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Cannabis Digest — Issue 27, Winter 2011

By admin | January 29, 2011

Cannabis Digest — Issue 27, Winter 2011
articles only

Updates, Warnings, Suggestions
California Dreaming
Publisher’s Note
Letter to the Editor
Bill S-10
The American Votes
Michelle Rainey
Melanoma and Cannabis
World’s Oldest Club Turns 15
Hemp Car
Making Hemp Paper

by Gayle Quin

All I can start with is WOW! What a year it’s been. December always makes me reflect. What happened to the year, and how am I going to get through this winter healthier? There is no time to think about next year. The single most important thing to be aware of is the fact that Bill S-10 is still alive and well. It has been passed by the Senate (which was recently stacked by Harper), so we feel it best to target Michael Ignatieff and ask “what the heck are you going to do about the Harprercons?” Please call, write, or e-mail every day—it’s free, but we won’t be soon if Harper isn’t stopped!
We’ve been having street meets twice a week since March—fridays at noon we are across the street from the Empress in front of the Legislative Buildings, and saturdays we are roaming in different locations (which are posted on the white board at the club, and on-line in the forums at They are a lot of fun and we get a great response from motorists and passer-bys alike.
The best responses so far have been during the roaming meets, with the corner of MacKenzie and Shelbourne ranking first in honks, followed closely by the Gabriola Island ferry line-up where they laid on their horns while boarding the ferry. I can’t wait to go back next July for next year’s Film Fest! Sooke takes third place, and the Galloping Goose over-pass (by Town and Country) fourth. We hung the LEGALIZE banner over the side while six of us held “Stop S-10” and “Honk for Hemp” signs. There should be some pictures at < HYPERLINK ""> We even heard the tinkle of bicycle bells quite frequently as well!
With an estimated $9 billion being put away to build jails and hire prison guards, you would think Mr. Harper could spare some funds for a new Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and some beds for the new hospital in Victoria. I guess Stephen thinks that everyone will be in jail and won’t need things like hospitals or schools. After all, if you’re rich enough, all those things are privately available. Through all the early snow recently, we held our first Film Festival at the Duncan Garage, showing Waiting to Inhale. It was very well attended, considering the weather, and so many people showed interest that we have been asked, not only come back for a repeat performance, but to also make it a monthly movie/discussion night. These will be held at 7:30 p.m. on the second Monday night of each month, in the Show Room at the Duncan Garage.
There is some good news on the cannabis front, though. Hempology 101 now has a club at the University of British Columbia (UBC) ratified, and a room booked for the 1st Convention on Jan. 28, 2011. A huge thank-you to Nai and the Social Justice Club of UBC for all their help and friendship.
The Annual Silent Art Auction held on Nov. 15, International Medical Marijuana Day, raised $800 for the Bakery Defense Fund. Ted and I would like to thank everyone who donated art, joined in the fun of the bidding wars, or just enjoyed the art. Another auction is planned to happen soon, so watch the walls!
Another thank you goes out to all the brave Cannabis Carolers who braved the cold and came out to sing with us this Holiday Season!
Hempy New Year to All, Love Gayle

California Dreaming
by Gayle Quin

“The Vote to Change the World” read headlines around the world. A hush seemed to fall as people had only dared to hope this day would come. Barely breathing, the whole world was watching. Go California, Go! You can do it if anybody can! Wow, legalized recreational cannabis on the continent in my lifetime! A dream come true at last. I’ve been fighting to free the herb since I was 13, and for those of you haven’t met me yet, I have a few white hairs on my head (I bypassed the grey).
Ted asked if I wanted to go to California for the election, so I said “you bet I do!” A little research later and I decided the Oaksterdam University was the place to go, and boy did that turn out right. I had met Amanda earlier at Hempfest. She wanted to take me to Oaksterdam University right then and there to meet and teach her friends. So a plane ticket (or two) was bought, and two days before the election I was on my way to San Francisco and Los Angeles for the first time in my life.
A gorgeous three hour plane ride later and there I was in San Francisco, and a 90°F heat wave! Then off to Oakland to find the Oaksterdam University. Good thing it was still daylight. I’m an Island girl, and things like subways and sky-trains are still fairly new to me. I find the ploy of walking up to a (in this case) BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) employee and say “I’m not from here, and fairly lost” worked very well. Folks loved to ask where I was from, and then the conversations were off and running when I said I was from Canada. After all, I didn’t travel all that way to hide in a closet. Everyone I met was super helpful, and the whole time I was gone I felt right at home. I found the Oaksterdam University and introduced myself, and let them know there were issues of the Cannabis Digest on the way. I asked where all the action was happening, and told them I was there to help. When they found out where I was from they thought I was nuts, but glad for the help and pointed me to Prop 19 headquarters a couple of blocks down the road. Wow. So far, so good. I haven’t gotten lost, missed a plane, or lost anything! And now I’m almost at the Proposition 19 headquarters! Talk about getting something right for once. What a sight!
There were people coming and going, with news cameras and interviews going on in any semi-quiet corner available. There were two rows of telephones set up, and other desks lining the walls with people at all of them—sometimes two or three at one desk—and a buzz like a beehive filled the room. It wasn’t long before someone noticed me staring at everything with my back pack still on. I let them know I was here from Canada to help in anyway they could use me. You’re from where? And you came to help? There was the brief pause and look of disbelief as “are you nuts?” went through their minds, then the look of gladness as it sunk in—yes I was nuts, but here to help! Then a joyous “Can you use a telephone and a computer? Put your pack over here. And there is lots of food around if you’re hungry. Just help yourself.” Talk about feeling welcome. 10 min. later I was at a desk making phone calls encouraging folks to vote. (Hmm, sounds just like home.) An hour later, it was time to find some medicine before the stores closed, so I asked where to go and took a break. The University ran a little shop called the Blue Sky Cafe, where you could get coffee and juice, good smoke and medibles, as well as clones produced by the school. They were excellent help when I told them I was chemically sensitive and needed clean herb. A snack, a coffee and juice, a smoke, and back to HQ for more phone calls.
Around 9-10 p.m. it was time to quit for the night. The Berkley YWCA was the closest and best place for me, but was full. So, a very nice lady let me a motel room for cash, once it was established I would be walking the rest of the night if she couldn’t.
First thing in the morning, I went to San Francisco and found a hostel, got my stuff stowed, then it was back to Oaksterdam. They needed help with phone calls and pavement pounding. Walking around seemed to help them and let me sight see at the same time, so list in hand, away I went. Things were okay until I noticed North was not on my map, found myself lost, and was back to saying “I’m not from here and seem to be lost.”
I headed back to HQ to get a better map, and off I went again. I got to walk through many neighbourhoods and meet folks who were enjoying each other’s company on their front steps, or working out in their gardens, getting lots of favourable responses when asked what I was doing. Everyone seemed to be in favour of smoking herb. One front yard had a lemon tree with fruit bigger than my fist. Datura plants were growing into hedges around the yards, as well as Hibiscus in full bloom. What a wonderful afternoon of visiting, and I had made it through my list as well. I stopped for supper on my way back to HQ to make more phone calls. We quit at about quarter to eight, as the polls closed at 8 p.m.
Jodie Emery stopped in and had her webcam on and linked to the Cannabis Culture web page. I filmed some of the evening, and it is now posted on Hempology 101’s forums. Everyone was very excited, and encouraging remarks filled the air. Over 100,000 calls were made, and after a loud round of cheers, everyone went to the Oaksterdam University to watch the election results which were being projected on the side of the building. The parking lot of the University was blocked off and being used as a gathering and filming centre. All seemed to be going well, except there seemed to be very few people in attendance—even the news casters commented on it. Oh well, election numbers were starting to come in. Prop 19 had a large gap of 34 percent in favour and 67 percent not, while it was 40/60 for taxing medical users. The numbers crept closer together, 40/60 in favour of Prop 19, then nothing at all. Prop 19 stats ceased to exist. Results to everything else kept coming through, but nothing on Prop 19.
Final results finally started to trickle in, including a resounding YES to taxing medical users by up to 85% in some counties. The air was tense. Then it flashed across the wall—proposition 19 defeated 33 percent yeah to 67 percent nay. What the heck? The questions started flying. The main one being why the vote to tax med users? In the end it was actually 46 percent for legalization and 54 percent against. That made a lot more sense. The folks of the University said they were going inside to broadcast their speech, which I filmed and is posted on our Hempology 101 forums.
Dale was a joy to meet and work with. Great headway was being made with local politicians she said, and it seems to be just a matter of wording to make everyone happy. Indeed, Governor Schwarzenegger had already signed a bill to downgrade possession of an ounce of herb to a misdemeanor. Four states are now working on getting legalization initiatives in next year’s election.
I managed to make my way back the next day. My timing was perfect to avoid being trampled by the swarm of people getting off the BART to go to the baseball parade. There were people, police, and pot smoke everywhere! They should have the polling stations at the ball parks, I can remember thinking. Maybe then they would vote. I went to the SUB building to visit with some of the folks I had met. I was great to hang, puff, and chat after how busy it had been the past few days. When they found out how much we charge for cookies at the club, they were all ready to come and visit us! I hope they do. As with all great times, these were coming to a close for me, time to visit some stores and ask some more questions.
I met Chad at The Patient ID Centre, which turned out to be what the original San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club became after Prop 215 (the first medical cannabis proposition) passed 1996. He told me outdoor growers were against Prop 19. Many people want to see the plant set free. At least things were starting to make more sense, and questions were being answered. It really was a close vote! Just a matter of time…..

