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Cannabis Digest issue 28

By admin | April 14, 2011

Cannabis Digest Issue 28

Page 3
Cookie Trial
Page 4
Updates, Warnings, Suggestions
Page 5
Publisher’s Note
Page 6
Canada Votes
Page 8
North Island Club Raided
Page 10
UK Update
Page 13
Product Development
Page 14-15
Team 420
Page 16
John Anderson Interview
Page 18
Industrial Hemp Farming
Page 20
Mexican Drug War
Page 22
Dana Larsen Interview
Page 23
Justice Matters
Page 24
Just Jakes Gets Hempy
Member Profile
Page 24
The Hicks
Hemp Clothes

Cookie Trial to Commence in May

By Ted Smith
Beginning on May 19 and 20 with the preliminary inquiry, the bakery trial of the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada is bound to set precedent and determine federal policies. We need your help, to use this opportunity, to educate the public about the benefits of eating or topically applying cannabis for various medical needs. There are many things that you can do, whether you are a member of the club or not.
Sending letters and making phone calls to the local media when the preliminary inquiry is being held will convince them that the public is interested in the subject, and that at the very least they should be covering the trial. If an error or omission is made in reporting, we need people from far and wide to tell the news agency that their ignorance is inexcusable. Getting extensive media coverage of this trial is very important, as each report increases the public’s knowledge of the medical uses of cannabis, the efforts of our club, and the failures of Health Canada’s medical cannabis program.
Anyone hoping to get a seat in court should show up early. In fact, it is our hope that far more people come to watch than can fit into any courtroom in Victoria. Several local activists plan to stand outside of the courthouse on Blanshard St. with signs and banners expressing their support for legalization and frustration with the current laws.
At 1 pm, on both May 19 and 20, we will also be having a barbeque on the back lawn of the Victoria courthouse, serving up 101 free hemp burgers to supporters who come to help support the club. Cannabis seeds contain all eight essential fatty acids and amino acids in the perfect ratio necessary to sustain life, making it the healthiest food source on the planet. Many of the world’s food and energy problems would be solved if people could grow cannabis for seed.
While it might seem like we are kicking off the festivities before we have something to celebrate, there are many reasons to make a big scene around the courthouse on May 19 and 20, when the bakery trial is getting started. Instead of fearing the court system, we want to show the world that the cannabis community is tired of hiding and ready to make a stand. In many ways this epic battle was inevitable.
The CBC of C has been very proud to develop 29 cannabis food and skin products, many of which are unique to our club. Properly making these medicines creates a wonderful smell that can easily spread through a building and expose a cook to complaints. We were looking for a different location for the bakery, having already been kicked out of two other apartments for smelling the place up.
Complaints of smell and music from neighbours in the downtown apartment building, which housed the club’s bakery, led police to the door on Dec. 3, 2009. After answering the door, Owen Smith was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking THC, and possession for the purpose of trafficking cannabis.
In a surprise move, the crown, Peter Ecceles, has subpoenaed my partner, Gayle Quin. While there is some concern the crown may be trying to get her to incriminate herself in the activities, it is much more likely they are hoping to simply use her evidence to prove Owen had intent to distribute the cookies, oils, and other products found in the fridge. At the very least we hope her testimony will result in the return of the jars of extra virgin olive oil infused with arnica, St. Johns Wort, and comfrey that was seized along with the cannabis-infused butters and oils in the fridge.
Defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw should have plenty of evidence to convince the judge that a 20 day jury trial will be necessary to get through the opening statements, testimony of members of the club, expert witnesses, and closing arguments. Even though the 20 day jury trial is not expected to happen sooner than the fall of 2011, fundraising to cover the anticipated bill of $100,000 has already started. So far we have raised $10,000 with art auctions, parties, and donations. Usually people are afraid of going to court, but that is not the case here. There are significant problems with the current regime, and it seems the only regulatory changes made are reactions to court decisions.
There are many reasons the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations should be found unconstitutional. There are significant problems with people not being able to gain access to the program, since the vast majority of doctors refuse to sign the forms due to fear of harassment from Health Canada and other professional organizations, or ignorance of the benefits of the herb.
The core issue on trial will be whether THC should be included in the MMAR. Currently, the MMAR authorizes people to grow and smoke cannabis, but if the patient produces resin or extract the cannabinoids from the plant material in any manner before consuming it, they have made an illegal drug. This includes cooking cannabis into butter and extracting it with a cheese-cloth, or sifting the dry plant over a screen to make kief hash.
Synthetic THC, sold as Marinol or Dronabinol, has been available in Canada since 1986. According to Burns & Ineck (2006), “Dronabinol is known to produce mild side effects similar to cannabis. Many scientists believe that Dronabinol lacks the beneficial properties of cannabis, which contains more than 60 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), thought to be the major anticonvulsant that helps multiple sclerosis patients; and cannabichromene (CBC), an anti-inflammatory which may contribute to the pain-killing effect of cannabis. Others have countered that the effects of all of cannabis’s cannabinoids have not been completely studied and are not fully understood.”
For many, the side effects of using synthetic THC are much more dramatic than edible natural THC, while the medical benefits are minimized by removing other important cannabinoids and the essential oils, in pharmaceutical versions. Each strain of cannabis has a unique combination of these chemicals, which means that different plants will generate different mental and physical reactions from a patient. It also means that each person will react somewhat differently to the same strain due to their unique mental and physical needs.
There are several reasons why synthetic THC is not as useful, for many patients, as edible whole plant cannabis products, or the common practice of inhaling. These disadvantages include increased cost, negative side effects, minimized benefit, unpleasant taste, dietary needs, and the delay of absorption. There is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest THC works best in combination with the other chemicals naturally available in the plant, and that medicines made from cannabis compliment other plant medicines when used together. As Wikipedia notes,
“It takes over one hour for Marinol to reach full systemic effect, compared to minutes for smoked or vaporized cannabis. Some patients accustomed to inhaling just enough cannabis smoke to manage symptoms have complained of too-intense intoxication from Marinol’s predetermined dosages. Many patients have said that Marinol produces a more acute psychedelic effect than cannabis, and it has been speculated that this disparity can be explained by the moderating effect of the many non-THC cannabinoids present in cannabis.” Mark Kleiman, director of Drug Policy Analysis Program at UCLA stated, “It wasn’t any fun and made the user feel bad, so it could be approved without any fear that it would penetrate the recreational market, and then used as a club with which to beat back the advocates of whole cannabis as a medicine.”
Pharmaceutical companies are quite aware of the problems associated with synthetic THC. In fact, they made sure it did not make people feel good so it would not be used as a recreational drug. These companies make money by selling different pills for different problems, considering side effects to be opportunities to develop new drugs. They avoid investment in drugs that cure because healthy people do not generate profits for drug companies. For drug companies to intentionally minimize the benefits a plant has to offer because it might make people feel too good, goes against everything that our health care system was meant for in the first place. Proving the benefits of whole cannabis plant medicines over synthetic THC in court and to the public is a very important part of these proceedings.
Pressure is mounting on Health Canada, from several directions, to include cannabis resin and THC in the MMAR. For many people smoking is either not preferable or maybe even possible. There is even a place on the forms to check off if you are consuming cannabis as an edible, but they do not tell patients that if they strain the plant material out they have become a criminal. Other patients contest that hash is best for them, as the elimination of the plant material makes the smoke smooth, and cuts down on how much they need to smoke. So while none of these issues will be settled at the preliminary inquiry on May 19 and 20, the stage will be set for a battle between whole plant cannabis medicines versus synthetic drugs. This is a battle we firmly believe we can win in court. To maximize the beneficial impacts this trial will have upon the Canadian medical system we need your help. Write letters, make signs, help with the barbeque, come witness the trial, or get out in the street with us. Perhaps you can talk someone you know into doing it with us. We cannot afford to wait for politicians to make responsible policy decisions regarding the medical uses of cannabis. The bakery trial will give our club a chance to use the courts to help form public policy, and establish our services as a necessary part of the health care system.


By Gayle Quin
Thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback on our paper and articles. Sometimes I wonder…but then the papers keep disappearing!
Thanks to everyone for their help, encouragement, and patience through all the renovations of late. I never dreamed “the box” would morph into something so wonderful. We turned the speakers into the room, and it sounded like we were in the Buena Vista Social Club! Thank you very much Ted. We are trying to make a bunch of changes to help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of having a storefront by hosting a Pot-Luck Party on Apr. 1. No, it’s not a prank and if you missed it then you will have to come next year, though it is member + date event only. Do not worry, Ted knows he’s only got until noon to get his jokes in. Hmm, I wonder if I’ll get it together to make a pineapple upside-down cake…
The Club’s 15th Anniversary Pot-Luck Party was very well attended. We had three separate waves of guests arrive, with an incredible assortment of mostly vegetarian delights, and a fresh home made Halibut soup. The house was full, and so was everyone in it, for the whole evening. Thanks to all who participated. Watch the white board for up-coming events.
After all the months of standing on street corners, in Victoria and across the country (well, as far as Ontario), waving banners and flags, wondering if there was an opposition side to our government, the Liberal Party has finally found a voice and is standing up to the Conservative Party and Bill S-10. Let us not become complacent now though; please write, phone and e-mail the Liberal Party in your riding and in Ottawa and thank them and encourage them to continue with their opposition. Let them know your opinion on medical cannabis, too. They can’t help you if they haven’t heard from you. A big thanks to everyone who helped with the street meets, phone jams, email campaigns, and other fight S-10 activities. Now that an election has been called, we need all parties to recognize that this is a major issue to Canadians.
Health Canada is still waging a war on plants. Starting with pulling herbs from your local herbalist’s shelves, and now by trying to class Salvia (a non-addictive psycho-active plant) as a Schedule 3 drug, making it illegal to possess and use. At this rate dandelions and non-GMO roses will be next—and I’m not joking!
We have had many submissions to the colouring contest, and I’m glad you’re all enjoying colouring. Kristen and I had the great honour of meeting Jack Herer a couple of years ago at Hempfest, in Seattle. Jack was recovering from a massive stroke that had left him paralyzed on the left half of his body. He was using Cannabis and colouring as his therapeutic tools to recovery, and was doing a tremendous job of it. You can read more about his wonderful life in Cannabis Digest issue #25. The entries are on Hempology 101’s forums for all to view.
Don’t forget to check out the forums if you can’t make it to events, as we try to post video and photos of them later. It’s the best way to keep track of Ted and the group, and if you jump on “The Magic Bus,” you can join us for a live chat.
The 1st Annual Cannabis Convention at the University of British Columbia (UBC) went better than hoped. It was very well attended, with a packed room for most of the day. Everyone was very excited to be there, with folks coming from places like Kelowna, the Gulf Islands, and as far away as Calgary. Many new friendships started to bloom, as seems this plant encourages. The UBC students have continued to have weekly Hempology 101 meetings on Mondays. I was also blessed with meeting some people who have been using our recipe book as a base for experimenting and creating exciting new medicinal products. It is the ultimate compliment to be imitated and as a teacher—I feel fulfilled at work every day. We can hardly wait until next year! In fact, some us can’t, and Ted and I have been invited to, and will be holding, the 1st Annual Cannabis Convention at the UBC Kelowna Campus, in Oct. I am gratefully honoured.
Hempology 101 celebrated International Medical Marijuana Week for the first year the week of Feb. 13-20. It started with the annual cookie giveaway, and we couldn’t have been blessed with a nicer day. I think it’s everyone’s favourite day; if you couldn’t make it out, there’s a short clip on our web page. Herb most certainly had fun! It’s going to feel very strange this Nov…Our 7th Annual Art Auction raised $700 toward the legal defence fund. The donated art was more incredible than ever, and the auction was held at the Club as well the Rising Star Bakery on Broad St. The bidding at the club was as heated as usual, nearing closing time. The next Silent Art Auction will be happening sooner rather than later, as the Solstice Cafe has kindly offered space on their walls to hold a Fund raiser/Information booth for a month beginning in the middle of Apr. Hope to see you there! The week ended with my personal favourite day of the year, our Annual Cannabis Convention. Thanks to Dan, folks on-line were able to join us; and thanks to Steve, for those who couldn’t make it out or just want to watch if again, may do so on our web page. This year’s speakers were particularly exciting, with Ted and author Chris Bennett debating Soma and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We ended the eight day, nine event week, with a dance at the Sunset Room. And a joyful event it was.
Of all the things Ted and I get up to, absolutely nothing is as important as the time spent in court, for that is where change will occur. Also, with the wonderful Medical Marijuana Access Division in place, the same government that claims to be helping medical users of cannabis, are still putting (or trying to put) such wonderful people as Owen, Ted, Bill and Ernie, as well as others in Quebec and Ontario, into jail every day. I will not quit until this marvelous plant, and all the beautiful people I have come to know and love, no longer have to live in fear of persecution for want of an herb, and no one has to suffer a second for want of a cookie. So please rest up, and if you cannot make it to anything else, come to our court appearance. There will be many days of court, so don’t think you have to make all the dates, but please come to as many as possible. The Crown Prosecution must be shown how many people have their daily lives affected by this plant. Love and laughter to all, Gayle.


