before Mr. Lucas got busted. Almost every local newspaper story about the VICS contained information about the VICBC and my two arrests. This very public situation could not have been missed or excluded by any credible, competent reseacher studying the VICS situation.

Another misleading part of the movie was when the grower was interviewed stating that they could sell the pot that they are producing for the compassion society for $100 per 7 grams. The person said they were selling the bud to the society for $50 per 7 grams, which is much more than the $37.50 that I understand most suppliers of that club charge. This misinformation seems to have been submitted to make it appear as if the growers are greedy and profit from the sale of the herb to the sick. The fact is that the VICS charges $10 per gram, no matter what quantity is purchased, prices higher than the average street prices.

This movie has prompted me to create a new word : potaganda. The definition of potaganda is information produced by members of the cannabis community which presents 90% of the truth, obscuring the rest in order to glorify some individuals, call the authorities down and play upon people’s sympathy. This material may fool the uneducated, uninvolved and , but for those who know what is actually going on, potaganda is a dangerous problem which undermines the credibility of everyone in the movement. While this movie is certainly not the only piece of misinformation produced by the movement, in many ways it is the epitome of modern Canadian potaganda. Though many people, including myself, have made incorrect statements about the plant and prohibition, our intent has been to provide the truth, which is difficult enough given that the government itself is also misleading the public about the situation.

If the movie, “CRIMES OF COMPASSION”, is exposed on television without being rewritten, there will be a loud local outcry from the members and management of the VICBC. It would be in the best interest of Global TV to hire a new director to complete this film with the honesty and integrity that professionals should be striving for.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate from calling me at 250-381-4220.

Leon ‘Ted’ Smith

President, Victoria’s Hempology 101 Society

Coordinator, Vancouver Island Cannabis Buyers Club

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