By Ted Smith

Heroes make the world a better place. Becoming a cannabis hero may not as hard as your think. Defending the truth, helping the sick and vulnerable, growing medicine, writing letters, wearing cannabis t-shirts, attending rallies, and networking on-line are individually easy things to do. Doing more than one thing to free the weed makes you a hero in my books.
For many, the more active you are, the easier and more liberating cannabis activism becomes. Being part of a community allows us to learn from each other as we develop as individuals and groups. There is a certain joy that grows within us as we work together to make the world a better place using cannabis.
Few heroes have shared as much joy, wisdom, and passion for justice as Michelle Rainey. She taught people that they can be heroes, too—and in so doing became a cannabis superhero in the eyes of many.
From the moment she stepped into the scene, Michelle lightened up the atmosphere around her with her boundless energy, charm, and sincerity. Her presence demanded attention, and not just because she was pretty and glowing with good vibrations. Michelle’s warmth, keen intellect, and bold tactical political wisdom attracted supporters from all walks of life to the cannabis community.
People who suffer from serious medical problems face many challenges. Most of us do not consider our impending death every day, struggling against pain and anxiety that makes every minute seem longer and every hurdle a little taller. Getting out of bed to face the world becomes more difficult for most people as their body breaks down.
Michelle was not one of those who went quietly. She raged into the night. She raged against the drug companies. She raged against Health Canada. She raged against the cancer. She raged against the media.
So come on, join the legion of superheroes. Stand up for truth, justice, and Mother Nature. Make Michelle proud.

EDITORIAL: Rolling Into 2011
by Andrew Brown

Happy New Year! This year should prove eventful for the cannabis movement, and we can only hope that the common sense switch gets turned on for our law makers and politicians.
Bill S-10 is digging its teeth into the House of Commons after passing Senate in December. This is the single most important fight the Canadian Cannabis movement has on the battlefront. This bill could throw every single person working at a compassion club, university kids growing plants to share with their friends, or even somebody giving a Tylenol 3 to a friend with a migraine while walking past a school, into jail for up to two years or more. The Conservative government is relying on the lazy stoner stereotype of not bothering to get active using their voting voices because somebody else will do it, so it’s high time the 30 percent of Canadians and 102 percent of British-Columbians who use cannabis make their voices heard. Call your MP, other MPs, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, Stephen Harper, or any other influential government official, and let them know that mandatory minimum sentences are not supported by Canadians. It is very important to focus energy on the Liberal party and Michael Ignatieff, as they are the vote(s) that can pass or end bill S-10.
On the provincial side of government, former Cannabis Culture Editor, Vancouver Seedbank and the Dispensary founder, Dana Larsen is in the running for the NDP leadership. We wish him the best of luck in his bid, and hope he can spark some change. At the very minimum, he will for sure create a serious debate during his campaign.
Marc Emery is in prison in the U.S., in Georgia, and could really use some letters of support sent to the Hon. Vic Toews, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety, for his bid to be transfered to a Canadian prison. To find out more information check out
The CBC of C’s bakery trial is set to begin this year, also. The ruling of the trial could potentially affect portions of the MMAR, and help solidify cannabis’ validity as medicine. This will be a long and costly battle, so the community is encouraged to come and support the fun fundraising events planned throughout the year.
For the entire year, we must push harder than ever before. The Conservative government, backed by corporate interests, is waging war on our culture and the freedom of all Canadians. Please help anyway you can—pass out a couple of copies of this publication to your friends, buy and wear a themed T-shirt, talk about the last episode of Weeds at the water cooler, attend cannabis-related events, and most importantly contact Your MPs and Michael Ignatieff.


Dear Editor,
I write you today as a federally licensed medicinal marihuana card holder. I am only one of a growing number of medical patients who are turning to Marihuana for pain relief.
Not only does the public need to be educated on their rights as patients (and the medicine that they are entitled to), but also, everyone should be aware of the BS politics, bureaucracy, and stigmas still attached to this medicine.
Approximately seven years ago, I was in a motor vehicle accident, where I suffered severe whiplash. I continue to suffer from neck and shoulder pain, as well as regular migraines. After years of pharmaceutical treatments ranging from Tylenol 3, to Oxy-codone, Percocet, Nitroglycerine, and even costly therapeutic Botox, I found my quality of life decreasing due to the side effects—like cloudiness (I couldn’t spell, think, or live any sort of normal life), sleepiness, lack of motivation, and addiction. All of these treatments are also very expensive.
In 2009, I began researching alternative medical treatments, because I was sick of what pharmaceuticals were doing to me. The Medical Marihuana Access Program came to my attention immediately. Once I tried cannabis, I knew this was the medicine I needed to take. No longer suffering from stupidity, lack of motivation, etc., I was able to refocus on the important things in life.
After an extremely long and tedious application (36+ pages!), numerous doctor visits, specialist appointments, passport photos, criminal record checks, hoop jumping, hurdles, and misinformation, I finally received an approval from the Federal Government to become Federally Licensed to possess and grow my own marihuana.
The eight month application delay, hoop jumping hoopla seemed quite ridiculous to me. I, at least, am still able to function, but what about those who are extremely ill, cannot stand up for themselves, and need medicine immediately? Not legally allowed to possess marihuana before receiving a license makes it frustrating for patients, also infringing on basic human rights to medical care and treatment.
Shortly after I received my license, a very close friend, and well established business owner in my area, expressed his interest in medicinal marihuana as well. My friend suffers from terminal liver, lung, and kidney cancer. His application was processed much quicker, as his condition is much more critical. Those with MS and cancer can, and do, (thankfully) receive the license sooner—but they still have to wait months for the application to be approved.
I am now just realizing the true scope of the problems associated with the Medical Marihuana Access Program. Health Canada does not provide any sort of direction. It seems every time I call with a question (to a call center who is sub-contracted by Health Canada, who passes on the messages to Health Canada) I get a different answer. It honestly seems that Health Canada make up their policies as they go along. There is NO SUPPORT from the government for us medical users.
I was forced from British Columbia, as I was simply unable to afford a property to grow my own medicine, let alone the cost of setting up a room. I have recently relocated back to Alberta where I can more realistically afford property, and partnered with another Federally licensed producer/patient.
My partner and I are determined to set up a LEGALLY OPERATING grow facility. Going this route, however, rather than setting up an “underground” facility has lead us to more headaches than we could have ever imagined. Let me just say, it would have been MUCH easier to go the underground route to get and produce our medicine, but we refuse to go that way. Before coming to Alberta, I alerted the RCMP, Calgary City Police, and the Calgary Green team. They knew I was coming, and they know what I am doing. I have nothing to hide. I am not associated with gangs, and am not a criminal. I do not want to make money off of marihuana. I want to help people get better. I should not be treated like a criminal—yet that is what I keep running into.
My partner and I hired professional electricians, got all of the necessary permits, and we have even been inspected by the City of Calgary. I find that I am now being stonewalled by the City Inspector, who seems to be very obtuse with what we are doing. In his views, we are setting up a “grow-op,” which in my mind, has a very dirty and dark connotation. This plant is my MEDICINE—not POT. I am not a stoner, I am a certified Chef, and my wife a Teacher. We are respectable citizens in the community. The City Inspector is obviously in disagreement with what we are doing, and is now doing everything in his power to ensure my partner and I remain unable to access our medicine. Again, going against basic human rights.
My biggest beef with this program is that Health Canada does not provide growers with any general rules to follow. Health Canada only tells you how many plants you can have, not how to safely implement a medical facility. This, I believe, is immoral. I pay my taxes! Our government is here because of us taxpayers! Yet I feel I have NO support whatsoever from them.
I have become a true believer in this medicine. The more research I do, the stronger my belief becomes. I am now clear headed, I have appetite, I can function, and be a contributing member of society again—I cannot say the same while I was on pharmaceuticals.
I recently lost my father to cancer this past August. It was a terrible thing to experience, and I would not wish this disease upon my worst enemy. I watched a healthy, strong, vibrant man deteriorate quickly, taking a booklet of pharmaceuticals every single day—morphine, chemotherapy, radiation—all the while knowing that I was holding the key to a potential cure. There are many studies now that show Marihuana is a possible CURE for cancer, but Pharmaceutical companies would never tell you that—they make FAR too much money ensuring they keep us all sick!
The marihuana plant cannot be patented, which is why this medicine has not been embraced by the pharmaceutical industry. This medicine is a threat because it works.
Sick people all across Canada are fighting illnesses that can be treated with marihuana. The general public needs to know that it is time to change course, but so too does the MMAR program. Major changes need to be made to the Health Canada program in order to better support those of us who are taking our health into our own hands. There are simple fundamental problems that need to be addressed with the MMAR program, including providing safe options for production facilities, and support to build those facilities. Insurance companies are also against growing marihuana for medical purposes. If one could find an insurance company who would carry you, not only would the premiums be astronomical, but so too would the deductibles.
This is why I turn to the media now. I need help. I want to help people, but I need to help myself first. I vowed after my father died, that I would devote my life to ensuring other people wouldn’t need to suffer the same death sentence that he did.
I would be extremely grateful to have this message forwarded to anyone willing to listen. I am also willing to invite you into our facility to view what we are doing, and to show the public how a safe operation can be done. (Making note of the hurdles to be jumped to get to that point.)
I am thankful for your time, and hope this story is one that can be shared with others.
Most sincerely,
Brian Jones
The Cannabis Digest would like to hear from you. What are you concerns, ideas, news, or anything else cannabis related? We normally prefer letters to be around 300 words, but exceptions can be made. Please email them to < HYPERLINK "">

