Farewell to Michael Purves-Smith

[reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens blog]

It’s clear that Elmira resident Michael Purves-Smith was celebrated in the realm of academia as a professor, and in the realm of music as a conductor, composer, and performer.

But the Michael Purves-Smith I knew was an engaged citizen concerned with democracy and local politics.

When the provincial Liberal Green Energy Act made a mockery of local planning in Elmira, Michael led the opposition to the Biogas plant against insurmountable odds. In my wildest imaginings I never expected to see the citizens of Elmira picketing Woolwich Township.

Michael’s passionate concern for the future of this planet led him to don Leadnow colours in hope of bringing real change to Canada.

And his was a familiar face at environment events throughout the region like the “Beyond Crisis” screening at the Waterloo Princess Theatre last fall.

Michael sought to lead Canadians beyond lip service to effective climate action, going so far as to write his own novel to wake us up to the urgency of climate change.

Michael Purves-Smith at his “Rocky Mountain Locust” book launch

The environment event Michael was working on before his passing has been put in limbo; it would be a suitable memorial for his event partners to carry on with: Partnering with Nature To Heal The Biosphere

Michael and Shannon Purves-Smith at the 2016 Green Party Convention, Calgary

There simply aren’t enough people like Michael Purves-Smith in the world.  If we follow his example of dedication and hard work, together we can prevail, both for ourselves and our children’s future.

Michael will surely be missed.

— Laurel Russwurm

Celebration of Life

Join Michael’s friends and family for a Celebration of Life memorial on Sunday, February 11th, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at Knox Presbyterian Church,
50 Erb St. West, Waterloo.


Further reading:

Purves-Smith: ‘Gentle, beautiful’ (The Record)

Biography (Music centre)

Tribute (The Elora Festival)

A Tribute to Michael Purves-Smith (Wellington Wind Symphony)

Michael Purves-Smith speaks to CTV following the protest and Woolwich Council Meeting (2014)

 

SOLD OUT 2018 GPO Convention This Weekend

This weekend’s GPO Convention in Guelph has sold out!

And no wonder!  Not only is there an Ontario election looming, but there’s an excellent lineup of speakers including elected Greens from across Canada:

Peter Bevan Baker
MLA for Kellys Cross-Cumberland –  PEI Greens Leader
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening

Hannah Bell
MLA Charlottetown-Parkdale – PEI Greens
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening
Women in Politics Panel

Sonia Furstenau
MLA for Cowichan Valley – BC Greens Deputy Leader
Guest Speaker Sunday Afternoon

For a complete lineup, visit

https://gpo.ca/2018-convention-in-guelph/

 

Farewell Trudy

Trudy Beaulne
April 19th, 1954 — January 5th, 2018

Community activist Trudy Beaulne, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, January 5th, 2018.

Trudy was an inspiration to me, and many others.  She was so passionate about making the world a better place as the Executive Director of the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region.

I have no doubt our community will feel her loss for decades to come.  We will miss her dedication, wisdom and humanity; and her skill at building bridges so we can hear each other.  You can help Trudy’s important work carry on, attend their events, find out what they need, or volunteer at the Social Development Centre if you can.   My heart goes out to her family & friends.

Bob wrote about Trudy for KWPeace.

Fairvote’s Sharon Sommerville remembered Trudy as well.

Trudy’s strength and passion glows through her words and her eyes in a small video I recorded the first time I heard Trudy speak.  “Values for Change” is my own remembrance of Trudy.

Today we say goodbye.

— Laurel

Funeral

Visitation: 10:00am to 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Sharing Memories: 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Where: Henry Walser Funeral Home
Location: 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener Map
Phone: +1-519-749-8467

 

We need your help!

The 42nd Ontario general election will be held on or before June 7th, 2018.

Canadian and Ontario politics are badly in need of some new voices; it has become painfully clear that if we really want real change, we need to stop voting for the candidate we think might win and start voting for the candidate who will best represent us.  After all, if we don’t start voting for what we want, we’ll never get it!

WRGreens need your help!  Volunteers can make all the difference, and of course your vote will always be appreciated.  You’ll find contact information for your WRGreens Riding in the menu link above, and if you’re not sure which is your riding, you can find out how from the “find your riding” link in the sidebar.