Ted Smith
Time to get in the game, herb lovers!
Seriously, if you believe cannabis should be legal then it is time for you to do something about it. Most people feel alienated from the political structures that created prohibition and are reluctant to become involved in letter writing campaigns, street rallies, or fundraising. Instead of getting involved in politics, it would be easier for most people to bring their message out at sports events they already attend.
Anyone can be a Team 420 cheerleader. If you are a fan already, it does not take any special skill or much effort to wear a cannabis t-shirt when you are going out to an amateur or professional sport event.
These are perfect occasions to show off your favourite pot t-shirt to other people, getting people to laugh, think, and talk about the herb. Buttons, patches, and hats proudly displaying a leaf can help you make new friends that are interested in the same sport.
Public displays of the cannabis leaf are becoming more common. This is wearing down opposition to legalization. When people who do not use the herb see cannabis enthusiasts proudly wearing the leaf, they can not help but feel their tax dollars are getting dumped down the drain in the failed attempt to suppress this weed.
For smokers already involved in amateur athletics there are several ways to help the cause. Even if you can not tell your coach and teammates, you can at least brag to your friends that you are in good shape and can still perform as well—or better—than non-smokers. Prove that smoking cannabis does not hurt one’s ability to run long distances, swim fast, or throw a ball accurately. Teammates, coaches, medics, fans, family, friends, teachers, and skeptics can be very helpful in changing negative opinions of the herb.
While many are active in sports through school, few carry on to play team sports or participate in individual athletic competitions later in life. This is very unfortunate, as being active ensures you will be able to enjoy a multitude of physical endeavours, encourages healthy eating patterns, and builds a sense of community. Traveling to new places to play or watch games is a great way to meet others who have made similar lifestyle choices.
Being open about your cannabis use at these events is generally safe, in part because you are not in your home town where employers, neighbours, family, and others you may want to keep your herb use from, might see you. Moreover, being open about your love of the herb at sports gatherings could lead to new connections, new places to smoke pot, and new strains to try. It might be too much of a risk to take cannabis and smoke it at one of these events, but wearing a pot t-shirt while warming up or at the closing ceremonies will bring a smile to many faces.
Athletes really appreciate it when their friends come to events to cheer them on and enjoy the festivities. Road trips with teams can give you a chance to check out head shops and hemp stores where you can investigate new products, find out about upcoming gatherings, and meet cool people working in herb friendly environments. It also gives you a chance to help spread the word about current cannabis news and events that you are concerned about, while leaving a faint smell of herb along the way.
Though you may not feel confident enough to enter into a competition alone, getting a bunch of old school friends, who you used to smoke herb with, back together to play in a baseball or curling tournament could be a blast. If you cannot afford Team 420 shirts, perhaps you could get a local head shop to sponsor you. Coming up with your own team name and logo is even more fun. For example, Owen Smith (no relation) played soccer in a local league with a bunch of buddies when they graduated from high school—calling themselves “The Blazers.”
Cannabis prohibition continues, despite wide public support for legalization, because our fear of exposure to police and other zealous drug war crusaders has lead to a fear of strangers. This has led people to cut their hair, dress like actors on TV sitcoms, and go to other extraordinary measures just to hide their use and love of the herb. If everyone in North America who believed in legalization wore a pot t-shirt on the same day, the absurdity of these policies would be apparent to everyone with their eyes open.
For cannabis lovers not interested in politics, coming out of the closet at sporting events and competitions might be the perfect opportunity to make a strong statement about the herb, without saying anything at all. Make it “no big deal” that you are the only pot team in the beer league. After all, Team 420 is about having fun,first and foremost, and life should be fun—shouldn’t it? So what are you waiting for? Game on. GO TEAM 420!

EDITORIAL: Growing From Seed

Andrew Brown
So here we are watching as nuclear reactors leak radiation, facing one of the worst years of global food production, with soaring fuel and energy prices, and corporate hands reaching through our governments creating Orwellian laws that defy sanity. It’s hard to be optimistic with all of the chaos around us.
I find myself torn between being rabidly informed on everything going on, to wanting to shut it out of my life. The reality is that neither would do much good. Being actively involved in making change is all that we can do, but this of course means that change must first come from within.
We can see the cannabis/hemp plant as a metaphor for the changes we are seeing, and take the wisdom of the plant and apply it to humanity. Plants need the same basic things as humans to grow—sun light, water, food, and air—and if any of these necessities are compromised, the health of the plant is also. But, the cannabis plant is one of the strongest, most resilient plants on the planet. It is being used near Chernobyl to aid in cleaning up the polluted soil—growing tall on the bed of man’s folly. We need to stand tall and grow from our mistakes, leaving blame and resentment as nothing but the contaminants we are leaching from the soil.
It’s hard to create change, but by surrounding ourselves with people who have the same goals and values we are able to empower each other, and grow our network. Sharing our knowledge helps to plant seeds which will eventually grow and reproduce themselves.
One of the first things I learned while getting further involved in cannabis activism is that the plant represents so much more than the “right” to get high. It’s about freedom. It’s about flushing the corruption that has plague the planet for so many years. It’s about working together and seeing our own flaws and working those out. It’s about learning to respect everybody and everything on the same level. It’s about humility. No wonder the governing system is afraid; it threatens the very core of their superficial value system whose teeth have been tearing into us for so long. As their control slips, they tighten up their reign with tougher laws, and further reaching enforcement. But as long as we keep our seeds alive, spreading and sowing them—leading by example—the more people will taste them. And they will like them.
We’ve been watching as a handful of very wealthy people control and manipulate us, while compromising the very resources that keep us alive. Their favorite tool is fear, and if we replace that fear within us with a willingness to work together and an acceptance of our differences, they will become powerless. It is key that we do not support people that support the tyranny, and build from the garden outwards.
Hemp will save the world.

A May Vote–Remember Your ABCs

By Amie Gravell
Coming May 2, 2011. Canada will undergo its fourth election in seven years. Whatever one believes about the worth of another election, we can remain on the positive side and choose to see it as a chance to effect a more likable change in our leadership than last election (which of course was no change). Elections should move us towards what we want, or at least (for most people in Canada it seems) away from what we do not want. The most important thing to do is vote, and get your friends and family to vote as well. Voter turnout has been steadily decreasing since 1979—in the 2008 election, only 58.8 percent of people cast their votes. Almost half of Canadians didn’t vote, which means that your vote is worth almost double if we trust statistics. So be sure to vote. You can find out where to vote, how to vote, if you’re registered to vote, and what candidates are in your area by going to This website is operated by the Government of Canada, and has countless other resources not mentioned.
Canada has 19 registered political parties, many of them don’t have candidates in most ridings—you can find out about them at For simplicity’s sake, we’ll go over the main ones: The Conservative Party, The Liberal Party, The NDP, and The Green Party. (We’ve left out the Bloc Québécois because geographical constraints focus their attention on the eastern side of the country.) We’ll also cover the Marijuana Party of Canada, for obvious reasons.
The Conservative Party of Canada, lead by Stephen Harper, is notoriously unfriendly to marijuana users. They don’t seem to see the difference between various types of drugs and choose to lump marijuana users into the same category as users of heroin, crystal meth, and other hard drugs. In addition to their poor view of marijuana users, the Conservative Party (perhaps because it views marijuana as a “hard” drug akin to heroin) seems to view marijuana legalization as the legalization of all drugs. Cannabis users should feel targeted by the Conservative Party—and that is not a case of paranoia. The Conservative Party’s drug policy rarely mentions drugs other than marijuana and includes mandatory minimum prison sentences, national awareness campaigns, and specifically shooting down any attempt to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.
The Liberal Party of Canada, lead by Michael Ignatieff, doesn’t spell out its drug policy in a single place that is easy to access. However, the Liberals have many positive actions towards marijuana reform that cannot be overlooked. Most recently, Liberals opposed bill S-10, which would have put countless individuals in jail with a mandatory minimum prison sentence for a handful of marijuana plants. They did this because of mounting prison costs and a lack of differentiation between “hardened criminals” and misguided youth. The Liberal Party has also brought forth decriminalization on their agenda. Though nothing has been said recently, in Sept. 2010, Ignatieff told a crowd of people that his party would bring back a bill to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of under 15 grams of cannabis and replace them with fines. While this isn’t everyone’s pipe dream, it is a step (albeit a small one) in the right direction.
The NDP Party, lead by Jack Layton, also opposed Bill S-10, for different reasons than the Liberal Party did. The NDP has stated that they oppose policy that mirrors the failed “war on drugs” style U.S. inspired legislation. Time has yet to tell whether the NDP will make marijuana reform part of their platform for this election, though they included it in their 2004 platform, it was excluded in both 2006 and 2008. However, the NDP has demonstrated that they do know the difference between crystal meth and marijuana. The only sad thing about the NDP’s policy on marijuana is that it ends up coming out discombobulated sometimes. The NDP runs into problems expressing its drug policy because the party isn’t always on the same page for a variety of reasons: wishing greater appeal to a wider demographic, personal opinion, and likely a small amount of fear.
The Conservative Party often uses their opponent’s policy on drugs as a campaign tactic against them. Though both the Liberal Party and the NDP Party do seem committed to (at least) not continuing on the path that the United States has laid out in the “war on drugs,” there is a level of political uncertainty to out right supporting marijuana (for some reason). Both parties seem unwilling to completely come out with a definitive positive position on marijuana, but it should be acknowledged that the NDP is far more progressive towards marijuana reform than the Liberal Party.
The Green Party, lead by Elizabeth May, has previously shown itself to be both well educated on marijuana and looked toward positive marijuana reform. Though there are disagreements between members of the party about marijuana reform, as there are in all parties regarding all issues, the party as a whole has remained committed to ending the war on drugs with a legalization, regulation, education and taxation model. Whether ending the war on drugs will hit the Green Party campaign platform for the 2011 election or not, only time will tell.
Finally, the Marijuana Party, lead by M. Blair T. Longley. The most progressive party by far on marijuana reform. Whether that has anything to do with the absence of other issues on their platform or not isn’t exactly what we’re looking into with this article. The Marijuana Party has come out in strong opposition to bill S-10 (previously Bill C-15). The party’s policies are short and sweet: Legalize marijuana, legalize revolution. Both policies are easy to get behind, but it seems harder to commit to voting for, as the Marijuana Party gets less than one percent of the popular vote.
Paying attention to voting trends is crucial to strategic voting, which is a method of choosing a local candidate based on which national party you wish to keep from winning. There are merits to strategic voting, but it requires research into the voting trends in your area. If the party most likely to win more seats nationally than your desired ‘loser party’ doesn’t have a strong candidate in your riding, it will not do much strategic good to vote for that party. Example: In the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding, there is little to no Liberal presence, but a strong run between the NDP and the Conservative Party. Voting for a Liberal candidate (sometimes not actually present) would do little to help one’s efforts if they wished either that the NDP or Conservative Parties would lose.
Strategic voting is not idealistic, but it is a tactic that many resort to. It brings forth many issues though. Not the least of which, what if you like your local candidate, but hate their party? This is a problem with Canadian politics that should someday be addressed. There is no simple answer. Your choices are your choices, the only thing that you can do is be as informed as possible about your decision.
Happy voting, and don’t let the election season get you down.

North Island Compassion Club–Raided!