Bill S-10: Mandatory Minimum Misinformation
by Frank Discussion

“All of the parties need to give their heads a shake and really critically examine how these laws that are being passed are going to negatively impact the entire country.”
—Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.
Imagine the following scenario: You’re at a car dealership and the salesperson—let’s call him Stephen Harper—claims to have just the right car for you. He directs you to the new S-10 model.
Stephen claims the S-10 is a true performer, and is designed to increase your safety. He opens the door and motions for you to take a seat inside. Stephen is making the car sound so great you’re becoming convinced that buying the S-10 would be a logical decision.
“Nice car. What does it cost?” you ask.
“Don’t worry about the price,” Stephen replies. “The S-10 is worth it at any price. Trust me.”
Assuming he was joking, you ask again. Stephen tells you the price is something he would rather not share. “It’s a matter of dealership confidence,” he insists. “Customers who buy the S-10 are not allowed to know the true cost until after they buy it.”
Perplexed, but still interested to know more, you ask, “What are others saying about the car? Do the experts recommend it?”
The only recommendation Stephen could come up with was an endorsement given by his own dealership, PM Power & Associates.
Frustrated, and more than a little suspicious, you leave the dealership determined to try to understand what just happened. If the S-10 is so great, then why didn’t Stephen know of any credible organizations that endorsed it, and why was he being so secretive about the price?
Once back home, a quick web search for “S-10” reveals that Stephen Harper was not being truthful with you. You find plenty of reports and research on this car, but all of it concludes that buying it is a terrible mistake. “It’s outrageously expensive, riddled with defects, and a threat to society. Stay far away from this car. You’ll pay through the nose and get nothing in return but more problems,” was the advice from the experts.
Further research reveals that a version of this car has been used in the United States for many years with disastrous results. Fortunately, though, Americans have learned their lesson and are now moving away from using this car. Even the U.S. “Car Czar,” during a recent visit to Canada, warned that buying the S-10 is “just being dumb on cars.”
The above analogy accurately represents the fraud Stephen Harper is currently perpetrating on an unsuspecting Canadian public in the form of Bill S-10—legislation that seeks to impose Mandatory Minimum Sentences (MMS) for a variety of drug offences.
If you wouldn’t buy the “S-10” from car salesman Stephen, then you definitely won’t want to buy Bill S-10 from Prime Minister Stephen, either. Despite overwhelming evidence, including two studies prepared for the Department of Justice that conclude MMS are ineffective, the Harper government is undeterred.
Below are some quotes and information that demonstrate the significant disconnect between what the Harper Conservatives are telling Canadians about this bill, and what its opponents are warning.
1. Will Bill S-10 deter crime?
Rob Nicholson, the Conservative Justice Minister who’s leading the charge to pass this bill, used to be opposed to the use of mandatory minimums. In 1988, he was vice-chairman of a parliamentary committee that rejected the expansion of automatic incarceration, asserting that it doesn’t work, overcrowds jails, and takes too hefty of a social and financial toll. These are the same points currently being made by opponents of Bill S-10.
During a recent visit to Canada, U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske characterized the use of MMS as “being dumb on drugs,” and that lawmakers in “almost every single state” in the U.S. are looking to reduce mandatory minimum penalties because prison populations have exploded with non-violent drug offenders.
2. Will Bill S-10 make Canadians safer?
“The Canadian Bar Association suggests that public safety concerns can be met with existing laws. The Bill could create unjust and disproportionate sentences and ultimately would not achieve its intended goal of greater public safety.”
—Joshua Weinstein, the past chair of the CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section.
“To impose minimum sentences that do not distinguish between the kingpin drug seller doing it purely for profit and exploitation and low-level dealers will only clog the courts and jails. It will do nothing to enhance public safety.”
—Phil Downes (Rep., Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers).
3. Who will Bill S-10 target?
Here’s what the Conservative government would have us believe.
“The bill specifically targets gangs and other organized criminal groups who participate in the illegal drug trade. Our Government’s message is clear: drug lords should pay with jail time,”
—Daniel Petit, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice
Here’s the reality of who will be targeted by Bill S-10.
“The problem is that nothing in the legislation distinguishes between the young person who is trafficking in marijuana—bear in mind, trafficking is simply providing to someone else—and the high-level drug dealer. If the policy goal is to attack the sophisticated and exploitive drug dealers, nothing inherently in the legislation does that.”
– Phil Downes
Keep in mind that if Bill S-10, misleadingly titled “Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act,” is allowed to pass, a university student growing six or more cannabis plants who sells or gives any of it to his friends, or a student who exchanges a pill of ecstasy with a classmate, will be treated the same as a kingpin drug dealer.
4. How much will Bill S-10 cost?
Good question. The Conservative government has refused to provide information on the full costs that will result from this bill’s implementation. “I’d rather not share that” was Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s response when questioned by reporters.
What is known, however, is that the financial burden will fall on provincial governments. “It’s up to the provinces to find their share of the money to handle an expected surge in the prison population,” said Toews.
Unofficial estimates predict the cost of implementing Bill S-10, to B.C. alone, will be over $200 million, and the total national cost will be in the billions of dollars. Currently, there are at least 22 new provincial/territorial prisons being built in Canada, and 15 additions are being made to existing facilities.
With crime at 30-year lows, and a large national deficit, aren’t there much better ways to spend taxpayers’ money?
To summarize, Bill S-10 will not deter crime, it will cost taxpayers billions, it will do nothing to enhance public safety, and it will overflow prisons with low-level offenders who will come out of prison worse than when they went in.
All Canadians have reason to oppose this bill. Any Canadian, who cares about the health and safety of our communities, has reason to oppose this bill. Any Canadian, who disagrees with wasting billions of tax dollars on a policy that’s sure to fail, has reason oppose this bill. Any Canadian, who expects policy to be based on solid evidence and sound decision-making, has reason oppose this bill.
This legislation must be stopped in order to prevent disastrous consequences for the entire country. Your MP needs to know you oppose Bill S-10. Bill S-10 is currently in the House of Commons, having already passed the Senate on December 13, 2010.
Politicians, particularly elected ones, are highly susceptible to constituent pressure. Now is a crucial time to contact your Member of Parliament to urge him or her to vote NO on Bill S-10, while there’s still a chance of stopping it.
The purpose of contacting your MP is to embolden them, and to make them aware that concerned members of their constituency are informed about this bill and are expecting him or her to commit to the principled and courageous decision to vote NO on Bill S-10 in the House of Commons.
I use the word “courageous” because, unfortunately, in today’s sound-bite politics the threat of being labeled as “soft on crime” is a real concern to elected politicians. Some members of the Liberal Party have acknowledged this as the reason they allowed the previous version of this bill, Bill C-15, to pass a vote in the House of Commons. (Bill C-15 subsequently died when Harper prorogued Parliament in December 2009)
The Harper Conservatives claim that Bill S-10 has widespread support among Canadians. Prove Harper wrong by contacting your MP and making your opposition known.
For more information about Bill S-10, including Member of Parliament contact information, source links for quotes used in this article, videos and transcripts from Bill C-15 and Bill S-10 Senate Committee meetings, downloadable S-10 handouts, and more, visit < HYPERLINK "">