Although we don’t normally solicit donations here, with an election coming, this is a great time to donate if you’re going to, especially if you want the most bang for your buck.  If you get your donation in by December 31st, your donation limit resets to zero so your limit resets to 0 for 2018.

In spite of the mainstream claims the 2008 recession is over, we are aware that although it may be true for the one percent, it isn’t for most people.  If you aren’t in a position to donate; please don’t.  Come out to our events or volunteer instead!

If you can afford to donate now (or in the future), something I did not realize before joining the party is that political donations come with tax breaks. I was shocked to learn three quarters of anything you donate up to $400 will be refunded when you do your taxes!  After that the rebates reduce in size, check the chart below for details.

WRGreens aren’t set up to take online donations (yet) but you can donate directly to the Green Party of Ontario, your year-end donation of $5, $10, $25 or whatever you can afford will be most appreciated. Any donation you can make will help fund the preparations for our upcoming crucial election, mere months away!

Your Gift Tax Credit* Actual Cost
$5 $3.75 $1.25
$10 $7.50 $2.50
$25 $18.75 $6.25
$50 $37.50 $12.50
$100 $75 $25
$300 $225 $75
$400 $300 $100
$500 $350 $150
$750 $475 $275
$900 $550 $350
$1,200 $700 $500
*Based on your total tax credit for 2017

If your pre-New Year’s resolution is to make an end of year donation to the Green Party don’t delay!

And if there’s any cash in the kitty after making your GPO donation, you might want to consider a donation to the Green Party of Canada.

We need Green voices at the table, not just for today, but into the future. The Green Party is a grassroots party operating on a minimal budget; with your help we can run more robust campaigns, and elect more Greens!

[revised & reblogged from the Kitchener—Conestoga Greens blog]

The Politics of Cannabis Legalization

Part III of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

After 92 years of prohibition, the legality of Cannabis finally became a mainstream Canadian federal election issue in 2015.

The Conservative position was to toughen the laws.

The NDP Platform [Download PDF format: 5.1MB 81 colour pages] promised decriminalization immediately on forming government.  Recreational users could still be fined, but would no longer get a criminal record.

The federal Green Party platform promised legalization instead of decriminalization.

Ending the war on drugs

“Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.

“After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

“Green Party MPs will:

  • Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;
  • Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;
  • Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;
  • Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;
  • Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;
  • Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;
  • Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Like the Green party, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.promised Legalization, although not in quite the same way :

“We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.

“Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.

“To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

“We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.

“We will create a federal/provincial/territorial task force, and with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement, will design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.”

2015 Liberal Platform Online: Real Change: Marijuana (download the PDF: 8.0 MB 88 colour pages of the entire 2015 Liberal Platform)

“strategic” voting

The 2015 winner in our winner-take-all system was the Liberal Party, whose plan was to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

Making Law

It is possible for anyone to follow the process of creating the law online.

Anyone can read the draft legislation:

Third Reading version of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Download the 3rd Reading version PDF 1.4MB 148 pages

Follow what’s being said in Parliament about Bill C-45 on Open Parliament

Bill C-45 was introduced to the House of Commons by the Liberal Government, you can follow the process from introduction to Royal Assent at LegisInfo

Amendments to the legislation will go through the Standing Committee on Health HESA

Read all the briefs & testimony (if you use non-free software) watch the committee meeting video on ParlVu 

HESA COMMITTEE REPORT

Consultation

On November 21st, 2017 the Health Canada branch of the Justin Trudeau Government began a public consultation that will be open until January 19th, 2018. One might think the Government would undertake its public consultation before actually drafting legislation.  A cynical citizen might suspect such a backward agenda might indicate the consultation was purely for show.  An optimistic Canadian might think better late than never.

Canadians can participate in the Consultation on the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.

Rather than forming Cannabis policy based on what Canadians want, the consultation seeks feedback on its PROPOSED APPROACH TO THE REGULATION OF CANNABIS (which can also be downloaded in PDF format, 389 KB, 75 pages.)

