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International Medical Marijuana Day

By admin | October 16, 2009

International Medical Marijuana Day (IMMD)

The History: November 15, 1994; Fourteen people including Elvy Musikka (featured in the 2nd edition of Cannabis Digest) were invited to Washington D.C. to take part in a demonstration outside the White House, the first conceived International Medical Marijuana Day. Why November 15 was chosen is still a mystery.

The International Hempology 101 Society started celebrating in 1995 along with a rally held in San Francisco, California . At a Nov 14, 1996 city council meeting, the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada came out of the closet. On November 15, 1999 Leon (Ted) Smith let the people of Victoria know about this historic day by bringing 101 cannabis cookies to the public library to giveaway. This was well received by all who attended, with the police watching and telling the media that no one would be arrested because there did not seem to be a problem.

In 2000, Ted brought 420 cookies to the public library to give to all who attended but was arrested for his actions. This resulted in Ted eventually spending 1 day in jail, which ended up being about 2 hours, after being convicted by a jury of trafficking THC. International Medical Marijuana Day was a quiet event in 2001. Bail conditions set upon Ted did not allow him to do a cookie giveaway, so members brought they own. In 2002 Ted ran for mayor and learned how to get a proclamation from the city declaring November 15 as I.M.M.D. The International Medical Marijuana Day 2003 was celebrated by the first annual silent art auction. Despite a few attempts to encourage others to host similar events, 15 years later we are the only group organizing on this day. It is our hope that cannabis activists will use this event and make it an internationally recognized day of education about medical cannabis. We understand that each community is different and so we provide the example at we do in Victoria with the knowledge that it will have to be adapted.

The Idea: It is important to the MMJ community to find general acceptance and understanding in all facets of society. IMMD can involve a rally, a city council proclamation and a fund raiser. Host a rally to raise awareness of the issues and to acknowledge the support or discrimination shown to our cause your municipal government. We usually host a cookie giveaway as well though we do not publicly announce it, asking people to quietly pass cookies around while speakers talk at the rally. Organizers should not be handing out cookies. It takes some effort to coordinate an art auction to raise money for these projects. Although we have excellent successes with this model in Victoria, please report back to us on what worked and didn’t work in your city.

The Plan: Convince your city council to issue a proclamation of support to the medical users in the community. Getting a city council to pass a declaration supporting an issue is not as hard as you may think. It is as simple as sending a letter with your name, address and contact phone number which requests the proclamation. This can be used to get the word out before Nov 15, as the proclamation needs to be submitted and passed by council a few weeks before IMMD.

An example letter follows…..

___________________(your name and address)

On behalf of ________(organization) I respectfully request that the City of ____ officially declare November 15th as International Medical Marijuana Day. This proclamation would acknowledge the benefits citizens with incurable medical problems receive from consuming cannabis. Many government institutions, at all levels and in other countries are reconsidering or changing their position on the cannabis laws, especially for those who need medical access to it. The City of _________ should be actively involved in the protection of citizens against unreasonable laws and policies. We thank those within the municipal government who have supported our cause in the past and look forward to future developments in the legalization of cannabis as medicine.

Thank you, _______________(name)

This is an easy way to encourage municipal politicians to consider their position on the medical use of cannabis. For those clubs or growers who are fighting for survival or recognition, sending this request is a simple way to highlight current legal battles and political changes in Canada. Many municipal governments, like Victoria, allow citizens to speak to the local elected representatives and staff at open council meetings, which provide an excellent opportunity to speak in public for those that are willing. This can be used to get the word out before Nov 15, as the proclamation needs to be submitted and passed by council in the weeks before IMMD. For the past 8 years the City of Victoria has passed a proclamation similar to the following and we expect them to continue that tradition.

The Proclaimation:
Every year, beginning in 2002, the City of Victoria Mayor issues a proclamation that states:

WHEREAS the City of Victoria passed a resolution on April 18th , 2002 declaring that the federal laws regarding cannabis need to be changed, especially for people with incurable medical conditions; and

WHEREAS the Federal Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs released a report in cannis in September 2002, recommending a legal framework for the production and slae of cannabis, and that Health Canada should begin working directly with established medical marijuana clubs; and

WHEREAS Health Canada has been forced by the courts to start a legal process for the cultivation and use of cannabis as medicine by people with various medical problems; and

WHEREAS the courts have recognized many existing medical cannabis groups and being valid and important components in the country’s current harm reduction strategy; and

WHEREAS the City of Victoria sent a letter on behalf of its citizens on March 20th, 2006 that Health Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access Regulations are inadequate and as a result, many Canadians will continue to suffer the debilitating effects of their illness with the benefit of legal, effective and safe pain management techniques.

NOW, THEREFORE I do hereby proclaim the day of November 15th as “INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA DAY” in the city of VICTORIA, capital city of the province of BRITISH COLUMBIA, and encourage everyone to act with tolerance, compassion and respect toward individuals who needs cannabis for relief from the pain and symptoms of permanent medical problems.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand this 6th day of November, Two Thousand and Nine. Signed by the Mayor, Alan Lowe

Though it is the beginning of the winter in most of Canada, having a rally serves many purposes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stand on the street corner waving signs and smoking joints. Often activities like a mass volunteer at a food bank, shelter or other community main fast is a great way to raise the issue. We host ours rally at the Ministry of Health at noon on Nov 15 where activists explain how cannabis helps people with various medical problems and give a synopsis of the past year. At no time will president, Leon ‘Ted’ Smith give away a cookie. He was arrested on Nov 15, 2000 trying to give out 420 pot cookies. In 2005 a jury convicted Ted of trafficking THC for that event.

The Fundraising: The second event in Victoria on International Medical Marijuana Annual is the Silent Art Auction at the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada, the oldest medical cannabis provider in Canada. Last year 26 beautiful pieces of art were donated, many by members of the buyers’ club. The silent art auction is available for viewing at 826 Johnson St until the conclusion at 4:20 Sat Nov 15. If you do not have a club to show art in or have few members you can always get local college art classes or small cafes involved to include the greater community.

Contact Information:
For more info please contact Kristen at or by phone @ (250) 381-4220

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