The Votes For Cannabis Law Reform
by M. Allister Greene

In Nov. 2010, many voters went to their polls across the United States of America locking their arms with the somewhat faithful call for change. This was no different for many Cannabis supporters who wished to see reform in the laws and policies in their states. Both legalization and medical uses of cannabis were major reasons to make it to the polls on Nov. 2, as questions were added for citizens in many states in the form of ballot initiative, Voter Referendums, and others with Non-Binding ballot questions.
The U.S., unfortunately, does not have a constitutional right or amendment that allows for federal change of laws, for the U.S. as a whole, by act of voting initiatives. Currently only 26 states have some sort of ballot measure form declared as a right in the state constitution or as an amendment that was added to allow voters of the state to affect state law where they claim citizenship. For some voters, even though ballot initiatives are not a right granted in their state, still have non-binding ballot questions/referendums that allow them to state public support or non-support for laws they wish to pass or remove.
The initiative process allowed in 26 states, begins with voting citizens starting a petition to create a new law. Each state has a set number of registered voting adults from the state needed to get an initiative on the ballot. One of the highest anticipated ones this past year was California’s Proposition 19—the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. This initiative was set to pass a legal market for all adults over the age of 21 and would have given California citizens the right to cannabis, as it would have became a lawful act. In the end, 5,333,359, or 53.5 percent, of Californians voted against and 4,643,751, 46.5 percent, voted in favour of legalization, and the measure failed. The fall of this initiative has hurt many hard-working spirits, but it has created a new and more powerful network of cannabis activists who refuse to give in and have the spirit to win.
This last year, the only pro-cannabis initiative that was absolutely binding was the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, Proposition 203, which passed with 841,348 (50.1 percent) in favour, and the no votes coming in at 837,008 (49.9 percent), meaning the yes voices were only a little louder then the no voices. This is the second time Arizona passed a medical cannabis act. In 1996, Arizona’s Proposition 200 was approved by the voters passing on the ballot by 65.4 percent. The wording was the reason the law was brought down, due to the word prescription and not using recommendation. Cannabis is a schedule 1 substance and therefore can not be prescribed by a doctor and would have removed many medical licenses according to the states court system when the law was challenged before enacted.
The passing of Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act should absolutely be celebrated but shows a disturbing trend. Both 2010 and 1996 props passed, but the support levels went down. This could have been because some people want medical and did not like the bill, or the public support in Arizona for medical cannabis is dropping either because people want to see full legalization, or they are afraid of the so-called abuse in other states. This occurs on both sides as people question if some states are allowing fake patients, and how the federal and local governments refuse to agree to respect laws passed by voters. At this point, though some aspects of Proposition 203 are still being decided, the act is progressing nicely into law as Arizona becomes the fifteenth state to pass medical cannabis laws.
The Arizona act protects medical cannabis users from discrimination, particularly jobs being taken away or employment refused due to their card holding status. Under the new law, the employer has to prove that the patient can not do their job safely and effectively. It also gave students the legal right to use off school grounds if they have a doctors recommendation. Prop 203 also prohibits discrimination, as it protects the rights of cannabis patient’s rental rights, right to organ transplants, and custody and/or visitation of parents over children. The biggest conflict to those that support the law, is the right to grow at home is taken away if you live within 25 miles of a dispensary. Many also feel that the 2.5 oz limit for every two weeks is inadequate. This amount was also brought up by the opposition who were claiming 200 to 250 joints from this amount which would honestly be very small if people really rolled .28 gram joints. These would be very ineffective to use as medication, or even for recreational use, unless one was to smoke many of these together or back to back, reducing health benefits.
The Initiative Measure 13, known as South Dakota Medical Marijuana Act, was also voted on in Nov. This initiative was out voted by a horrible 199,552 which was 63.31 percent of the voters. This failure compared to the 2006 measure which did not pass, but by 52.3 percent, also had over 15,000 more voters and better support. The biggest mistake was running this ballot initiative when the majority of the rest of the election for offices in South Dakota were uncontested Republican politicians who are mostly anti-cannabis, and only needed a majority vote of yes to stay in offices where they had no one running against them. This poor choice to run the ballot might cost the passing of any cannabis act anytime soon, in a ditch that’s muddy and filled with broken glass. A defeat that is due to poor judgment, such as Measure 13, seemed to be poorly supported due to not being in the public eye with no media attention. It became a disabling blow to the movement, as medical cannabis legislation in South Dakota is now stuck in the mud with a few flat tires.
In states that have Initiatives to create new laws, they often have referendums that basically affect other laws by either adding new laws or overturning laws. Some states allow referendums to be started by the legislatures and/or citizens, and need a petition with a set number of votes to put it on the ballot. This last year in Oregon, voters had a chance to pass laws allowing a regulated dispensary system and to legalize a business that some say currently exist already in a gray area of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (Measure 67 from 1998). Now last year’s vote which did not pass and had 790,978 no votes (55.79 percent), and 626,749 votes yes (44.21 percent), on the Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System Act, Measure 74. This act was tiled more as an initiative, but actually functioned more like a referendum. It had a large amount of public support, and it was more of a shock that it did not pass. It was most likely brought down by some complaints made by newspapers opposing its passing because it left a lot open to local municipalities to control, interpret, and create from, if it passed.
In almost all states, some form of non-binding questions or referendums can appear on the ballot. Depending on the state, they may be brought forth by citizen petition or legislative acts for voters to voice their opinion on public policy or civil rights, as also seen federally. They are non-binding, though, but they can affect a politician’s chance of being elected again if they go against the majority opinion. They are not legally obligated to vote for, pass, or fail a bill due to the results. Some non-binding ballot questions can be directed to a state or municipality, or toward public officials directly named. This year, Massachusetts had 18 municipalities vote on non-binding question and referendums, all of which passed in favor of cannabis legalization, medical, or decimalization in some of the highest populated areas of the state.
All forms of initiatives, ballot questions, and referendums (binding or not) are examples of the U.S. direct democracy in action. Now as important as these are, as they can directly make public policy, the driving force in most laws come from those we elect as public officials, which is indirect democracy. Recently, Vermont elected a pro-legalization governor, and California elected Kamala Harris who is a lesser evil than Steve Cooley. It is important to always make sure votes for delegates count towards either someone who represents personal view of rights, or who is less likely to try to see you in cage. We can not allow candidates who have even a slight chance of taking away any of our freedoms, and not towards the reform that the world needs, to be elected.