Infographic: Supply chain for the commercial production and sale of cannabisThe Eyolfson Liberal Party website summarizes the proposed approach:

On packaging, we are proposing:

  • to make all products tamper-evident and child-resistant;
  • to limit the use of colours and graphics that would appeal to youth; and
  • to include mandatory health warnings similar to those on tobacco products

On licences, permits and authorizations, we are proposing to put in place a system that would:

  • enable a diverse, competitive legal industry that would include both large and small players;
  • reduce the risk that organized crime would infiltrate the legal industry; and
  • make sure that cannabis products meet high-quality standards.

and offers more background links including:

Infographic: Supply chain for the commercial production and sale of cannabis

Download the PDF format, 1.2 MB, 1 page

Proposed requirements for cultivation, processing, and federal sale licences

Download the PDF format, 182 KB, 1 page

Infographic: Proposed requirements for cultivation, processing, and federal sale licences


The different provinces are taking different approaches as to how they will implement cannabis legalization. Emery: Reefer monopoly madness – government doesn’t want to legalize pot, but DOES want to profit from it

“The Liberal’s big government ‘lets benefit political insiders’ approach to things just doesn’t make sense.”
— Mike Schreiner, Leader, Green Party of Ontario

The Provincial Green Party of Ontario opposes Monopolized Marijuana

To legalize marijuana sales in Ontario, the GPO supports:
✅ Regulating and licensing small businesses and dispensaries to sell marijuana in a safe and controlled way
✅ Ensuring tax revenues from marijuana sales are used to fund education, mental health and addiction programs
✅ Creating more local jobs and boosting prosperity by supporting small businesses

But the Green Party is not in charge.

Canadian Cannabis Crackdown

Because cannabis was illegal before any sort of scientific testing was done, there has been precious little modern scientific study of the substance.  What little study there has been suggests negative effects of cannabis are less harmful than many other substances that can be purchased openly and legally by anyone.  Like aspirin. People can kill themselves with aspirin.  But it is physically impossible for anyone to kill themselves with cannabis.

The worst health risks with cannabis centre around the fact that it is most often smoked in combination with tobacco, and we now know tobacco is hazardous to our health.  And yet the Canadian Government only allowed patients access to edibles after another Supreme Court challenge.

We believe, however, that the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself or the regulated marketing of the substance. In addition, we believe that the continued criminalization of cannabis undermines the fundamental values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and confirmed in the history of a country based on diversity and tolerance.
— Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs (2002) 
REPORT OF THE SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ILLEGAL DRUGS

And yet the Canadian Government promising cannabis legalization has increased it’s war on cannabis even more.  They are cracking down on cannabis at a frantic pace in the lead up to legalization.

This is not right.

Who profits?

 “I see legalizing [marijuana] or putting it in shops as trying to normalize narcotics, when the truth is there is nothing normal about it. It’s a mind-altering drug that causes impairments and like cigarettes is not healthy.”

Fantino says he understands the enticement of marijuana. It’s a new cash frontier where many people, including many former police officers and politicians, could get in on the ground floor. This helps explain why the marijuana lobby is so opposed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Trudeau might be their best chance to move this fight forward. With Harper, it’s dead.

“There’s a lot of money in it,” Fantino said. “Big money.”

He said he was offered “to fall in with a company” that wanted to pay him very well to simply lend his name to it.

Not a chance. “I would never do it.”

—Toronto Sun: Legal pot would be boon for organized crime: Fantino (October 16, 2015)

Julian Fantino, who once compared weed to murder, defends opening medical marijuana business

@JodieEmery Following Following @JodieEmery More Unfairness. Thousands of peaceful people continue to suffer arrest, jail, criminal records, exclusion for pot — while cops & politicians who opposed legalization & ruined lives with the law are cashing in on legal weed, with no apology. Here’s a list of their names & companies.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

QUOTATION Jodie Emery red CCby editor Jeremiah Vandermeer-ctv


Personal note:

I urge every Canadian to participate in the government’s consultation, even those— especially those— like me, who have no personal connection with cannabis.

Regards,
Laurel Russwurm

p.s. Jodie and Marc Emery are facing a massive fine as a direct result of their cannabis activism. If you wish to support their work, you can do so at the Marc and Jodie Emery Support gofundme Page


Cannabis Canada flag
WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Go back to Part II: “The Road to Legalization”

Go back To Part I: “Why is Cannabis Illegal”


CREDITS

Canadian Canabis graphic created from Cannabis Chemistry art by Kyrnos with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain on Pixabay

Quotation from “Cannabis Culture dispensaries: What I did, and why” by Jodie Emery ~ Photograph by Cannabis Culture editor Jeremiah Vandermeer, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

The List of Law Enforcement, Politicians and Public Servants compiled by Jodie Emery

Special thanks to @vansopinion8ted for the excellent tip.