By Barbara Biley
The RCMP raided the North Island Compassion Club in Courtenay on Feb. 18. Five people were held for several hours while the Club was searched. Two people, Ernie Yacub and Bill Myers, have been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The raid was conducted exactly eleven days after a local RCMP spokesperson told Courtenay City Council that there had been a 62 percent decrease in the number of local drug trafficking crimes. He also reported that drug production and drug possession offences were down substantially. In a written report quoted in the Comox Valley Echo, RCMP spokesperson Tom Gray stated “The dramatic drop in drug trafficking offences has occurred due to the ongoing investigation of two major, higher-level drug trafficking organizations that were conducted through 2010.”
Why raid the Compassion Club and seize the product used medicinally by its over 200 members?
Is the Compassion Club a clandestine drug-trafficking criminal gang?
The North Island Compassion Club was founded about 10 years ago to provide safe, reliable, high quality medicinal cannabis to local members, in a safe environment. It currently has 230 members, and is a provincially registered non-profit society. Membership is available only to individuals who provide proof on an application form (or facsimile) signed by their doctor which identifies their medical condition. Members are prohibited from re-selling what they purchase. The club provides marijuana or other products (oil, hash, cookies) to its members only.
The Directors have kept the local RCMP informed of the existence and location of the club since its founding. The Club does not grow marijuana, rather purchases it from local small-scale growers and sells to its members at a markup of 20 percent to cover costs.
Is it clandestine? Members, constantly under the threat of harassment because of the contradictory nature of public policy, do not broadcast their membership. On one hand, the Health Canada hand, it is acknowledged that they use marijuana for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, the police and courts hand, what they are doing is illegal.
What to do? The medication relieves pain, helps other conditions and allows many to stop harming themselves with narcotics and organ-destroying pharmaceuticals, so they get the doctor’s authorization, sign up, and visit the club to purchase. And they know that every time they do so they are breaking the law.
The contradiction between social acceptance and medical efficacy and “law and order” has resulted in several court cases. Organizations like the North Island Compassion Club mushroomed following the decision of an Ontario Court in 1997, in the case of a Charter Challenge brought by Terry Parker, an Ontario man who used grew and used marijuana to control seizures. In that case, Judge Patrick Sheppard ruled that certain sections of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act are unconstitutional in cases where marijuana is used for medically-approved purposes. In part, he stated, “It is ordered that (sections of the narcotics laws outlawing cultivation and possession) be read down so as to exempt from its ambit persons possessing or cultivating cannabis (marijuana) for their personal medically approved use.” The Court of Appeal for Ontario (in a judgement upholding Sheppard’s ruling which the Crown had appealed) stated, “I agree with the Crown that this is a matter for Parliament. Accordingly, I would declare the prohibition on the possession of marihuana in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to be of no force and effect. However, since this would leave a gap in the regulatory scheme until Parliament could amend the legislation to comply with the Charter, I would suspend the declaration of invalidity for a year.”
In other words, the court gave the federal government a year to bring the laws regarding possession of marijuana into compliance with the Charter.
This is not a new issue
This issue has been addressed before. The debate over criminalization of those who use marijuana has been going on for decades, in the courts and in Parliament, with little result. The first serious challenge was “The Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs – 1972,” (Le Dain Commission), which recommended the decriminalization of possession of marijuana.
From the report:
“The costs to a significant number of individuals, the majority of whom are young people, and to society generally, of a policy of prohibition of simple possession are not justified by the potential for harm of cannabis and the additional influence which such a policy is likely to have upon perception of harm, demand and availability. We, therefore, recommend the repeal of the prohibition against the simple possession of cannabis.”…..
“The costs of the criminal law prohibition of cannabis which are generally referred to include the following: (1) the effect of criminal conviction, particularly on young people; (2) encouraging the development of an illicit market, with possible involvement of organized crime; (3) obliging people to engage in crime or at least to deal with criminal types to supply themselves with the drug; (4) exposing people to other, more dangerous, drugs by forcing them to have contact with traffickers who handle a variety of drugs; (5) encouraging the development of a deviant subculture; (6) undermining the credibility of drug education, and in particular, information about more dangerous drugs; (7) the use of extraordinary methods of enforcement; (8) creating disrespect for law and law enforcement generally; (9) diverting our law enforcement resources from more important tasks; and (10) adversely affecting the morale of law enforcement authorities.”
The LeDain commission report was largely ignored by the federal government and between 1972 and 1997 growing and possession marijuana were criminal acts.
Since 1997, to comply with the Parker ruling, the government has given a sort of back-handed consent. The Health Canada website states: “Marijuana has not been approved as a therapeutic product in Canada or anywhere else in the world. The safety and usefulness of marijuana for medical uses has not been clearly and scientifically established. Canada does however, have a program that allows seriously ill persons residing in Canada to possess marihuana for their own medical use. Under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), people can be authorized to possess a specific amount of marihuana and can be licensed to grow their own marihuana or designate someone else to grow it for them.”
So, Health Canada does not “approve” marijuana for medicinal use but will issue you a license to possess, use, and/or grow.
Health Canada and Medical Marijuana
The MMAR has been problematic from the start—beset with red tape, providing poor quality marijuana, and keeping patients in a constant state of fear of arrest and scrutiny. Most doctors are reluctant to support patients who find relief from cannabis, with few doctors in the Comox Valley willing to sign an MMAR application. Originally, patients with licenses were forced to purchase a poor quality product from Health Canada. In 2008, the regulations were changed to allow patients to grow their own or have a licensed grower grow for them. Currently, since 2009, the regulations allow a licensed grower to grow for more than one but not more than two people with licenses to possess. Applications take eight to 10 weeks to process and should there be even a small technical error in the application, the process starts all over again after the error is corrected.
Licensing does not end the stigma or the threat of prosecution. Many actually believe that licensing is akin to being registered with the police, making them even more likely targets of police scrutiny. Many consider it not worth the hassle to get licensed. They answer the “what to do?” question by joining the compassion club so they don’t have to buy from drug dealers on the street—whose last concern is their health.
Turning patients into criminals
In a local newspaper article, published on Mar. 4, a strong inference was made that the raid on the compassion club was part of the law and order agenda of the RCMP. The article reported on a home invasion in Cumberland in which a man was beaten and “two or three people” demanded money, and which the police believed to be drug related. It was noted that police were going to deal with the “drug culture” in the village, 13 km from Courtenay, by “cracking down on street level drug crime.” The newspaper reported: “(police) will be arresting and investigating small-time drug traffickers and lower-level dealers first. The compassion club is one of the organizations police have targeted.” Aside from the irresponsibility of the journalism, the police statements clearly show the targeting and criminalization of the compassion club and its members, without any charges being heard.
The law and order agenda of the Harper government included attempts to increase penalties for possession, including an automatic six months in jail for possession of six plants.
The message is clear—the government is hell bent on increasing its penalization of those who use marijuana and considers the MMAR little more than a nuisance required by the courts. It offers no protection and a constant threat of persecution, if not prosecution, for users of medical marijuana.

Noddy’s Update From the UK

By Mark Knowles
Well, it looks like Britain is in a cannabis spin—again. After what looked like a successful trip to Holland and back for U.K. medpot users under the Schengen agreement:
article 75 1. As regards the movement of travelers to the territories of the Contracting Parties or their movement within these territories, persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority of their State of residence.
You must be a resident of the country prescribing the medicine—herbal cannabis. So the Schengen agreement works throughout the E.U., except in Britain! So you can not go to Holland from Britain, see a doctor and bring back medicine, unless the Home Office gives out importation licenses—which they wont.This must breach some kind of equality or human rights law, after all the U.K. is a member state of the E.U.
As well as within E.U. states, I believe people from outside the E.U. can come to Britain with their cannabis prescribed medication and not fear prosecution from the authorities.
So there is no cannabis compliance in the U.K., except for pharmaceutical cannabis Sativex, which passed MHAR and is now classed as having medical efficacy.Therefore, cannabis should be rescheduled from a schedule 1—a drug which has no medical benefit—which opens the door to medical necessity, which courts have denied is a defence, since 2005.
U.K. PM David Cameron didn’t do himself any favours during his recent Al Jazeera interview when he was asked about legalization of cannabis, and cannabis as a medicine.
“That is a matter for the science and medical authorities to determine and they are free to make independent determinations about that.” He said.
Complete nonsense and spin. Look at what happened to Prof. Nutt—sacked from the ACMD (Advisory Council Misuse of Drugs) for telling the truth about the lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of the government’s drug policy. Government policies over peoples health and freedoms is disgusting in this day and age.
With all the science and research coming out regarding the medical efficacy of cannabis, the powers that be can’t keep up their myths, lies, and misinformation to the public. The public should get what the public wants, so more people need to be educated with the truth, and see through the governments propaganda.
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance has changed back from pressure group to political party—time for change.
Just found some enlightening news about a defence to simple possession in Britain (thanks JD). In the U.K., there is a defence for the possession of cannabis under section 5(4) of the MDA 1971. If you are stopped by a police officer and you are in possession of cannabis because you had taken the cannabis from someone to “prevent them committing an offence,” then you will legally be in possession.
Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, s.5
5. Restriction of possession of controlled drugs
4) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2) above in which it is proved that the accused had a controlled drug in his possession, it shall be a defence for him to prove
(a) that, knowing or suspecting it to be a controlled drug, he took possession of it for the purpose of preventing another from committing or continuing to commit an offence in connection with that drug and that as soon as possible after taking possession of it he took all such steps as were reasonably open to him to destroy the drug or to deliver it into the custody of a person lawfully entitled to take custody of it; or
(b) that, knowing or suspecting it to be a controlled drug, he took possession of it for the purpose of delivering it into the custody of a person lawfully entitled to take custody of it and that as soon as possible after taking possession of it he took all such steps as were reasonably open to him to deliver it into the custody of such a person.
This sort of information should be printed on calling cards for cannabis users in Britain.
Other recent good news is that the retired professor who said cannabis was one of the “safer” recreational drugs has taken over as chairman of the government’s drugs advisory panel. Professor Les Iversen,a pharmacology specialist, has replaced David Nutt who was sacked from the home secretary for criticizing the reclassification of cannabis from a class C to class B drug.
In an article from 2003, he wrote that cannabis had been “incorrectly” classified as a dangerous drug for nearly 50 years and said it was one of the “safer” recreational drugs.
“I think cannabis for the time being is past history,” said Professor Iversen, who also said much more active attention was currently being paid to so-called legal highs such as mephedrone—which should never have been prohibited, as there was no trace in the two people who allegedly died from it’s use. I wouldn’t take it, but if i were to, I’d rather be able to go to a reputable head shop than a street dealer. Again prohibition is pushing the black market with crap, as kids will now be forced to use dealers, not head shops. Where’s the logic in that?
Prof. Nutt is setting up an independent drugs panel to rival the ACMD.
Since the sacking of Prof. Nutt, Prof. Iversen, formerly of Oxford, has chaired the council’s meetings. Apparently, the appointment of Prof. Iversen appeared to be an attempt by the Home Office to restore calm to the advisory council after a “turbulent few months.” Home Secretary Johnson agreed to write to panel members to explain any decisions that went against their advice. You would think they would accept advice, not decide against it! Also, he said he would not pre-judge decisions on drug classification ahead of the committee issuing advice, although the ACMD has pretty much slowed down, due to the row.
Prof. Nutt will hold the first meeting of his new Independent Council on Drug Harms in the very near future, with five current government advisers in attendance.
Let’s see if this year’s fresh push on legalization in Britain can make a difference. One aim, one goal—end prohibition’s legal-lies….