Medicinal Michelle Rainey—Courage, Compassion, and Commitment
by Kyla Williams

Michelle Rainey — Courage, Compassion, and
On Oct. 20, 2010, the cannabis community lost one of its great leaders. Michelle Rainey, one of Canada’s foremost medicinal marijuana activist, succumbed to cancer with her husband Jef Tek and her mother Emilie by her side.
Michelle was a bright light in the community, combining courage and commitment to her convictions advocating the medicinal benefits of cannabis. “Medicinal Michelle,” by all accounts, was tireless in her work to inform, and to help individuals find their way to legal status.
In the early 1990s, Rainey began smoking cannabis in place of the daily regimen of pharmaceutical drugs she was taking to relieve symptoms of Crohn’s disease. She said cannabis did not trigger the same debilitating side effects as the pills. As she discovered the benefits of cannabis to her own body, she learned and read of Marc Emery’s activities. While she admired his work, she remained a closet smoker.
In 1998, Michelle had a chance meeting with Marc Emery at the bank where she worked, in Gibsons, B.C. She took the opportunity to admit her use and laud Marc as her hero. Shortly after their meeting, as fortune would have it, Marc was also looking for a housekeeper, and someone to do the grocery shopping and make meals in his home on the Sunshine Coast. Although she had a successful 10 year banking career, she had the courage to quit her job and began to work for Emery. Michelle felt it was fate that brought them together. They were a powerful duo, and changed the landscape of Cannabis activism over the next 10 years.
She was not the “maid” for long. Putting her organizational skills to work, she became integral in Emery’s organization and helped launch it into the empire it became. She was the “go to” person in the organization, making sure the bills got paid on time, packing seed orders, and organizing Marc and others’ efforts.
She was also one of the founding members of the BC Marijuana Party. In the 2001 provincial election, the party fielded candidates in every riding—79 in all. Michelle ran in Peace River South when there was no candidate available, operating out of the Alaskan Hotel, in Dawson Creek.
She managed to get U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s old campaign tour bus, nicknamed it the “Cannabus,” and toured the province with then-party leader Brian Taylor, who later became the mayor of Grand Forks.
Michelle’s organizing efforts were integral to the party’s aspirations, and many involved credit her with the success of the party during that election.
The party captured more than 50,000 votes—3.2 per cent—a pretty impressive accomplishment for an independent, upstart party.
In 2000, Pot TV was born in Marc Emery’s basement, and it was Michelle that coordinated the people and the equipment, as well as contributing her own shows.
Michelle’s Medicinal Marijuana followed Michelle’s gardens, and was packed with useful information for advocating the medicinal use of marijuana. She continued posting shows into the fall of 2010, where she announced the recurrence of her cancer and her intention to fight it using a highly concentrated doses of afghani bull-rider cannabis oil. “It is a labour of love” she said when she spoke of her husbands work to make the oil that she was ingesting.
She was the driving force behind the Toker’s Bowl—an annual event spanning 2002 to 2005. The bowl was attended by 200 guests who rated pot strains on over 250 points. Michelle succeeded admirably in her role as hostess. The parties were lauded as the best that the community had ever seen, and required months of planning and preparations. She will be remembered for her attention to detail, and endless supply of energy at the bowls.
At the 2005 event, she married her husband Jeff in a surprise wedding that was arranged by Michelle, and was a special treat to attendees of the bowl that year. Due to the raids by the RCMP—acting on behalf of the DEA—on the BCMP headquarters, this was the last Toker’s Bowl held.
In 2005, Michelle was indicted, along with Marc Emery and Greg Williams, for their activities with Marc’s seed-selling business. It was during this period that the relationship between Michelle and the Emerys soured. Eventually, after five years of legal maneuvering, Rainy and Williams agreed to a plea deal in Apr. 2010. Both were sentenced to two years probation. Marc agreed to five years in jail.
In June of 2007, Michelle’s advocacy reached new heights when she was a speaker at Idea City, Canada’s premier meeting of the minds, in Toronto. Idea City prides itself as being where Canada’s smartest people speak. Michelle had attended the event in the past, as Marc Emery’s partner, but this was the first time she had been asked to speak on her own. It was an honour for her that was earned through her hard work and dedication. It was also one of the accomplishments she was most proud of. It helped bring the movement more into the mainstream, and created awareness amongst a group of people who do not regularly hear the message that Michelle had to share.
Her efforts brought her into contact with numerous high-profile Canadians, including celebrities such as Romeo Dallaire, Henry Morgentaler, and Wade Davis.
On Oct. 28, I was fortunate enough to attend the memorial held for her by Vancouver cannabis activists, at the BC marijuana Party headquarters. I was awestruck by the memories shared, and by the sheer volume and calibre of people in attendance. A picture of a compassionate, hard working, and courageous human being was painted.
All in attendance were inspired by Michelle in one way or another. Whether it was her encouragement to eat and live healthier, or to go to toastmasters, Michelle was a positive force in all the lives around her.
Jodie Emery expressed deep sorrow for the loss of Michelle and regret for the estrangement over the past years. Michelle was in the Emery’s wedding party as Maid of Honour, and was a close friend to Jodie.
Marc Emery called the memorial from Prison in the U.S., and while it was difficult to hear him on the speakerphone he wrote of
her passing with elegance. “Michelle needs to be recognized as one of the greatest activists this movement has ever had,” he said via an e-mail from prison. “Michelle may have literally given her life to the movement, and when people think about what they can do for freedom in their lifetime, Michelle’s life is a shining example of how much is possible, even under great duress.”
Dana Larsen, longtime friend and activist, joked about “boobie hugs” and remembered her energy and drive. In a blog post, he spoke of her influence and how endless her involvement and achievements seemed to be.
“One of the many things I admired about Michelle was her ability to speak with and rally together people of all sorts. She made friends and allies out of people from all walks of life and all levels of society. She was as comfortable talking to media moguls and celebrities as she was helping out impoverished and ailing Canadians in getting their medical marijuana license.” He wrote. “Michelle did so much more, it’s hard to list all of her accomplishments. I keep remembering new projects and aspects of things that she was involved in, it seems endless.”
Other high profile activists spoke at the memorial, including Chris Bennett, Greg Williams, Kirk Tousaw, David Malmo-Levine, and Lisa Kirkman who spoke at length of how important Michelle’s support was as she struggled to retrieve her son from the U.S. children’s agencies in Oregon.
Neil Magnuson spoke of Michelle’s timely phone call on his cell phone as he was beginning his first Freedomtour, with a goal to Rollerblade across Canada to raise awareness of the injustices associated with drug prohibition. Michelle’s call arrived when he was three-quarters of the way up the Malahat Hwy., on Vancouver Island. “I don’t think she knew how much that helped me, what I was doing was very hard, but her call made a difference as her bubbly, confident attitude carried me easily to the summit, and from there I never looked back.” He said.
My own encounters with Michelle reflected this same experience. Though we had met only a few times and communicated only occasionally by email she inspired me, not only with her encouragement to succeed, but she somehow managed to remember details about my life that most would not have taken the time to consider. Her well placed words continue to be a source of strength for me.
One of her last speaking engagements was for Hempology 101’s Cannabis Convention, in Naniamo. She spoke passionately about community, and compassion. She urged people to step away from their computers and electronic gadgets, and to get back to the basics of face to face contact, talking to neighbours, and growing your own gardens—getting back to the grass roots. She also spoke passionately about being on top of any health issues, and being your own advocate for your own health. She urged attendees to talk with their doctors when they experienced concerning symptoms, even if they were embarrassed.
Only the week before this speaking engagement Michelle had undergone surgery to remove Melanoma from her back and neck. Large strips of flesh were removed from her body in an attempt to remove the cancer from her body. However, one would have never guessed she struggled with any health issues.
Despite her illnesses throughout life, Michelle remained a picture of health. Always “put together,” it was rare for one to spot Michelle not looking her best. Beautiful by anyone’s definition, she always took the time to take care of herself, with her trademark red lips, and long blonde hair.
This past June, she took part in the cross Canada “street meet” organized by Hempology 101. Events took place in 24 cities and towns across Canada. In Maple Ridge, where Michelle lived, she walked down the street with signs, wearing her medicinal T-shirt proudly, and engaged people. She shared her story, and passed on information about the proposed law, with many she came across. She told me by email that had lots of honks and smiles and that “over all it was a successful day.”
Michelle also offered a “Medicinal” shirt to anyone that wrote letters to government officials about bill S-10, which creates mandatory minimum sentences for the first time in Canada, for growers and producers of marijuana, and marijuana extracts.
Michelle also had an online following. Forums were buzzing with memorials and regret of her loss. Cannabis Culture’s forums, where Michelle got her start, expressed great regret at the loss of a their “den mother” and friend. Her facebook page filled with messages of appreciation, and of how she inspired others.
During the past few years, she was the director of sales and marketing for Treating Yourself magazine, a medicinal marijuana magazine written for patients by patients, based in Ontario. Publisher Marco Renda declared that Oct. 20, should be known as Michelle Rainey day in the magazine’s forums to honour an amazing woman and activist.
Jef Tek, has vowed to carry on Michelle’s work. A memorial website < HYPERLINK ""> maintained by her family, states her daily purpose: To educate the educators and persuade the legislatures of this world that marijuana is medicine and should be legalized. The Medicinal Cannabis Education Package she developed remains available to help Canadian cannabis patients find access. Her famous “MEDICINAL” T-shirt with a marijuana leaf in the “A” has become an icon. The shirts are still available for sale to support the Michelle Rainey Foundation for Continuing Crohn’s, Cancer and Cannabis research.
“I want people to keep working, keep working for change—too many sick people are still having difficulty getting their medication,” Rainey said shortly before she passed away. “That’s what I want as my legacy —change.”
She will remain an inspiration and an example, particularly to female activists in the movement, for years to come.

