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University Clubs by Kristen Mann

By admin | January 5, 2010

University Clubs by Kristen Mann

This year I have the pleasure of being the UVSS Hempology 101 Club student liaison. Hempology has provided me with the opportunity to take a course in psychological research methods with Dr. Steven Lindsey, at the University of Victoria. I have learned many different nuances to the development of research projects, especially surveys which will help us produce our new survey about to be launched. The new UVSS Hempology 101 board this year includes Will, Sebastian, Amy, and James. This set of lectures has been very exciting. Bill from Hemp & Co. spoke about the benefits of a variety of hemp based products now available. Ranging from food or beverages to fashionable clothing, underarm deodorant or insulation Almost all of the hemp products are sourced abroad due to Canada’s lack of processing facilities. Another fascinating lecture on the Chemistry of Cannabis was presented by Dr. Paul Hornby who works in conjunction with the Green Cross Society in Vancouver, doing research on both the physical components of cannabis and how the membership interacts with various strains. This year, he spoke on how cannabis works with the brain to reduce pain. This October, I attended the national Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy conference at Simon Fraser University. Although UVic has yet to form an official chapter of CSSDP, there has been interest shown by several individuals in advocating for a broad drug legalization and education strategy. There is hope that a founding board and constitution could be drawn up in time for January club days. If you are interested, please contact Kristen at, so that we can get this off the ground. CSSDP has a very broad and inclusive mandate. The conference saw about 100 people, about half of which were students, attend a variety of panel discussions and workshops hosted by a variety of prominent speakers. Topics centred around the impacts of prohibition, ways in which currently illegal drugs are being distributed and researched for their uses in healing, and the effects of these policies on current users. I would urge all readers to check out the work of Donald MacPherson, VANDU and the Insite program, Gabor Mate, Susan Boyd, and Libby Davis. This passionate group of people have helped to minimized the impact of hard drug use in the face of extreme poverty. The four pillars approach to drug addiction by looking at harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforcement has had resounding success in Vancouver, and has resulted in a vastly different political atmosphere. Now, “if you don’t support Insite, you don’t get elected as mayor” and we have seen other very progressive programs spring up in the city. In the workshop on effective lobbying strategies, Libby Davis said that lobbying is all about building relationships with those who influence people of power. Lobbying can be done by anybody from a grassroots activist to other politicians. The key to getting what you want from your lobby is to deliver it effectively. Make sure that you use clear and concise language to educate on what the problem is, why something should be done or how it affects you, and provide a clear solution to the problem that involves a response from your politician. This ensures that they know what you want done, as well as open the floor for reciprocal information exchange. Make sure not to overwhelm them with a lot information at once (3-10 minutes of prepared speech) and only take a couple people with you (1or 2 to speak, and 1 to take notes). Mark Haden from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority made a presentation on honest drug education, and highlighted some of the reasons why traditional drug education like DARE, is so ineffective. As well, he provided tips on how to better provide this service. Hempology 101 prides itself on delivering this kind of free and honest information at our weekly lectures. The lecture series runs in conjunction with regular winter semester. Remember that you can always watch old lectures on YouTube. And after meeting with students from across the country, I think we can be sure of our claim to have the largest and most involved campus club working towards repelling prohibition.

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