Advanced Product Developments

By Owen Smith
In the last article, I discussed Rick Simpson and who help spread the message of a cannabis cure for cancer, through the internet, to anybody willing to take the necessary risks. Although Rick has appeared on the scene fairly recently, and his work is a modern revelation, the technique he uses has been well known for some time. Otherwise known as “honey oil,” this process concentrates the cannabinoids by slowly reducing the plant matter in a solvent solution (i.e. alcohol). Honey oil is commonly smoked in a pipe on a bed of ashes or smeared across a rolling paper, producing a powerful impact that can last many hours. The Rick Simpson revelation was that to treat serious medical conditions, you have to eat this gooey extract or apply it directly to the skin.
In an ongoing attempt to provide products for the diverse needs of their membership, medical dispensaries are exploring the many possible ways to help your cannabis digest—from tinctures and pills to drinks, incense and essential oils. The exploration of medical cannabis products is an ancient art making a rapid comeback in our day.
In the late nineteenth century, Cannabis tinctures were widely prescribed for analgesic, sedative, and narcotic purposes: “It was used as the primary pain reliever until the invention of aspirin”[i]. Sativex is a sublingual cannabis tincture spray produced in England by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. It’s now available by prescription in Canada for MS, neuropathic pain, and as an adjunctive treatment for cancer patients. A nearly identical product produced by the VICS (Vancouver Island Compassion Society) called “Cannamist” has been available for years, as the simple procedure of soaking cannabis in alcohol is well known. A spray or drop of tincture under the tongue will absorb quickly into the bloodstream, so one can monitor very closely the adequate dose. Glycerin can be substituted if the alcohol is undesired.
Heating cannabis rich alcohol reduces and concentrates the cannabinoids into “honey” or “hash” oil while evaporating the solvent. A well ventilated area is necessary, as the gases released will be highly flammable and a single spark can be devastating. Some dispensaries use concentrated oils like “budder” to medicate their selection of edible products.
As part of a verbal agreement with the Capital Health Region, the CBC of C cannot use methods that include flammable solvents and produce combustible fumes. Until we obtain a license to produce in a commercial space, honey oil products will remain unavailable to our members. So, instead we have focused on vegetable oil infusions that offer their own wide range of benefits.
The medicinal benefits of the vegetable oil base are an adjunctive to the cannabis treatment. Olive oil is high in Omega 6 fatty acids. In western societies there is an imbalance in the oil consumption in our diets with a general need to increase the level of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. Olive oil’s mono-saturated chemical structure allows for the greatest stability at room temperatures[ii]. Mono-unsaturated fat is a healthier type of fat that can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood; balancing blood sugar and blood pressure. Olive oil saturates the cells as it carries the cannabinoids across the skin or stomach lining. Extra virgin olive oil is preferably used fresh and stored away from light, air, and heat.
Grape seed oil is high in essential fatty acids. Your body cannot produce them, so they must come from the foods you eat. The EFAs in food are sacrificed along with the B vitamins and the naturally occurring enzymes to enable extended shelf life in the supermarket. This is a major problem since EFAs are the building blocks for a healthy immune system.
“Hemp seed oil has […] a perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 (linolei/LA) to Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic/LNA) EFAs determined to be the optimum requirement for long-term healthy human nutrition.[iii]” It’s unfortunately expensive, given limited production, preventing us (and others) from using it.
A number of people are allergic to nuts and nut oils, including their use topically, which deters the CBC of C from using coconut or almond oils that are otherwise healthy alternatives as a base.
Honey provides a natural preservative base rich in nutrients and minerals. Honey can be infused in a double boiler on low heat, allowing the honey to cool before reheating and repeating this process for up to 3 days before straining out the plant material. Other natural preservative sweeteners like agave and maple syrup can also be infused with dry kief hash, and used as the medicinal ingredient in tea or soft drinks.
The efforts of Colorado based companies DixieElixers and Canna Cola to rigorously test for quality control and standardized doses of THC are breaking new ground with the intention of providing to dispensaries across the United States. They currently make 12oz. fizzy fruit drinks containing about 22-35 mg of THC at the cost of $10 a pop.
Cannabis drinks have been popular for tens of thousands of years. Historian Chris Bennett traces the techniques for making the Vedic Soma and Persian Haoma in his most recent book, Cannabis and the Soma Solution. Chris uses archaeological and etymological evidence to illuminate cannabis as a consistent ingredient in ritual beverages—techniques advancing from ancient times when the oil from the seeded flowers of wild cannabis were crushed and pressed after becoming enriched with the oil soluble cannabinoids, to advanced techniques for cultivating feminine cannabis and extracting the cannabinoids into forms of hashish.
In Ancient Egypt, incense cones of Kyphi (kief hash loaded perfume) placed on the head would melt in the sunlight and by body heat releasing fragrant cannabis onto the skin.
In 2002, scientists from L’Oreal and C2RMF recreated the “perfume of the pharaohs” which included pistachios, mint, cinnamon, juniper, cannabis, and myrrh. French researcher Videault noted, “Kyphi will never be sold because some of the ingredients are illegal substances. In any case the smell is probably much too pungent for the modern world.”[iv]
It is still common in Egypt to use steam distillation to produce a cannabis flower essential oil rich with therapeutic terpenes as a scent for perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and candles, and to add sweetness to baked goods and candies. Although the varieties of cannabis used in today’s products are low THC, this method could be applied to medicinal grade cannabis. The essential oil is anti-fungal and can also be mixed with water and sprayed onto plants for protection.
All of these options may seem to be becoming further from our most familiar method of medical delivery, the pill. However, many dispensaries provide oil filled capsules and some dry herb “Cannacaps” in an attempt to mimic the standard pill. Marinol or Dronabinol, available by prescription, is synthetic THC dissolved in sesame oil: “a 5 mg. capsule contains iron oxide red and iron oxide black, gelatin, glycerin, sesame oil, and titanium dioxide”[v].
With great variation in plant material it’s difficult to produce a standardized medical cannabis product. Genovations Creations in Colorado Springs use a forced ventilation oven (maintaining 35˚ temperature to evaporate any moisture); a Vortexer to stir the cannabinoids in the solvent; and a Sonicator that breaks open the trichomes in the test tube by vibrating sound waves through the water the test tube is submerged in. This ensures the material is evenly dispersed before testing with a HPLC to standardize and quantify doses. They currently produce interesting new products for the skin combining hash oil and essential oils into bubble bath and shower gel.
Recently, Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, based in Europe, acquired patent rights for a topical medical marijuana patch. Similar to a nicotine patch applied to the skin, it releases cannabinoids into the intercellular lipid layer surrounding the cells of the outer level of the skin, rather than through the cells themselves. It’s being sold worldwide as “a holistic, therapeutic adjunctive for management of chronic pain [...] and other chronic conditions.” Working with a member of the Santa Ana Pueblo Tribe of New Mexico, MMDS plans to market “other new delivery systems like creams, gels and oils to people and animals in need”[vi].
Some dispensaries have started using DMSO in their topical medications. DMSO is a byproduct of the pulp and paper manufacturing industry, predominantly used as a vehicle for topical application of pharmaceuticals. It is frequently compounded with anti-fungal medications, enabling them to penetrate, not just skin, but also toe and fingernails. Extra caution is required when using DMSO, as any toxins on your skin or on any of the equipment you are using will be allowed to enter your body as well. Infections may occur where special care isn’t paid to ensure sanitary conditions.
Witnessing the advancements in the medical cannabis field is a source of endless inspiration. There is so much more to this creative healing art than just cookies or the proverbial brownie. I am scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary trial on May 19 and 20, regarding my part in providing vegetable oil based cannabis foods and massage oils for members of the CBC of C, in Victoria. While I stand charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking THC, Bayer Pharmaceuticals is shipping THC worldwide in Sativex bottles. Regardless of the outcome of my trial, the medical cannabis movement will continue to grow rapidly, learning from each other to provide the highest standard of treatment we can offer.
[i] “History of Cannabis”. BBC News. 2 November 2001.

Get In The Game With Team 420

By Kyla Williams

To the amusement of onlookers, Herb the 12 foot tall marijuana leaf mascot of Team 420 and Hempology 101 made his way through the streets of Vancouver spreading good cheer and mellow vibes during the annual Vancouver Sun Run, last May. While outpacing many of his fellow runners, Herb had a little difficulty manoeuvring past others in the run. He even outpaced his “bong babe” and passed the meeting point, where he would have got his bong blast and a drink of water, before she arrived. Herb was a delight to onlookers and marathoners alike, and even after completing the 10 km run, Herb had the stamina to hang out with fellow runners and have several photo-ops.
Lovingly worn by Ted Smith, Herb weighs approximately 45 pounds, and stands 12 feet tall with a width span of eight feet. His shoulders and nose were rubbed pretty raw from the costume, and he was a “bit” tired after the run, but overall happy with his performance. The effort paid off. Herb was seen by tens of thousands of people, was on the Vancouver Sun’s website, and was pretty easy to spot in the crowd. There are more than 50,000 participants in the Sun Run, making it the largest 10 km run in North America. Dozens of people had their picture taken with Herb, and Gayle Quin handed out hemp hearts and information to those who were interested along the route.
Ted has been a vegetarian for over 14 years, so hemp hearts and hemp protein play an important role in his diet. He chooses to avoid soy because of the involvement of GMOs. Hemp hearts contain all the body’s required proteins and essential fats, along with numerous vitamins and enzymes, and are thought to be the only natural food to do so. They are also nearly void of saturated fats and low in carbohydrates.
This is just one part of Ted’s hemp-based healthy lifestyle. He has also been a heavy cannabis consumer for all his adult life. While the mainstream media and social stereotypes hold that Cannabis use is unhealthy, Ted and Team 420 are here to challenge the misconception.
Ted has enjoyed athletics and sports most of his life. He was in hockey from the age of five until he was 19, and played on the All-Ontario championship Juvenile team. In the summers he played different sports with the kids in the neighbourhood. This is where Ted’s sense of fair play was first developed. He says that it was especially important for the neighbourhood games because if you didn’t play fair, the game would end, and people would go home.
In high school, Ted took up playing rugby, a sport he continued on with in university. He was Captain of the second team in his third and fourth years of university, and in in his fifth year, he was on the varsity team.
“I was the drunkest, and fittest guy on the team.” Ted says, but also states that he hasn’t drank in 15 years as well.
It was the university rugby team that nicknamed him “Acidhead Ted,” on account of his anti-prohibitionist stance and open drug use. It was these interactions with his rugby team, and experiences at this time of his life, that really lit Ted’s passion and guided him into lifelong work toward drug-law reform. Team 420 is the natural union between his lifelong enjoyment of sports and his passion for ending cannabis prohibition.
Team 420 first got together to play dodgeball in the 2009 Vancouver Islander Lager Dodgeball Championships. The team practiced together regularly against kids in the local area. Their efforts attracted a lot of interest from the cannabis community at large. They invited the community to get involved, and held a contest to design the Team 420 logo. Ultimately the team chose Owen Smith’s design, and had shirts, stickers, and other gear made. Membership to the team was open for anyone interested. The only requirement for the team was to wear a logo (purchased from the team, or home made) and to have fun!
One good idea deserves another, and Team 420 Victoria started to play frisbee golf together. The outdoor nature of the game made it a lot easier to find venues for practices. They had their first frisbee golf tournament in Sept. 2009, in Sooke.
The object of frisbee golf is to hit the targets in the least amount of throws. It is a sport for all abilities and a great way to get outside and be physical, but still have enough time to laugh and enjoy each others company, as well. The course is set up with nine targets and can be rearranged to fit any ability. Team 420 still plays frisbee golf every third Thurs. at University West’s grounds. As well, the equipment for frisbee golf is available to borrow for trusted team members.
Herb is getting ready to run again and he is inviting along company. This year he is going to run in the Victoria TC 10K, Canada’s second largest 10 km race, on Sun. May 1. It is predicted that over 15,000 will register for this year’s event. If you want to join Herb in the run, there is a planning meeting set for early Apr. to work out the details. The meeting will be held at the Solstice Cafe, and all are welcome to attend. There is also a training schedule for Ted in this issue of the Cannabis Digest—feel free to train along with him, or just join for a run to support the team’s training.
There are lots of other ways you can get involved without running a marathon. Herb and the team will need bong holders for the breaks along the way, as well as people to take video and pictures. We also need people who would like to hand out information and hemp hearts, to those interested, along the route. Most importantly we need people out there in the crowd cheering on the team as they wind their way through Victoria’s streets. We encourage people to bring signs, noisemakers, and to dress in their favorite Team 420 garb for race day. There will also be a meeting in the Solstice Cafe the day before the run to arrange the logistics of the day and assign tasks.
You don’t need to be in Victoria to be a part of the Team 420 action. Mik Mann’s story is evidence of that. For the last few years he has played his regular golf game in Port Alberni wearing his Team 420 gear, and participated in many golf competitions as part of Team 420.
He says there hasn’t been any negative response to his affiliation. In fact, it allows the closet tokers at the club to feel more comfortable with him, while normalizing marijuana use. Mik says that golf and marijuana go together naturally. “The point of the game is to get on the green,” he says.
Mik’s Team 420 activities don’t end there. He also flies r/c planes and helicopters sporting Team 420 stickers, and takes part in geocaching as a Team 420 member. Geocaching is a relatively new sport played by people throughout the world using GPS devices to track down hidden caches—much like a treasure hunt. The caches are usually in a waterproof container and consist of small inexpensive items like buttons, trinkets, coins, or small toys. Sometimes a cache also has a “hitchhiker” which is often a geocoin or another object that geocachers move from cache to cache, and keep track of its progress online. According to Wikipedia there are over 1.3 million active geocaches in the world, in over 300 countries.
Geocaching is an excellent way to get outside, and enjoy the community and countryside you live in. It doesn’t require any special ability to take part—kids, as well as adults can take part in the fun. It has a wide appeal making it inclusive for anyone in the community that wants to join in.
Team 420 gear is available at the Sacred Herb, in Victoria, and will soon be available online. You don’t need to buy the gear to wear the logo. The team also encourages people to make their own Team 420 shirts using permanent markers, or fabric paints. You can also make your own Team 420 signs, hats, or shorts—the possibilities are endless.
No matter what sport you do, or where you do it, you can incorporate the concept of Team 420 into your activities. Like Mik, you can enter golf tournaments, or other community competitions as part of Team 420 and wear the gear, and open the door to conversations about marijuana use and its benefits. From snowboarding to roller derby, marathon running to golf, if you toke and play, wear the team logo proudly and help smash the propaganda about the listless and lazy cannabis consumer.
Training Schedule
Sat Apr. 9, 4:20 pm Solstice Cafe planning meeting
Fri Apr. 15, 9 am UVic Petch Fountains morning run
Thurs Apr. 21, 9 am Cook St Village morning run
Thurs Apr. 21, 8 pm University West frisbee golf
Sat Apr. 23, 9am UVic Petch Fountains morning run
Fri Apr. 29, 9am Cook St Village morning run
Sat Apr. 30, 4:20 Solstice Cafe planning meeting
Sun May 1, 9am TC 10K
Thurs May 12, 8pm Po Square Blanshard X Pandora dodgeball
Thurs May 19, 8pm University West frisbee golf
Thurs May 26, 8pm Univeristy West dodgeball