Melanoma and Cannabis
by Owen Smith

In previous articles I’ve focused on the edible and topical products at the CBC of C—how they’re made, tested & developed in the context of an unlicensed Canadian cannabis dispensary—but in this article I’m going to step back from the science and tell you about why I’ve become involved with medical cannabis. In the wake of Michelle Rainey passing of Melanoma, I feel that sharing my family’s journey with this cancer an important task, especially when an increasing number of people contracting the disease. The conventional treatments are a gauntlet of radiation, surgeries, and drugs that come with a host of incapacitating side-effects. It’s important we consider the well-being of patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, and offer alternatives that will bring ease and comfort during the time left to live.
I met Ted while studying at Camosun College, and became the president of the Hempology 101 club. I volunteered time by designing and distributing posters, and becoming a member of the Hempology Board of Directors. With the help of Ted’s weekly Hempology meetings, I began educating myself about the many hidden benefits of cannabis/hemp.
Around this time, my 21 year old sister Ceri was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer. She suffered chronic pain from the considerable surgical scarring, and serious and debilitating side effects from the brain radiation therapy and steroidal medications. These treatments failed to control her brain tumors from causing nausea, vomiting, and neurological pain so severe she was unable to even put food into her mouth or swallow. I suggested that cannabis could help with the symptoms of her treatment based on things I’d learned at Hempology 101. When all else failed, my family gave cannabis a try and helped sign my sister up for the CBC of C. Smoking small amounts of cannabis gave my sister the ability to eat, sleep, and effectively share the last few months of her life with her family.
During those last four months, she smoked cannabis to relieve her symptoms, allowing eating at restaurants with the family to be a regular occurrence. It was during this time that bonds were mended among our family, and precious moments were shared that brought us closer together. She died only one year after contracting the illness.
My parents pledged to fight cancer and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Cancer foundation through hosting dance parties, selling custom made pins, and amassing a large crowd of people to Walk for the Cure. My sister’s segment with The Daily on Shaw TV, where she shared her story and attempted to warn young people of the dangerous trend of tanning, won a media award in the Empowerment category in the Northwest Video Awards. You can watch it here < HYPERLINK "">
At that time I hadn’t heard of Rick Simpson, and how the concentrated cannabis oil that he called “phoenix tears” had successfully helped remove cancerous (Melanoma) tumors from moles on people’s skin. I was surprised to see a CBC news report that reflected how available cancer cures had been orphaned by drug companies because there is no profit in a cure. Rick had been asking for help from all the relevant organizations including the Cancer Society, major media companies, all government parties, and even the Prime Minister.
His attempts to hold meetings at his local Royal Canadian Legion were blocked, and he was raided by police and had his 1600 plants destroyed. Vowing to continue to give away medicine, Rick went right back to work. Boasting a 70 percent success rate, he toured North America with his film, Run from the Cure, sharing the miracles of edible and topical high-concentration cannabis oil. The RCMP raided his home a third time while he was receiving the Freedom Fighter of the Year award at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. He is currently living in exile in Europe, knowing that if he returns to Canada he will likely die in jail, and is writing a book about his experiences. Find out more information at < HYPERLINK "">
By this time it was too late for phoenix tears to help my sister. When Michelle Rainey passed last year, I was reminded of the deadly nature of this cancer and the many difficulties people face in attaining this medicine. The need for alternative treatments is growing, and topical cannabis oil offers a much needed avenue to explore.
Melanoma, unlike many cancers, is clearly visible on the skin. Changes in the shape, colour, or size of moles are potential indicators. Early detection is directly linked to a very high survival rate—close to 95 percent—if detected before the cancer spreads below the skin. After applying phoenix tears to a cancerous mole on his nose, Rick Simpson cured his, and others, developing tumors in just a few days.
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer suspected to be related to U.V. exposure. In Australia, where the ozone layer is depleted, the rates of Melanoma are the highest in the world. Someone will die from Melanoma every hour. Melanoma kills close to 20 Canadians a week. The most at risk are those who fair skinned, fair haired, blue eyed, and freckled, people of all ages. Unfortunately, cancer research is focused on isolating genetic links and developing immunosuppressant treatments, and not the exploration of a potential cure through the development of cannabis medicine.
As I explained in the last article (Product Development, Issue 26), the MMAR doesn’t include edible or topical oils in the access regulations. So even after waiting months for an MMAR license, negating an early detection, cancer patients aren’t able to use this treatment. These are good reasons why Canadian dispensaries should be licensed to provide edible and topical cannabis oils for those in need.
Anybody with a life threatening condition or a limited time left to live should have instant access to the miraculous, therapeutic, and cancer fighting properties of cannabis.
Please help support our efforts to make edible and topical cannabis oils readily available to those with life-threatening conditions. Visit < HYPERLINK ""> for more info.

by Ted Smith

Fifteen years ago it occurred to me that society had created a medical emergency.
The proposed goals of prohibition were health, peace, and prosperity. After decades of enforcement and lies, the war on drugs has dramatically hurt our ability to function as one big, happy family. A cry for change was ringing in the air. A cry for freedom was resonating on the streets. A cry for help was faintly heard from the hospital beds. A cry for a sense of community was shared among the desperate.
Things became clear to me soon after I moved to expand Hempology 101 from Vancouver to Victoria in Sept. of 1995. Hanging out in the Sacred Herb, I met many sick people who used cannabis. Though I really got involved to help make hemp legal for my family to grow, the very real needs of the seriously ill became impossible to ignore.
Denis Peron started the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club in 1994—the first medical dispensary in the world. People infected with AIDS were dying quick and ugly deaths from the disease and/or the experimental drugs they were being given. After losing his partner to AIDS, Denis put the gauntlet down and paved the way for clubs to open across California.
One day in the fall of 1995, I met a lady at the Sacred Herb who made cannabis cookies and skin products, and learned she was helping people with AIDS. My mind reeled with the medical possibilities of these alternatives. Many evenings were spent discussing what kind of a club should be formed, ideally and practically.
Under the circumstances, getting busted was considered inevitable. If the club was to be successful, we had to make sure we only provided services to people suffering from serious medical problems or the police would bust us, media would ridicule us, and judges condemn us as glorified drug dealers.
With few medical cannabis court decisions to consider, the right to provide an abortion based upon medical necessity, fought for by Dr. Henry Morgentaler, was used as the legal foundation for our work. Basing our mandate upon the Morgentaler decision, several legal opinions and our understanding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we determined membership would be extended to people with proof of a doctor’s diagnosis of an incurable disease or permanent, physical pain.
Forming a cooperative association to legally provide medicine has always been the goal of the club, though we are waiting to get a license to operate first. A board will likely consist of two growers, two members, and two staff (each voted upon by their peers), combined with three directors-at-large (doctors, lawyers, educators, etc.), for a total of nine.
Until the day comes that we can legally incorporate the group without fear of arrest, the International Hempology 101 Society is providing a means to educate the public, and providing basic infrastructure like a phone and pamphlets.
A pamphlet was printed with no more than a pager number as contact info. With a bike to ride in town and a van/home to deliver with elsewhere, my life took a turn for the better when we officially started the Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club in Jan. 1996.
Being a homeless, loudmouth, heat-score presented certain challenges. Having no money, I would first visit the member to get the cash, then go find someone with good herb, returning with the medicine as soon as possible. For the first few months I actually refused to charge above what I was paying, partly because my basic needs were taken care of by living in a van and eating in soup kitchens, partly because the sick people I was meeting were generally poor, partly because I figured donations from the industry would support me, and partly because everyone was so kind to me—smoking me joints, feeding me, offering me clothes, places to stay, etc. After a few months, it became clear that if the club was to grow beyond its meager beginnings, I would need to charge more than cost.
Many people were getting involved in the cannabis movement in the mid-1990s. Hemp stores were opening across the country, with new products showing up every week, and the history uncovered by Jack Herer in The Emperor Wears no Clothes was becoming public knowledge. Providing education and medicine seemed ideal areas to focus on. After showing the new Victoria CBC of C CBC of C pamphlet to the Vancouver Hempology 101 chapter in Jan. 1996, I encouraged them to do the same. Hillary Black was selling herb to sick people out of the back of Hemp BC at the time, but did not use any formal name for her enterprise. As word got out about her work and demand grew, Hillary decided to partner with a young name, Theo, and follow my lead. With a pamphlet and a contact number, the Vancouver Medical Marijuana Buyers’ Club was formed.
Activists in Toronto found out that medical cannabis distributors were openly operating in B.C. A short-lived group formed in the summer of 1996. By Dec. 1996, Cannabis As Living Medicine officially declared its existence in Toronto, still under the leadership of Neev Taperio. A few months later, in Apr. 1997, the Toronto Compassion Center opened just outside the downtown core, with Dominic Cramer as (and still) captain of that ship.
Not all medical cannabis clubs that started have survived. The original flagship, the San Francisco CBC was raided by police and shut down. Of course, many clubs sprung up all over California when the San Francisco CBC disbanded, and activists focused towards legalizing medical cannabis across the entire state with Prop 215 in 1996.
In the spring of 1996, a member of the club, Kathleen Cherrington, invited me to sell medicine from her apartment in the afternoon, leaving me the evening to do deliveries. Soon after setting the club up at her place, she had to move. So, I moved out of my van into the tiny apartment on Johnson St.
That fall, Hillary left for Europe and California, taking a break from managing Hemp BC before returning in the spring of 1997 to find no medical club operating in Vancouver. With Hillary at the helm, the BC Compassion Club Society began selling medicine in May 1997.
Having started the club for sick people with the hope it could look after itself without me, I was very happy when Phil Lucas appeared ready to get a storefront and take things to the next level. We changed the name of the club to the Vancouver Island Compassion Club, though it did not last long.
After several months of planning, Phil finally told me that when he opened the store members of the club would have to have a form signed recommending the use of cannabis as medicine, but clearly the majority of the people I was selling medicine to would not have been able to get these forms signed by their doctors. This was not acceptable to me, and I decided to keep the CBC of C CBC of C alive. Phil founded the Vancouver Island Compassion Society in Oct. 1999.
One year later, a series of arrests shook things up. The VICS was raided and moved to downtown, then I was arrested at the University of Victoria for sharing a handful of joints (Nov. 8, 2000), and then again one week later on International Medical Marijuana Day for giving out 420 cookies. These arrests brought more attention to my work, bringing new members through the door daily.
At around 4:20 on a Friday in Mar. 2001, Victoria police raided the apartment building. Unable to get a warrant for me because I was running a medical club, the police busted someone else selling pot downstairs and told me that I should get a store.
We did deliveries over the weekend, and saved money for rent. By Tues. I had the keys to 826 Johnson St. With no power the first day, we sold herb by candlelight with no more than two folding chairs and a coffee tray for furniture. Though I had met about 400 sick people in the first five years, the club was pretty small, at least compared to now. Our landlord felt the need to have a legitimate business in the main part of the store, so on Apr. 1, 2001 we opened Ted’s Books—the best April Fools joke I have played to date. From there, the club blossomed.
For a time we also had a branch operating in Coombs—a town in the middle of the island. John Cook soon came on board, opening a chapter of the CBC of C in Halifax, in 2002. He still does deliveries.
The storefront was raided by the police four times between Jan. 2002 and Feb. 2003. After the third raid I ran for mayor, figuring it would at least give me something to do in jail. The club continued to operate every single day through the raids—getting back to work as soon as everyone was out of jail.
During these times I was put down by other cannabis activists as being no more than a back alley drug dealer selling bad drugs for profit. I was threatened. I was assaulted. I was robbed. My girlfriend at the time became seriously depressed from the pressure. Sales dropped, and I was forced to cut staff.
Petitioning City Hall to support us by giving us a business license and to meet with Health Canada paid off. Though we did not get an actual license to operate, the city wrote a letter condemning the MMAR. NDP MP Denise Savioe and NDP MLA Rob Fleming were our two greatest supporters on council at the time.
When we were in court, every single charge was beaten, one way or another, starting in the fall of 2004. In my first trial, I convinced Justice Chaperon that we were not in this for profit because the guy who brought the police to our door did it out of vengeance for being cut off for buying for someone else.
Since that time, our club has turned into a dream come true, though there are many things yet to do and improvements to be made. After being thrown into debt $80,000 we finally turned things around and were about $20,000 ahead by the fall of 2009. This allowed us to expand upon the number of benefits the staff and members could take advantage of, including dropping our prices twice, and giving paid vacations.
We bought a car to start delivering medicine to people living up Island, under the impression that there were no other clubs at all except the two in Victoria. A lot of money was also spent trying to create a research project, resulting in the International Hempology 101 Society being drawn into labour relations on Sept. 11, 2009, resulting in a great deal of wasted time and energy.
Many staff hours have been devoted to fighting the Conservative government’s proposed mandatory minimum jail sentence laws—Bills C-26, C-15, and now S-10. For a while we had too many staff working at the club, too, the combined result forcing the club back $40,000 in debt.
We also had our bakery get raided in Dec. 2009, then used the empty apartment for a few months after trying to assemble as many of the newly acquired Cultivation Games as possible.
The club now has 29 food and skin products, many of which are not available anywhere else in the world. Our small smoking room gives members a chance to socialize, making the space feel almost like a college fraternity for normal people struggling with extra-ordinary challenges.
Managing the CBC of C has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Now, with about 3,400 active members, the CBC of C has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I am humbled at the respect shown to me by members and the community in general. Knowing that the CBC of C is the oldest operating medical dispensary in the world, fills me with pride and amazement. Thanks to everyone who has helped out along the way.

Cannabis Infused Automobiles?
by Diane Walsh

Environmentalists speak often, and prophetically, about the need for more industry impetus for cars with low or—even better yet—zero emissions. What’s not centre-stage, and should be, is the fact that hemp fibre can be used effectively as a construction material for a vehicle’s shell. Move over Hybrid. The Kestrel is now the trend setter. (See picture)
Not only is this vehicle fully electric, answering the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) demand, it sports the all—green-to-manufacture—hemp based body panels to boot!
Groundbreaking? Indeed it is. Motive Industries Inc., out of Calgary Alberta, is changing the face of car manufacturing by simultaneously employing Hemp and electric for the vision for the industry’s future in Canada.
The Kestrel was showcased for the first time in Vancouver at last September’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Conference and Trade show. We’ve caught up with Nathan Armstrong, President of Motive Industries, who says this: “It went very well. Huge response and the internet visits went viral. We did get some flack internally for aligning with hemp, but they got over it.”
That’s music to our ears. Clearly seeing enthusiasm all around him—needless to say, especially among fibre hemp promoters. Armstrong wants to educate people about what we can hope to see developing into a mainstay trend.
“We’re hoping it will demonstrate Canada’s abilities in technology and vehicle development. Something that hasn’t been highlighted internationally—ever. If successful it will generate a whole bunch of jobs and general industry activity,” says Armstrong.
“We had the scale model there [at the trade show] with the first body panel, but not a finished vehicle. We are still in the manufacturing stage and hope to have a finished vehicle by March 2011.”
But even in these early days there’s no question the Kestrel answers a number of needs. It is a major shift in thinking that will add more green jobs, creative innovation, and most importantly the key use of our Canadian advantage—the fact that by the year 1998 the Feds declared the legal use of mature hemp stalks for manufacturing, construction, textiles and products, etc. Interestingly, the U.S. is more backward, in not allowing the use of industrial hemp. This lack of vision is good for Canada. The Kestrel demonstrates a new message coming from the auto industry in Canada both economically and environmentally.
“This project was largely started by a group in Ottawa that was calling for the start of a Canadian OEM [original equipment manufacturer],” explains Armstrong. “They were looking to go the traditional route and were looking to raise $500MM to start the project. I came along and said ‘if Canada is going to do this, why not do something advanced to demonstrate our abilities?’ They all agreed hence the direction this program took.”
The Kestrel is part of Project Eve, created by MII and Toronto Electric, with the purpose of enhancing electric vehicle production across the country. With the first 20 Kestrels being built by polytechnic schools in three provinces it’s clear the Kestrel is switching it up—moving the auto-industry in a new bold and creative direction.
“We decided to use the schools for two reasons. They’ve been getting amazing investments from Government to expand on applied research facilities, which are essentially the best workshops we could ever hope to find. We’re better off using them than anything else. The second reason is student outreach and education. This is a very important part for us and we hope to inspire many students to go build their own stuff,” says Armstrong.
But let’s get right into the facts about hemp as a structural material. It’s thought to have more than twice the strength of other plant fibres. But in addition to not requiring much water, little pesticide, and the crop being high-yielding, is it not part of the green economy by offering ideal sustainability at its best? Armstrong gives a resounding “Yes!”
Hemp is a fibre that has many advantages over other materials. There are numerous merits to processing and then employing a hemp bio-composite.
“Compared to fiberglass, for the same performance, it’s 10 percent lighter and 20 percent less expensive (in the current market) which will swing further in the coming year. It’s also nice and healthy to work with.”
“It comes in mat form (kind of like) stiff cardboard. This is processed by the Alberta Research Council using essentially a paper-making process. It is all very green and low energy.”
It requires less heat and fewer chemicals to produce the fibres, and uses the natural energy of the sun for what it does need, as opposed to, say, a furnace. Instead, with natural hydro the process is clearly more environmentally friendly—a key point Armstrong and Motive Industries is making with the introduction of the Kestrel.
Armstrong adds that “The true cost of synthetic fibres isn’t known, as the whole industry is subsidized and based on huge economies of scale. To make fiberglass a massive furnace is needed and to make carbon fibre all sorts of nasty chemicals and acids are used—plus big furnaces. Natural fibres = seed+water+sunlight.”
In the past, our auto industry’s steel dependence existed largely because it was thought to be the strongest material to use in vehicle production. Hemp bio-composite’s specific merits may well alter this traditional thinking. It has the impact resistance of fiberglass, but its bio-composite is cheaper to produce and presents fewer health risks for workers. Armstrong confirms this.
“It’s not stronger than steel—not even close. It is tougher though, and will not dent. We use the material selectively to provide strength where we need it and aluminum for the main chassis structure. Steel has the stranglehold because of volume. Parts are quick to make. Composite parts are a bit more of an art form and production is slow (at least by Detroit standards).”
For electric-car manufacture, steel’s not exactly light-weight. To make ultra-efficient vehicles (obviously a desired feature) hemp bio-composite fits the need. Plastics are based on oil, and we know the challenges faced there. Composite materials, such as carbon fibre, present challenges both cost-wise and in terms of manufacturing and repair. Hemp solves these problems.
“First, you don’t want to get too light with a car. 2000 lbs is a good spot which works well for bio-composites. Through our research into very advanced materials (nano/crystalline/ceramics) we hope to increase the strength of natural fibres to the point at which they are truly competitive. Their advantage then will be low cost of entry and the ability to make advanced forms.”
It’s interesting to know from (e.g. a business start-up standpoint) that Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF), under license from the Canadian government, is behind this move in a more forward-thinking direction. “The government supports many programs that get a technology to a prototype phase. Any industry group can access these technologies given maturity and cash.”
Most people don’t know this, but the hemp that is turned into a composite material is grown “all over Alberta, B.C., and Manitoba” Armstrong explains. Motive Industries, however, chooses to source from Vegreville, Alberta (near Edmonton).
According to Armstrong, the reason that hemp for auto manufacture hasn’t taken off in a bigger way, considering it has been legal since 1996, is “lack of industry interest and vision.”
The reason this innovation hasn’t formed the baseline for next year’s electric car body shells is because, as Armstrong puts it, the “supply chain isn’t really in place— yet.”
That’s where we, the consumers, come in. It’s up to the people to make the demand for the supply chain. It’s obvious that the Kestrel will be influencing the future of electric-car building, but are there still stumbling blocks and wrongly-placed stigmas operating (a resistance to hemp use) preventing more companies from following suit? That stigma must be busted wide-open—through education.
Motive Industries Inc. is still working with the original scientists from the project in the testing procedures, so there is a good degree of follow-through and safety consistency. The timeline for delivery of the 20 Kestrels is fast-approaching—said to be Q2-3 next year. When asked which Calgary-based energy distribution company is to be the lucky inventory holder, Armstrong answered “I can’t say directly, but they’re the only deregulated utility.”
The car will be available “in Canada initially, then other countries. We’re working on distribution models with a few groups.”
The burning question for many is: Is it possible to be added to a wait-list? “Not yet,” says Armstrong. “We hope to put out a survey to generate public interest next year. You can fill out and help promote our existing survey though.” You got it.
For more information about the history of the industrial hemp campaign in Canada, start with the creative online booklet published by the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) in collaboration with the former leader of the Ontario Green Party at < HYPERLINK ""> For Ontario sources, try < HYPERLINK "">
Darren McKeage is the designer behind the car and you can read his vision for the car on the MII blog < HYPERLINK ""> It carries four passengers including driver, can speed up to 90 km/hr, and boasts a range is 40 to 160 kilometres before recharge is required. Depending on the type of battery, the better the battery the further the range. Battery technology hence is key to EV technology.