A LEAP Forward for Nanaimo

By Blair Hedley
John Anderson, a professor of Criminology at Vancouver Island University, was recently made the Nanaimo area speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I got in touch with him in late Nov., and he told me all about it.
To start with, what exactly are a LEAP speaker’s duties?
Well, I think you have to know a little bit about LEAP first. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are peace officers who are taking a stance that is contrary to most members of their organization—their whole legal and prosecutory community. Being a spokesperson for LEAP means that you have some affinity for their values for whatever reason, either as a former peace officer or as a currently active one. I fall into the former category—I was a peace officer at the Vancouver Pre-trial Services Centre from ‘83 to ‘88. And even back then, I was aghast at what our drug policies were doing to people. That was something I would share with a few people I worked with, as well. I was rubbing shoulders with other graduates of SFU, and at that time it wasn’t often that we found too many correctional officers with baccalaureate degrees in Corrections, and I think we tended to be a bit more critical than other members of the rank and file [that had been] in service for a decade or two before us.
These degrees, they gave you the background needed to think outside the box?
Well, I think all of us at some time or another took courses with Neil Boyd and John Lowman, who were critical about Canadian drug policy, not because of their personalities, but because of the research that they’d read. So I think the persuasiveness of LEAP’s stance, at least in academia, is the evidence that they muster to support their position.
You’re the first LEAP speaker in Nanaimo. Aside from yourself, how much presence does LEAP have in Nanaimo?
Probably, almost none. There’s some presence in Victoria with David Bratzer, but my speaker’s profile has yet to be published on the LEAP website—which I understand is forthcoming. It’s a pretty exhaustive process to be recruited as one of LEAP’s speakers—it’s certainly more rigorous than anything I’ve experienced in a non-profit group. I think that Nanaimo is probably ready for a conversation about the futility of drug prohibition, and I say that because despite all the efforts in the 20 years that I’ve been here for Nanaimo to prohibit the use of illicit drugs—I don’t think the police themselves can point to a great deal of evidence that they’ve been successful. So I think it’s time that there are other voices—I’m certainly not the only one. There are certainly other voices that are encouraging re-thinking prohibitionist policies. And I’ve got to be honest—the work that I’ve been doing in the classroom dovetails exactly with what I would expect from one of their spokespersons. In other words, present the evidence and think about rational arguments. Why are we doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, and getting the same results? That’s the definition of insanity, according to A.A.
Does your opposition have a lot of evidence for their position?
I’m interested in learning about the evidence the opposition has because as a social scientist, I’m willing to revise my opinion if I can be presented with evidence that shows that drug prohibition policies are actually working. And I’ve actually done an about-face on my own stance with respect to gun control. But that’s a separate issue. One of the things that I said I would do was explore the other argument, not to be a good debater, but just so that I can be informed. Maybe they’ve got some perspectives that go beyond whack-a-mole. Are you familiar with whack-a-mole? You think you’ve solved the problem by whacking one problem down, and then it just pops up in another form. It’s illustrative of what happened when the Americans thought that they had defeated drug trafficking from Central America with the killing of Pablo Escobar. It didn’t do a thing. There were other groups that took over his market, and there’s more cocaine coming through Mexico than there’s ever been. On and on it goes. I think the Canadian public, in terms of safety, deserves an alternative.
Do you think a national referendum in Canada would lead to legalization?
I’m not so sure, because the extent to which people believe in decriminalization varies by province. Alberta is much more conservative than Quebec or B.C. Some of the polls I’ve read—63 percent of British Columbians are in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana, and up to 80 percent are in favor of medical marijuana being used. We’re liberal in many respects on the West Coast, and I think that we’re less likely to accept the propaganda that finds its way into the media.
There are a number of different ideas on how much control of a substance is necessary. For example, some say there should be no controls, and others say there should be a system similar to that used for alcohol and tobacco. What sort of system do you think would work best?
LEAP’s position is that the ownership of the drug problem, at the individual level, is the property of the individual and their physician. The government’s role is more regulation than anything else. It’s not about making a profit off the sale of marijuana; it’s about regulating drugs. The government would regulate, as it does alcohol, and sale and distribution of Marijuana. And that could be in the form of issuing private growers’ licenses.
A while back, Portugal legalized every single substance, but mandated that people who are heavily addicted would have to be counseled, to help them kick their addictions. Would you support something similar here?
Anything we do in Canada has to be done slowly, and with evaluational research accompanying it every step of the way. I don’t think we’re ready for a de facto decriminalization of all drugs. We can start almost immediately with marijuana. That’s something that I’ve been hearing since 1976. The government, for fear of losing votes, is loathe to decriminalize marijuana. I think that they much prefer to sustain some of the myths that have been perpetuated because it allows them access to a particular electorate that supports them in a large way.
There has been some speculation that there is an influence from the U.S., and that has played a large part in the reason it hasn’t been decriminalized. Do you think this is the case?
It’s absolutely the case. The U.S. has had a direct and powerful influence on Canadian drug policy, and they’ve done the same thing worldwide, threatening all kinds of penalties and sanctions to states that don’t fall in line with their particular vision of what healthy drug policy should be. I think that LEAP and myself personally—we agree that the way drugs are distributed in their present form—the drugs that we call illicit—is dangerous. It’s dangerous for the users, it’s dangerous because of the black market status of the drug. It’s not the pharmacological properties of the drug. I’ve got a video that I show my students where heroin users in Amsterdam and Liverpool are taking heroin that they’ve got from their chemist, or pharmacy, before they go to work. What makes them different is that they’re not spending a large portion of their day trying to steal enough money so that they can buy drugs on the black market. It’s the black market status of the drugs that causes the problem. That’s where anti-prohibitionist policies can be effective if governments take them seriously.
What are some of the challenges or barriers you’ve encountered as part of LEAP?
I think that the biggest challenge is the current Federal government and the position that they’re taking. And I don’t think the Liberals in Victoria are any less “small-c” conservative than the “capital-C” Conservatives are. For the Harper government, it’s an ideological matter, and there’s no amount of evidence or rationale that’s going to change their minds. And that’s the biggest obstacle: getting beyond the rhetoric and trying to encourage politicians to take a rational approach to this. If we don’t, other countries will, and are, and their evaluations are going to continue to show that they have less damage to society, less property crime, as they pursue these types of policies, and with the aid of the Internet and the dissemination of information that’s outside of authorized channels in the media, I think there’s an opportunity for Canadians to start demanding a wiser drug policy from federal politicians.
What’s the next big step for anti-prohibitionists?
I think Canada could go a long way with its position in the international community, to do something really progressive, and we have been a bit of an outlier in foreign policy. Canada has taken the role of being a country willing to send troops into everywhere we’re needed, and I can’t think of anything more pacifist for Canada to do than to take that lead and actually begin bringing in some policies that actually make sense, do some scientific evaluations by researchers, and then show the world what’s possible. That’s the lead we can take. Unfortunately, we’ve got a big brother next door, who’s got a big stick, and they can manipulate that stick in so many diplomatic channels that it’s a little frightening.

Industrial Hemp Production on the Big Scale

By Diane Walsh
America likes to boast its country’s quality of economic competitiveness. It’s an old story. But here’s one for Canada. In terms of industrial hemp laws, the U.S. is far back as the only industrialized nation on the globe failing to recognize the value of industrial hemp and permit its production. Whilst, in this regard, Canada is ahead—legalizing hemp production in 1998, and authorizing the growing of industrial-hemp plants for commercial purposes, after some 50 years of prohibition.
That’s not to say the American hemp industry proponents haven’t been busy—they have. Numerous U.S. states will tout rhetoric that industrial hemp production is allowed. Twenty-nine states have tried to introduce hemp legislation—some successfully. Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia have sought to remove the barriers to hemp research and production. California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia have gone as far as to create state resolutions.
But as activists point out ever so clearly, the fact remains that Federal law, which requires nearly impossible to obtain permits in order to grow hemp trumps any and all state law. And, The US Drug Enforcement Administration is at the centre of the controversy; more on that debate later on.
Back on Canada. On its face, Canada appears progressive, but is not without its own caveats. As a condition of receiving a license to grow industrial hemp, Canadian farmers are required to register the GPS coordinates of their plantations and use certified “low-THC” seed.
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, known THC, is the drug marijuana’s main psychoactive chemical. Characterized low-in-THC, levels for the hemp plant are, generally, less than one percent. Therefore industrial hemp is accepted primarily as an agricultural crop including hurds, seed or seed cake, fibre, or by-products of hemp such as oil. Industrial hemp can be employed in several ways, in vehicle parts, carpets and textiles, housing and building materials, paper, rope, fuel, clothing, food, etc. Due to its high biomass, hemp is one of the preferred-choice biofuels. Ultimately, hemp could alleviate some of our dependence on foreign oil, and allow for the green-growing of fuels “on the farm.” Another fun fact is that one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fibre pulp as 4.1 acres of trees.
Nevertheless, it’s still a chilly political climate. Canadian farmers must allow government testing of the crop for THC levels and “meet or beat” a 10ppm standard for maximum allowable THC residue in hemp grain products. Despite several bone-twisting hoops, Canada has made growing industrial hemp fully legal and, in this noteworthy and remarkable way, Canada does outstrip the U.S. by solidifying our potential in a future opportunity and growth of this little understood agricultural art.
Even Agriculture Canada (which is the federal department of agriculture) has to admit that, according to recent estimates, more than 100 farmers are growing hemp across our fair nation, with the bulk of the fields in Western and Central Canada.
Now back on the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is at the centre of the debate. With a budget of $2,602,000,000, the DEA is a pumped-arm of the federal government existing “to enforce American drug laws” and situated within the U.S. Department of Justice. According to their website, “they investigate, gather evidence and make arrests of suspects believed to be involved in the growing, manufacture or distribution of controlled substances. The DEA works with the United Nations and Interpol to combat the drug trade around the world.”
Okay, so why did we need to know that? Because their website does not state one of its mandates is to bastardize all efforts to bring about a legal industrial hemp growth economy being able to flourish inside the U.S., but hemp activists have long squealed this is precisely what it’s done in recent decades. Suggesting further, the DEA hasn’t exactly helped with decoupling the thought of the word hemp being associated with a criminal mindset. A bit rich when strictly-speaking the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not make cannabis illegal. It places the strictest of controls on the production of it, making it illegal to grow the crop, without a DEA permit.
Sources note a permit was once issued for a pilot “experimental” plot in Hawaii in the 1990s, but is now expired, and that DEA still has not ruled on an application submitted in 1999 by a North Dakota researcher. Yet the DEA website does not say the DEA is budgeted to interfere with farmers seeking representation to be able to grow industrial hemp.
Hemp industry activists continue to argue the requirements of the DEA for acquiring legal-grow permits have the effect of deterring that very thing. Hence, the net result is all hemp products sold in the U.S. are imported or manufactured from imported hemp materials—as initiating pilot research projects requiring growing plots is costly and, bureaucratically-speaking, unwieldy. Ridiculous.
It’s been an uphill battle at every turn. As late as in the last decade, Drug enforcement officials have tried to argue that hemp shouldn’t be grown because it appears it is marijuana. Today, the DEA no longer has the luxury of being able to say that “hemp is marijuana,” as that premise (nothing but political grand-standing) has been debunked by science. And, for example, by the court case Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration
“The Appeals Court Rejects DEA Bid to Outlaw Hemp Foods, Feb. 6, 2004” has thrown a spanner in the works of the DEA demonizing all-that-is-hemp. The decision goes on to say, “though the DEA has regulatory authority over marijuana and synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the agency did not follow the law in asserting authority over all hemp food products as well. ‘They cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana,’ the court ruled, noting it’s not possible to get high from products with only trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical. Hemp is an industrial plant related to marijuana. Fibre from the plant long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products. Its oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and cosmetics and in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles, milk-free cheese, veggie burgers and bread.”
But activists argue a bravado “DEA culture” still persists. The DEA, by not having to change its willful non-understanding of the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp; sources say, it simply refuses to distinguish between different varieties of cannabis.
Piling on, “Hemp is not economic” has been another favourite stance of the DEA. Able to say that their own budgets are strained, the department is seemingly able to credibly resist the public call for discussions around logistics of manufacturing industrial hemp and the economics, which needless to say, requires the DEA “to tread” on areas of expertise of the U.S. department of agriculture, the department of commerce, as well as, having to consult experts in “the free-market.”
Using budget shortfalls (chief excuse for the halt of hemp-production research) resulting in a new resistance on the part of the DEA—this time a resistance to—collaboration with other departments, namely hemp-industry officials. Added to that, their argument, hemp shouldn’t be grown because the market for it is “too speculative” or because the industry needs government subsidy, and it’s a full-blown deadlock. Following this logic, corn should be a prohibited crop, you’d expect!
The stumbling block in the DEA’s modus-operandi has been key legislation. For example, Vote Hemp is a non-profit organization which has helped raise awareness about the benefits of U.S. industrial hemp production. In 2005, a federal bill was introduced designed to alleviate restrictions on cultivation. Re-activated, on Apr. 2, 2009, Republican congressperson, Dr. Ron Paul, for 14th congressional district of Texas, put forth what is known as the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009—along with ten co-sponsors: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
This bill “died in committee,” in Jan. 2011. But it did have 26 co-sponsors at that time, including Rep. Ron Paul. Hemp industry officials are working on yet another bill planned, later this year.
It’s worth mentioning that the DEA has to appease the anti-marijuana lobby as it is this special-interest group and their related constituencies who advocate in Congress for the agency’s budget, which may in part explain why DEA departmental progress on the industrial-hemp front has been snail-paced. So, with this in mind, to gain supporters in corporations and business groups, lawmakers have tried hard to separate marijuana and hemp by way of petitioning the DEA to reclassify marijuana to exclude industrial hemp and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to the need to promote renewed research into hemp production—even if it’s preliminary information about regulation hemp cultivation.
Also of note, on Aug. 4, 2009, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed Senate Bill 676 into law in the Oregon legislature. At the time it was hoped that this would embolden officials against the DEA’s feet-dragging tactics, and re-energize hemp activists defeated in past years by red-tape. As, quite significantly, this law allowed for the production, trade, and possession of industrial hemp commodities and their products. But even with this advance, Oregon growers, now in 2011, are still unable to get on, because they are still required to obtain a permit from the DEA, at a Federal level—which is precisely—where the real block exist.
The state of Washington still classifies hemp as an illegal drug in the same category as marijuana, rather than identifying it as the agricultural crop which is what the whole fight has been about all along.
In light of American farmers losing their shirts in recent years on wheat and corn, it’s doubly troublesome. The power of the DEA is so great that many fear a horrible blow-back that could arise should their support of industrial hemp be exposed publicly.
Count ourselves lucky that the political climate is better in Canada, albeit not perfect.

Smuggling Bricks of Money and Blood

By M. Allister Greene
Brick weed. To some these words are unfamiliar, but in most of the United States this is the cannabis that has spread across the market to a huge percentage of consumers, but is thought to be the lowest grade and poorest example of cannabis. To most consumers the words “brick weed” are either representative of the only cannabis they know or find, or the herb they avoid at all cost. The amount of blood that has (metaphorically) stained it, and the money that it brings into a drug war that stretches past our borders and into the hands of criminals, makes it a product despised by many.
The majority of these warlords are tapeworms who just happen to have cannabis plantations. They are on such a large scale that both the people growing it, and the cannabis plants themselves, are treated like slaves. This trivializes the true nature of the cannabis plant, and what it is cherished for. These people remove all the beauty from the plants and the areas that they inhabit, while trying to rule through violence. They are tapeworms stretching past the fields they destroy with such ferocity, such cruelty, that they suck all decency from the people, culture and history, and make buying brick weed feel like a black mark on the soul.
These large scale grow operations use large amounts of chemicals—insecticides, herbicides, and chemical plant foods—that are often not considered safe for use in food production. When the cannabis plants are harvested, they are poorly inspected—if at all—for molds and other health concerning ailments, then dried and cured. During this stage, other issues can develop allowing the cannabis to degrade even further.
After all of this poor treatment, it just gets worse. They throw all of the cannabis plants into trash compactors, and some groups even make a shell around the marijuana by throwing all sorts of materials in with it—such as rubber from tires, old oil barrels, plastics, woods and other plant materials, and just about anything you can find in a landfill to cover up the smell of cannabis. Not all bricks are made the same, some have better weed, and some do take care of the product more than others. Then there are some that have extra less wanted ingredients, with every single corner cut during processing, making an end product that can barely be called cannabis. Many groups will throw in other material into the weed to create more weight, and randomly other things end up in the trash compactors (used to press the bricks) . After the cannabis has become one of the many brick weed forms, it moves on to the next stage, where even more violence takes places. This is when the smuggling begins.
Drug smuggling, of all varieties, goes on at the border of the United States and Mexico, with a large amount of the smuggling being done by gangs operating on an international level. Other drug smuggling, both small scale and large scale, is done by individuals or small groups that have found that the profit outweighs the dangers of moving the drugs. No matter whose hands are transporting it, the matter of getting it from Mexico to all the corners of the U.S. (and further), the smuggling starts to take major creative turns to get into the hands of the consumer.
Recently, one of the creative methods to be exposed was a catapult. Now there have been rumors of this for years, but the one caught was exceptionally close to the border and might have just been the only one to be poorly thought out. Other smugglers take the risk of using small airplanes; either landing to make the delivery, or dropping their cargo from the sky, which sometimes leads to news stories of duffle bags falling through roofs of houses or bags full of cannabis, or other drugs, being randomly found. Some smugglers will take bricks that are in a long and flat and fill the panels of cars, or fill their tires with bricks of weed to drive across the border check points.
Some smuggling operations turn to the underground methods of floating crates in sewers, or building tunnels that connect border cites. And some go underwater water—like the famous bust of a home-made submarine that was filled with drugs.
Drugs of all sorts get stuffed into items such as gas tanks, televisions, garden gnomes, and various animals—some of which are alive and fed, or surgically implanted with, bags of drugs. Building materials and household items like bathroom vanities and bedroom dressers, and even industrial waste containers, get lined and filled with bricks of weed and other drugs.
People often tape drugs to their bodies, have them surgically implanting, and the less than pleasant thought of plugging different body cavities. Some drugs are made into items or coated onto all sorts of products that come into the country, like toys, cosmetics, DVD cases, paper products, glasses, and even foods.
If something can be stuffed, made, or coated with drugs, someone has tried to use it in a smuggling scheme for one drug or another. Sometimes more valuable drugs get stuffed into another to make hired carriers think their load is worth less money. There is little honesty and loyalty in the employers and employees of the drug smuggling business.
Cannabis has been identified as one the largest cash crops in the world, and all the other drugs tag along to make criminals very rich. The money fuels wars and cruelty, along with corruption that has spread to all levels of law enforcement, including the DEA and the CIA, and politicians on all levels. The Mexican drug cartels use the money they make to buy weapons and run other criminal enterprises. They use it to corrupt people on all sides of the borders, and use violence to scare anyone that gets in their way. Many journalist and government officials, as well as many civilians, have been mistaken for rival gang members or law enforcement, or just caught in the crossfire, are killed by the dozen on weekly basis.
Just recently, the shooting of three Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer (resulting in one death) has caused outrage in police, resulting in more raids and deaths in the past few weeks—in the name of the War on Drugs. Being that this is one of the first deaths of an American agent in relations to drugs in recent years, the first response from top officials was that this made it personal. The raids keep picking up speed and ferocity across the globe at the hands of American agents out for vengeance, rather than justice.
As the facts of the investigation keep surfacing, the irony in the death of the agent is that the gun used in the shooting turns out to have been bought from a gun store in Texas, the state of the fallen officer, Jaime Zapata. This calls into question the relaxed American gun laws, and how often massively dangerous guns end up in the hands of the most dangerous criminals the world has the offer.
The warlords of the Mexican drug cartels will remain as long as prohibition makes it profitable to be in the business. These villains running the cartels are not only willing to kill their own men, but villages to increase their turf or to hide their farms. They kill civilians who stumble on their grow sites, some even in national forest stretching all the way into Canada. And they, of course, have no issue taking down law enforcement officers who get too close, even if they are just passing by. They use their money to fuel their wars for control and power, to run human trafficking rings, and to fulfill their endless desires. The Mexican cartels’ drugs fuel gangs that fight over turf world wide, and carry drugs that are far dirtier and dangerous than if they were legal and regulated. The blood is on the bricks and there is no way to wash it off, they are stained, which removes any bit of the sacredness that cannabis is intended to have.