Taking Stalk of Hemp Paper
by Kristen Mann

The International Hempology 101 Society has provided me the opportunity to continue my post secondary education by sponsoring one course a semester for the last two years. This has not only encouraged me to continue working towards my goal of achieving a bachelor’s degree and enhanced my work with the Cannabis Buyers’ Club, but has also allowed me to integrate cannabis topics into my school papers. In this way, as a student, I can counter-educate my classmates and professors about the many uses of hemp and marijuana.
This semester I studied with the amazing Nancy Turner, learning about traditional uses of indigenous plants, as well as the importance of plant based technologies in general at the University of Victoria’s Department of Environmental Studies. She is a student of the world, and an inspirational teacher to many. When she was accepted into the Order of British Columbia she was credited as being “[... ]an internationally-distinguished scholar and scientist who has devoted her life to documenting the endangered knowledge of First Nation [...] and the critical role of plant resources for foods, medicines, and materials.”
I wrote this paper for an assignment on plant technologies, and I also made hemp paper from the dried stalks of Mountain Mint cannabis. Let me tell you, my kitchen that day sure smelled a lot better than your average paper mill.
According to a United Nations report in 2007, Between 3-6 million trees are cut down each year, globally, to support the paper industry. Throughout the world, paper has helped to advance civilizations from the Chinese to the Romans. Today we use paper for our assignments, tests, textbooks, notebooks, and coffee cups, not to mention toilet paper. Clark University estimates that each student and faculty member at their school uses 20 pounds of copy paper alone, every year. Despite most of the world’s current paper supply coming from trees, this is a recent development and there are many sources of possible paper fibre—including hemp (cannabis sativa). Although the final consumer product is similar between tree paper and hemp paper, the processing, history, cultural context, and economic viability of the two products differs substantially. I chose to make my paper out of hemp stalk and leaf.
Early Egyptians learned to weave together leaves and fibres and pound them flat to create papyrus, a paper like medium upon which to record knowledge and art. In 105 C.E., Ts’ai Lun used hemp and the bark of paper mulberry to construct a fine grade paper using a screen and water method. This is the method that I am modeling my project after. Europeans began a third method of paper pressing which involved pressing the paper sheets between heavy pieces of felt to dry and flatten them. These cultures, along with the ancient Greeks whom also record language (mostly on animal skins), are among the best preserved and understood ancient cultures.
Hemp played a crucial role in the advent and pervasion of paper into current society. As hemp spread across the Eurasian continent, so did the art of making paper. Increasing availability of paper allowed literacy to spread in both Asia and Europe. The printing press increased the accessibility of literacy, but the need for hemp was increasing on all fronts. Hemp fibres were being used for sails and rope for the navy, as well as cloth for uniforms. European countries were beginning to establish colonies in which to grow hemp.
One such colony, the United States of America, used hemp to forge its sovereignty. The founding fathers not only wrote the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, but also drafted their new constitution on it. For several years hemp was such an important crop that it could even be used to pay taxes.
In the 1860s, the development of commercial paper making began a transition from using annual plants such as hemp, flax, and cotton to make paper, to using trees as pulp. However, as early as 1916, the impact on forests was already showing. One U.S. Department of Agriculture Report noted that “There appears to be little doubt that under the present system of forest use and consumption the present supply can not withstand the demands placed upon it.” Despite the advent of paper recycling, and the current digitalization of information, the average North American currently usesmore paper than any other culture.
British Columbia supplies most of Canada’s pulp and paper industry. Forestry in B.C. is worth millions. Most of Vancouver Island’s old growth forests have now been destroyed, and pulp mills (now largely abandoned to outsourcing) dot the island. Despite laws in place to ensure the some of the harvested land is replanted, humanity will never be able to replicate a natural, healthy forest. Corporate interests favour mono-crops that are easily harvested over a diversified forest, and many culturally significant trees including birch and alder (as told in personal communication by Nancy Turner, October 12, 2010, story originally from Mary Thomas) are purposely killed in these replanted forests.
We needn’t use up carbon sinks like old growth forests to make paper. I made home made paper with the most basic of supplies and minimal cost. Using only the stick and leaf of the Cannabis sativa plant, blended with water, I made a sustainable paper. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper fibre as 4.1 acres of trees over a 20 year period.
This stalk was removed from the herb by hand from Cannabis at my work. I originally attempted to crush the leaf and stalk material using a rock, in a similar fashion to a mortal and pestle. This proved frustrating, so I used modern technology and threw about one part stalk to 3 parts water into a blender. The plants were originally allowed to rot (or rett) in the fields to break down some of the strong long fibres and leech out the green cellulose. Modern methods now boil the stalk with some sodium carbonate to break these down. I poured this solution, known as slurry, into a large tub. Using a screen stapled to a wooden frame, I slowly lifted my mould through the sedimented water trying to make sure I got an even distribution. I suspended the screens for a while to let most of the water drip out, then covered them with cheese cloth and dabbed with a sponge to remove more water. Next, I rested them near a heating vent to finish the drying process. I found that the screens were very course and not quite deep enough. This made it difficult to get an even thickness to the paper.
This method caused the paper to bind to the screens, and was near impossible to remove. I then watched an instructional video on YouTube, and learned that the paper must be removed from the screen before drying completely. I tried using a finer grade screen, more like a silk screen, for the next batches. This screen was removable from the frame which made transferring the damp paper easier. These two changes vastly improved the quality of the paper, as well as the ease in removing it from the screen.
Clark University. 2005 Report on Use of Paper, accessed November 2, 2010 HYPERLINK “”
Flowers, Diane 2009 Handmade Paper from Naturals. New York: Prolific Impressions Inc.
Grummer, Arnold. YouTube HYPERLINK “”
Herer, Jack 2007 The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Van Nuys, CA: Ah Ha Publishing
Merrill, Jason L. 1916 United Stated Department of Agriculture. Bulletin No. 404 The Manufacture of Paper from Hemp Hurds. Washington: Department of Agriculture Professional Paper
HYPERLINK “” accessed November 2, 2010
United Nations. 2007 State of the World’s Forests Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

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