Dana Larsen Interview

By Kristen Mann
Tell me about the first time you used cannabis.
The first time I smoked pot? The very first time was at a Pink Floyd concert and I was 17, or close to 18, and I didn’t really get much of an effect from it the first time, although it was a pretty amazing concert in and of itself. I started smoking pot more regularly [...] in about Grade 12. Just with some of my friends from high school. I enjoyed it; it was something that I enjoyed right away. I found it very inspirational. It helped with my creativity and insight, and you know, that’s an age when I think people experiment with different lifestyles and ideas and find themselves. I think I started a lot older than other people I know who started using cannabis younger.
Were you active in other causes before you got involved in cannabis activism? What got you involved in the activist stream?
Ever since I was a very little kid, I was interested in politics. One of my earliest career goals was first to be a daredevil, and then to be Prime minister of Canada. So that was when I was five or six years old. I have always been interested in politics and political activism, and understanding how groups work. My ideas have evolved a lot since I was that little kid, so I was always involved in different things. When I got older and I started seeing both the harms caused by the War On Drugs and by the War on Marijuana, and at this time there wasn’t a lot of activism for this in British Columbia or in Canada. When I first started getting involved in this, which was about 20 years ago, you couldn’t get High Times magazine; there were no grow books available—information about cannabis was not available. People had no idea about the medicinal value of marijuana. The amazing benefits of hemp were not well know to most people. People thought that it might help with the appetite a bit if you had AIDS, and maybe you could make some sort of “burlappy” clothes out of hemp, and that was about it. When I read The Emperor Wears No Clothes—the amazing book by Jack Herer that I think inspired many activists—I just got a total knowledge bomb from that book. It showed me so many things, and I started researching this and I realized how important this issue was and no one else was really working on it, and it was an area were I could make a difference, where I could have some fun doing it, where you run into lots of cool people, and that seemed like a wonderful way to start my life. So I got out of high school and into university where I met other like minded people. I formed a club on my university campus at Simon Fraser (SFU). I think the first kind of [cannabis] activism I did was putting together that club.
What was the name of your SFU club?
It was called the League for Ethical Action on Drugs (LEAD). LEAD was active for about four or five years, and that group continued on after I had graduated from there. I think that it has now merged with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP)—a great organization that has chapters all across the country, and is growing. I think with a lot of young people, you want to start to make a difference in the world and after I graduated from university I was helping to put on rallies and events in the city, and I met Marc Emery. He had just moved here and he opened up Hemp BC, and I was working on his newsletter which quickly evolved into Cannabis Culture Magazine. And there began a good 10 years of working together with Marc Emery on his various projects and the magazine. A lot of things happened over that decade, and I saw Marc do a lot of good work, and take a lot of risk, and help a lot of people, and really open up the availability of the Cannabis Culture product to the marijuana culture in British Columbia and in Canada.
You were the editor of CC for the duration of the print magazine, wrote a great book Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone, and started the Vancouver Seed bank, one of the largest in Canada.
I also opened up the Vancouver Cannabis Dispensary which is how I make a living now. It is an industry that I am sure you know is expanding rapidly. A new one has just opened up on Cambie St. by the hospital there. Since we opened up, one opened just down the street from us, one opened up in South Vancouver; I know of at least five to six others that are planning on opening up in Vancouver in the next six months, and I am sure that there are easily that many as well that are opening that I haven’t heard about. It’s something that is working well and is self-regulating, but it is this funny thing where it is half legal where the courts allow us to do it but there is no legislation, and we need to change that.
Should we license medical cannabis dispensaries. What does that plan look like to you? Would you be taxing them? Would it be funded by some level of government?
I will tell you what I would do. I am running for the leader of the BC NDP, and although I am quite the underdog, the next step would to become the head of the opposition and hopefully win the next election, and become the new NDP premier. If I am not the Premier I will be pushing whatever NDP premier we have to do the following on medical marijuana because, although the drug laws are federal, just like Insite (the supervised injection site) is a health facility, because it is a health facilities the courts have ruled that it is a provincial jurisdiction. And in the same manner because most of us acknowledge that marijuana is a valuable medicine and people have a constitutional right to access. I believe that this puts medical marijuana under the same jurisdiction as Insite. The BC government, if it chose, could take over the federal marijuana program and make our own provincial programs, and by doing that we already have a great system of dispensaries that operate in this province that have created their own system of rules and do a good job and are self regulating. So as premier, I would get together as many dispensaries or compassion clubs, or whatever you want to call them, and patients and stake holders together. We would create a set of rules that would probably look a lot like the dispensaries are all using now. Not to charge them a lot of money and make sure that every one is rules and that we’ve got a standardized process. I would do the same thing for all of their growers, all of their suppliers. We have to figure out a way to regulate and control it, but I am not looking to get a lot of tax money off of medical user really. The only difference I see to medical users, really, is that the grower would have to start paying income tax if they aren’t already. But, I don’t want to tax medical marijuana, on the contrary, it really should be subsidized or at least treated like other pharmaceuticals. I think we would see big savings by doing that for our province because the members of my dispensary and the other dispensaries across the province are using less pharmaceuticals when they have access to marijuana. And the irony of it is that they have to pay for that marijuana out of their pocket, whereas the pharmaceuticals are subsided by the province and the taxpayers out of their pocket. If we would help them get that medical cannabis would save us money, besides the fact that it gets people off pharmaceuticals and on to a natural healing herb with no side effects, it would also be fiscally prudent of us to do this. Prices would drop in this sort of a regulated market. Because the growers would feel confident that they are not going to have any legal problems, they would be able to grow more at a time. They would be able to grow more openly and a price drop would follow. They could be proud of their work and show it more openly.
You were a founding member of the Marijuana Party, both federally and provincially. Can you tell me a little about those days?
Those were heavy days back in 2000 and 2001. In 2000, the first marijuana party in Canada was the Block Pot, and that was started by a man named Boris St-Maurice. He decided that he wanted to create a Canadian marijuana party, so he flew across the country meeting with different activist, and he ended his tour in B.C. They had a meeting at Marc Emery’s house, and we were all very excited about this, so we all ran and this was a big election and we had people in every single riding. It was the first year the Canadian Marijuana Party (CMP) ran and we had a lot of fun with that. B.C. was having an election in 2001, and we thought lets form the BC Marijuana Party (BCMP) and keep this going. The B.C. party had a different flavor than the federal party. The CMP basically allowed candidates to speak to whatever they want as along as they agreed on cannabis. With the BCMP we created a pretty complex set of policies with the focus being marijuana and legalization, but marijuana issues touch on so many other issues. It was a great campaign. We had this great bus that the driver brought up for us, and this guy and this bus had driven around Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and so many other politicians. He had autographed pictures from Reagan in his bus. We were the first party ever in B.C. history to run a full slate of candidates in their first year in their first election. In 2003, Jack Layton came to Marc Emery’s house and went on Pot TV, and [...] talked about how he personally thought that marijuana should be legalized and how his party thought that it should be decriminalized. He said if you are watching this you should join the NDP and help us develop a marijuana policy. Get involved. That was what the MP had sort of been waiting for, a mainstream party to take on our issues. Their policy hadn’t changed, but they hadn’t before had a leader so willing to communicate that message so clearly. Jack was very passionate about the legalization of marijuana. In the video he calls it a “wonderful substance.” There was a debate among the CMP, and lots of us ended up splitting off and joining the NDP.
In addition to key NDP values you have made some interesting campaign promises including legalizing cannabis for non-medicinal use, a public health campaign against sugar based beverages, free Skytrain passage, and decriminalizing the sex trade. Is there a core philosophy to your platform?
It is based on the four principals and I think you touched on a lot there. Democracy, Sustainability, Social Justice, and being smart on crime. I think I am a populist. I am a socialist. I believe in people working together. Government shouldn’t do everything, but there is a need for structure in terms of public infrastructure, in terms of eduction, in terms of health care. These are all the right places for government to be. We know the government can do a lot of harm sometimes, too, in terms of the war on cannabis and other civil rights abuses by governments here and around the world. I call myself a libertarian-socialist because I believe in civil liberties, but I also believe in a compassionate society that takes care of its weak and its vulnerable. I think we should work toward eliminating the fare boxes from BC transit starting with the Skytrain. We subsidize cars quite a bit through roads, asthma, car accidents, pollution. I would rather see that subsidy go to transit riders. I want to see more rails and less roads in this province. I would repeal the Liberal corporate tax cuts going back to 2001. The current top tax bracket is $100,000 a year. I have talked about adding a new tax bracket after $250,000 a year in annual income to tax the top 0.5 percent of earners. I would add a modest tax of about 11 percent.
These two actions together would eliminate the B.C. deficit and would give us half a billion dollars left over to invest in what we want. I am a big fan of education. Prisons are not the solution for homelessness, or mental health issues, or addiction, and they certainly aren’t the place for marijuana smokers. It is going to be very hard for this province to get out of debt if we don’t start saying no to this prison spending spree that Harper is taking us on. I think a lot of these ideas aren’t even left or right wing ideas. Democracy, sustainability, marijuana legalization—I think that people on both sides of the political spectrum can support.
Why did you decide to run for leader of the BC NDP?
Because I am idealistic and passionate about the NDP and about our province. I think I am bringing up ideas and issues that are important, and probably won’t get discussed if I am not there. Marijuana legalization is one of those, and direct democracy is one of those, and the Skytrain thing too. I lean left in our party and I give a voice to those members. I think that some people get nervous when they hear that I am running because they don’t know much about me and they only know what they read in the paper, and they think that I am a crazy person. But when they hear me speak at debates, I get a great response from the audience. I don’t know if they are going to vote for me or not, but every day I get people coming up to me and saying “I am glad you are in this race. I am glad that you are running.” A lot of those people are wearing a button for a different candidate, but they will say to me “Dana, I like what you had to say today, and I am glad that you are running, keep it up, you are doing a good job.” I know I probably won’t win, I might, but I am an underdog. It is an uphill battle for me to win this race, but I will be happy for our party and for this race if I have articulated a vision for our party and province that excites people and makes them want to join the party and get involved.
You have had some big names in the cannabis world, like Tommy Chong, support your leadership bid. Who do you think is your average supporter?
Over the last few days of debate I have had grandmothers who were in their late senior years tell me that they were excited about what I had to say and take my button, and I have had young people with dreadlocks tell me the same thing, and everybody in between. My message to the NDP is not to vote marijuana, it is broad based about those four policy platforms I talked about. I have a lot to say on a lot of issues, but I also think that NDPers are ready to hear about progressive marijuana policies. However, I don’t think that your typical marijuana user looks like Tommy Chong either. Over half the people in this province have tried marijuana at one time or another, and the people who use our dispensaries they don’t look like anything. They look like regular people. They are young, old, black, white, tall, short, they are men and women. All races and all genders use medical cannabis and I think it wonderful that it is an issue that applies to so many people. Today, a lady came up to me and said “I like what you had to say. My father is a member of your dispensary and he has cancer, and I am really glad that is a service you supply.” Let us not forget, though, that Tommy Chong spent nine months in jail for the crime of selling bongs over the internet. He is an activist who, like millions of other people around the world, has unjustly suffered in prison for his words and support for the cannabis plant. He has done his time and speaks in the media often, from Fox News to CNN. He is one of the most famous Canadians around the world. I am thrilled to have his support, but my support in the NDP doesn’t have a look, it comes from all types of people.
How can B.C. use hemp as a sustainable industry?
Small towns and farming communities, and rural B.C. in general, would benefit hugely from a legal cannabis hemp industry. The only thing that is holding back the hemp industry is our fear of marijuana. We force hemp farmers to go through huge red tape because we are terrified they might be growing a marijuana plant in the middle of their field, which doesn’t work anyway. Hemp would be a wonderful crop, it has such a broad base of applications. Most readers are probably aware of the fabric, food, pith, fiber benefits of hemp seed. What I find amazing, myself, is that hemp has a broader range of medicinal applications than marijuana does. The ratio of CBD: THC determines if a plant is hemp (high CBD) or marijuana (high THC). This doesn’t really affect the fiber crop, as they are tall and don’t make a lot of buds, but the seed crop is short and squat with big buds. CBD is better than THC at destroying cancer cells, helping heal mylin sheath. We are growing it by the hundreds of acres in Canada, and throwing it all away. They could easily keep they flower heads and extract the resins out of it in some big industrial way, make an affordable, useable form of cannabis medicine that would help a great deal of Canadians; and make our farmers money, save the taxpayers money, and help a great many people—and no one would be getting high. THC also has a great deal of medical application.
Why should cannabis users vote in the upcoming B.C. provincial election?
Voting is easy and it’s important, and I hope that I am giving the cannabis movement something to vote for. If you want to see progressive marijuana laws in this province, then join the NDP and support the work I am doing. I have a group eNDProhibition If you don’t like the NDP then join the party of your choice and reform them and get them involved too. NDP is the only party in B.C. sitting in the legislature that supports progressive drug laws.

Justice Matters

By Jesse Stamm
Hello Hempology students! I am an articled student (graduated from law school, will be writing the bar exam in Sept.) at Roger Batchelor Law Corporation in the Western Communities. I moved to Victoria in 1994 to attend the University of Victoria, and have spent 10 of those years completing two Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology (with distinction) and my Juris Doctor (law degree).
Having spent so much time at UVic, I have seen Ted Smith on numerous occasions and have followed his involvement with the legal system throughout the years. I recently met with Ted and we discussed the possibility of running a legal advice column in the newspaper. While there are many aspects of the legal system that would be relevant to the other issues in the paper, we believe that the most valuable advice will relate to the criminal justice system. I will set out some of the most useful general principles in this introductory article, and will address more specific issues in later issues. Please feel free to suggest potential future topics to either myself or Ted, and from your messages I will incorporate the answers into future articles.
While some of the obvious marijuana issues relate to specific criminal charges such as possession, trafficking, or production, there are a number of basic and fundamental principles of criminal law that relate to any involvement with the police, which every person in Canada should be aware of.
The first and most important principle is the right to remain silent while interacting with the police. This is an inalienable right, and there are absolutely no circumstances under which a person can be forced to speak to the police. However, there is nothing to prevent a peace officer from continuing to speak to a person under arrest, especially about unrelated topics such as hockey, football, and so on. This is a commonly used technique, and has successfully worn down a countless number of persons to the point where they begin to engage in conversation with the police. This is always a poor decision, and should be carefully guarded against. Of course, you are obligated to identify yourself if you are driving a motor vehicle or if you have been placed under arrest; failure to do so or providing a false name is grounds for being charged with obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment; however, identifying yourself can be done without speaking a single word. Remember, if you have been detained by the police, the only thing that you should say is “I would like to talk to a lawyer!”
This leads to the second most important principle of criminal justice: the right to legal counsel. If a person is detained or arrested by the police, they have the right to speak to a lawyer “without
delay.” This right is found in Section 10(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, while police almost always use the word “arrest” when arresting someone, it is less common for someone to hear the word “detention.” If you are being asked questions by a police officer and you have any question about whether or not you have been “detained,” ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, simply walk away. If the answer is no, you are under detention and your right to talk to a lawyer springs into existence. At that point, remember the first principle!
Thanks for reading this introductory article, and I hope that there will be many questions that I can address in the next issue. Please send possible topics to or directly to Ted.

Just Jakes–Just Getting Hempy

By Andrew Brown
Over the past several years, Duncan, B.C. has become a model of progression in terms of a move towards a sustainable community. From regular farmer’s markets in the downtown core (and another in the outskirts), to regular community events, downtown businesses are working together to make the community better for people and better for business—and of course better for mother nature.
But what about hemp? It is one of the plants that can literally save the planet (read Jack Herer’s book The Emperor Wears No Clothes for more on that). Well, Just Jakes and its sister next door, the Craig Street Brew Pub, decided to throw hemp into their menu—and their beer.
It all started at a staff meeting when Service Manager Casey Rose suggested to Owners Lance and Liz Steward that they produce a hemp beer. Being open minded and welcoming employers, as described by employees, they were up for trying it out. At first, the brewmaster was reluctant to jump on board, but eventually warmed up to the idea. What he eventually ended up crafting was a smooth, light to medium body, hemp, honey, and hibiscus ale. (Remember, it’s hemp, it won’t get you high.)
Rather than just leave it at the beer, Just Jakes themed it up throughout the restaurant and pub, both in the decor and food. On Mar. 3, the beer was launched along with hemp infused foods like hummus, pizza, and energy bars.
Casey Rose also saw this as an opportunity to do a little educating, and organized for hemp products like clothes, personal products, paper, and insulation, as well as books on hemp and its many uses, to be there for patrons to peruse. She even did some hemp-themed artwork to hang on the walls. With every beer purchase, patrons also received a hemp bracelet. The evening was a huge success.
“So many people had no idea that you could use [hemp] for all this stuff, and thought ‘oh my god, I thought you could only this’.” Says Casey Rose.
Just Jakes and the Craig Street Brew Pub are fine examples of the direction business need to go. They buy as much local food as possible, grow their own herbs on their patio, and even have a bio-diesel shuttle that runs off of the fryer oil. Hemp is one of the world’s oldest food crops, and needs to be reintroduced into our daily lives, and it is reassuring that the fine people at Just Jakes are leading the charge. Hopefully we won’t need to wait too long for the next batch of hemp beer to be ready!

Member Profile : Ross Turchyn

By Ross Turchyn
A blade of grass grows through concrete, not because it wants to, but because that is what it must do—often because that is all it knows how to do.
Summers on the prairie are as long as a golden sea of wheat stretching off into the country mile. Both my grandparents owned farms, coming over from Germany and the Ukraine as teenagers. Spending my weekends and summers on the farm taught me man’s role in nature as steward and caretaker of the land he breaks, as well as what is surrounding what is yours.
At age 10 I drove a farm tractor, herded 70 head of cattle, and threw 60 lb hay bails for the 10 days of Harvest.
Weekdays I grew up in a variety of struggling but very “Leave it to Beaver” urban settings. The pure luck of it was being in an experimental program during elementary school called the Open-Air Classrooms and later in highschool the International Baccalaureate Program. I majored in psychology and minored in comparative religious studies at the University of Winnipeg.
The common unifier In Winnipeg is that -40˚C will kill you whether rich, poor, ugly, beautiful, lucky or not. From a rich community history of new emigrant farmers supporting each other in their common need to live, we developed cultural expressions like the art of a “social”—a paid party between all the relatives and friends that covers the cost of a honeymoon and wedding.
I was Top-Athlete and Top-Course on my Basic Military Training and served in an elite combat arms unit—armoured reconnaissance—where I swore an oath to give my life to protect yours. As a teenager my job was learning to blow up tanks. That is the nature of man’s choosing to struggle against nature or society, the desperation of a 150 lb man on foot single-handedly confronting 35 tons of armoured tank moving at 60 km an hour.
In 1989, I tree planted the coast from Feb. 4 to Sept. 15. In all weather for 12 hours a day, six days a week, with a steel blade and 30 lbs of trees strapped to my body, I negotiated a near vertical obstacle course of industrial wasteland called a clear-cut—for 15 cents a pop. It takes 20 years for a tree to begin producing oxygen, I have planted over half a million in the mountains of B.C. With the snow coming, I dropped back to my off-season cross-training job as a bike courier in Winnipeg over the winter.
Next season, two days before my birthday, I had my first diabetic episode on the tree planting block. It was only the beginning, as each layer revealed itself—malapsorption syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, myalgic encephalitis, Gilchrest syndrome, episodes of brain damage from functional hypoglycemia combined with ketone-acidosis (my blood was filling with ketones—ammonia converted to paint-thinner by my own metabolism). Over two years I transformed from a 185 lb super-hero into a 126 lb human being.
With all of my education, training, and direct human experience, it was only then I began to live.
As a disabled person, I began to learn human arts of living (compassion, patience, discipline) readily, because they were at the cost of the fulfillment of my life. That is how your strongest weakness can become your greatest strength.
Nothing i was doing changed, but everything I did changed. I took my training as a military observer, and nine years knowledge from tree planting and of human limitations in the pursuit of any goal, and worked in Nelson as a social-community business consultant and project organizer for seven years—coining the term “Person With a Disability,” participating in the choice of business incorporation for Shamballah, and operating a soup kitchen out of my home for eight months when the Salvation Army was internally audited and shut down without warning, cutting a life-line of community.
I am now attending UVic and Royal Roads studying communications, and nutritional and soil sciences to work as an international spokesperson and educator in nutraceuticals and biotechnology…but that’s just to pay the bills. Really, though, I have come to Victoria to express the truth of my self as a process of understanding the nature of man and society.
I find it profoundly disturbing that the combat life-expectancy for my job was 13 seconds—the giving of my life for my country was quantifiable and absolute. Every disabled person in B.C. receives $375/month shelter allowance, which includes utilities, so as to the living of my life in my country—I am worth half the market value of a regular human being. Combining that one detail with the income cap for PWD recipients determines in advance the rest of my life at below the poverty level.
Nothing comes to our hand but through another, in sharing what we love we grow community. When any circumstance is treated with presence, awareness, and respect, then every situation can be answered with genuineness, and growth happens. It is easy to save the world, find what you love and care for it.
My name is Ross Turchyn, Superhero (retired). I am a UVic student volunteer on loan to the CBC of C for the next five years.

the hicks

By Andrew Brown
They’re rude, crude, funny, and shocking—so offensive that the plug was pulled during a gig at a local gay bar. And they are proud of that. They are The Hicks, and indeed they are.
Some folks just don’t enjoy satire on this level, and take it too much at face value, in which case The Hicks just ain’t for y’all! But for all those Trailer Park loving, bong-hitting, fun-loving jesters, spin up a cannon and get ready for a session of gut-busting laughter. They are, indeed, the Cheech and Chong of country music (not to be confused with new country).
But, hidden amongst the hilarious songs and skits is a keen social and political awareness. “Father Mahoney” looks at some dirty deeds in the Catholic Church, “A Marijuana Party” skit looks at the BC Marijuana Party and the politics around the Marc Emery extradition, and the lunacy of our drug laws threads itself throughout their repertoire.
And for a bunch of hillbillies, they can sure play their instruments, and impress even die-hard bluegrass fans.
The only thing I just don’t get about these guys is that they aren’t famous. The Hicks belong in the record collection of all cannabis aficionados.
They have two albums out now, available at , and you can take a quick listen to them on their myspace page
They are also planning a TV show, among countless ideas constantly dreamed up during work “sessions.” What I’d love to see is a Hicks meet the Freak Brothers comic book!
To get the true sense of The Hicks, you need to see them live. They will surely be performing some gigs in support of their second album TOO, so check them out when they burn one through your town.

Stay Cool and Clean by Going Green

By Brittany Schina
Team 420 is making the move towards a more active green community, and working to break stereotypes of carelessness and laziness. Why don’t we all try to move towards a more sustainable, green community, by making eco-friendly clothing mainstream and dressing our local athletes and ourselves in it? When it comes to being active, going green is really the best way to stay cool and clean. This article explains the benefits of natural fibres for the production of athletic clothing, and also highlights the nutritious benefits of the hemp plant for healthy, active lifestyles.
Did you know that the most sustainable, natural fibres are actually the most effective at keeping you naturally cool? It’s true. Hemp is a fibre that grows abundantly without the aid of herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides, and needs little water. Hemp fibres are also much longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more insulating than cotton—making you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Not only does hemp allow your skin to breathe more readily than cotton, but it also blocks out harmful UV rays, making it an ideal material for outdoor sports uniforms. Hemp also has the versatility to be made into a variety of fabrics. This is why hemp makes the perfect athletic fabric and why Team 420 puts their logo on, and their athletes in, hemp tees.
Did you know that hemp has benefits for athletes and active people that go beyond comfortable clothing? Not only is it an ideal fabric to exercise in, but it is also a nutritious seed that has many nutrients necessary for healthy, active lifestyles. Dehulled hemp seeds are 40 percent protein and contain Omega 3, 6, and 9, which are the oils that give us energy and keep our hearts and immune system healthy—necessary oils for active and healthy lifestyles. Hemp seeds are often made into protein bars, protein powder, granolas, sauces, and dips. They can be processed into milk, cheese, ice cream, and margarine. Hempseed oil can be used as a healthy alternative in dressings, dips, and sauces, and can be combined with, or replace, many oils for cooking. Hemp foodstuffs make it easy to make healthy, alternative choices for active lifestyles.
Hemp’s antimicrobial properties make hempseed oil a great ingredient in cosmetics and body care products such as shampoos, lip balms, lotions, massage oils, salves, soaps, and detergents, providing health benefits for your body inside, and out.
Bamboo, a plant that is 100 percent naturally grown with no assistance from humans—meaning no pesticides, herbicides, and very little water, comparative to the hemp plant—is an ideal fabric for allergy prone skin.
Because of bamboo’s cooperative nature, it doesn’t need the harsh chemicals many fabrics need to be processed or dyed, making it much easier on sensitive skin. Bamboo is antimicrobial and antibacterial, so it is naturally resistant to bad smells and fungus. It is also three to four times more absorbent than cotton, making it the perfect fabric for active people. Bamboo naturally wicks away moisture, which then evaporates before it reaches your skin—keeping you feeling and smelling fresh. The same wicking action makes bamboo incredibly breathable, cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.
Not only does bamboo have the amazing benefits for athletes mentioned above, but it is also noticeably soft and comfortable, yet still tough. A bamboo tee will last much longer than any of the cotton tees you have in your wardrobe right now.
Athletic Ailments
Did you know that an all-too-common athletic ailment could be avoided and remedied simply by switching one of your everyday cotton staples to a hemp or bamboo replacement? Seventy per cent of the population (athletic or not) will suffer from this ailment at some point in their life and the simple fix lies on your feet. Yes, athlete’s foot is an infection that can be remedied by wearing hemp or bamboo socks.
As mentioned above, bamboo and hemp are both naturally antimicrobial and antifungal, making them the ideal fabrics to wear on a bacteria-prone part of your body—your feet! At Hemp & Company, we sell a diverse selection of hemp and bamboo socks from everyday wear—ankle socks and yoga toesocks, to business quarter-length dress socks. And if you already suffer from this common athletic ailment, there’s no need to worry—the socks will still help! Studies have proven that individuals suffering from athlete’s foot who switched to bamboo socks reported that the itching and burning symptoms of their ailment stopped within one to two days and, soon after, visible blisters and sores had diminished. Bamboo socks are also proven to retain these beneficial properties after many washes. Hemp socks, as they are composed of mainly the same properties, would have the same outcome.
Hemp and bamboo are also both hygroscopic, meaning that they absorb moisture and will not enable the moist warm environment in which bacteria thrive to exist—thus killing the bacteria before it gets a chance to spread. Hemp and bamboo not only leave your feet feeling good, but also smelling fresh; their natural ventilative properties ensure that they don’t retain smell.
Hemp and bamboo are two fibres that are ideal for the athletic and the health-conscious alike. The benefits of these resources go beyond comfortable clothing and stem into physical health. You can protect your skin and stay cool with no expense to the environment. Stay healthy, cool, and clean by going green!

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