A Bad Day for Canada

École Polytechnique ~ 6 DÉCEMBRE, 1989 ~ Geneviève Bergeron 1968-1989 civil engineering student Hélène Colgan 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Nathalie Croteau 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Barbara Daigneault 1967-1989 mechanical engineering student Anne-Marie Edward 1968-1989 chemical engineering student Maud Haviernick 1960-1989 materials engineering student Maryse Laganière 1964-1989 budget clerk at École Polytechnique Maryse Leclair 1966-1989 materials engineering student Anne-Marie Lemay 1967-1989 mechanical engineering student Sonia Pelletier 1961-1989 mechanical engineering student Michèle Richard 1968-1989 materials engineering student Annie St-Arneault 1966-1989 mechanical engineering student Annie Turcotte 1969-1989 materials engineering student Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz 1958-1989 nursing student

December 6th, 1917 was the day thousands of people died, and thousands more were injured in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The Halifax Explosion was the largest explosion the world had ever seen before the nuclear age.  Today is the hundredth anniversary of that horrific event. But bad as it was, it was an accident.

The same can not be said for the tragic event of December 6th, 1989.

A disturbed young man deliberately murdered Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz at the École Polytechnique.

Because they were women.

I chose to use the roses because they were part of a candlelight vigil in on December 6th, 2016 in Chilliwack, BC.  People across Canada continue to share in this sorrow.

In response to our collective mourning of the Montreal Massacre, in 1991, the Canadian Government designated the 6th of December as the “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada.”

Decades later, Canadians continue to mourn, but the sad fact is that violence against women in Canada shows no sign of abating.  Perhaps we need more than a day.

 


Image Credit

Roses [Dec 6 vigil 5 Corners-1]” cc by University of the Fraser Valley have been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Why is Cannabis Illegal?

Cannabis sativa by Otto Wilhelm Thomé

French pioneer apothecary Louis Hébert was the first European farmer in Canada. Cannabis Sativa, a plant known as “hemp,” was one of his crops.

The sails of sailing ships, canvas, rope, and linen were all manufactured from the rugged fibres of the hemp plant. As was the earliest known paper. Hemp dominated the paper trade until it was replaced by wood fibre in the 1800s.

Hemp stem showing fibers

When the Indian strain of Cannabis that had been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years became a popular ingredient in 19th Century Western medicine, French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck “came up with the name Cannabis indica to distinguish Indian cannabis from European hemp.”

War On Drugs

There were no illegal drugs in Canada prior to the 20th Century.  Deputy Minister of Labour William Lyon MacKenzie King changed all that in 1908.

“On Sept. 7, 1907, the Asiatic Exclusion League of Vancouver went on a rampage though the city’s Chinatown and Little Tokyo. No one was killed, but there was considerable property damage.

“The Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier sent William Lyon Mackenzie King, the country’s first deputy minister of labour, to investigate.”Among the many individuals who submitted claims for restitution were several Chinese opium dealers, which prompted King to study the opium trade in Vancouver.

“There were no laws then governing the use of opium or other drugs; and, in fact, during the 19th century, laudanum, a mixture of liquid opium and alcohol and highly addictive, was popular as a pain remedy.

“King was stunned by what he learned about the corrupting influence of opium, connected as it was with widespread notions that Chinese men used opium to exploit and sexually assault white women.”

— Winnipeg Free Press: Canada’s 100 year war on drugs

Asiatic Exclusion League Riot Aftermath
Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC

Rather than formulating policy to address Vancouver’s anti-immigrant racism, the Government based its first drug law, the Opium Act of 1908, on the Report by W. L. Mackenzie King, C.M.G., Deputy Minister of Labour, on “The Need for the Suppression of Opium Traffic in Canada.

A year later the Canadian Government instituted the first legislation to regulate the use of medicine to protect the public in The Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act (1909).  As an ingredient used in many such medicines, cannabis was regulated by this act.

The illicit opium smuggling that sprang up in answer to the Opium Act warranted a Royal Commission.  Its recommendations to:

  • make sale, possession & smoking illegal drugs separate offenses, and
  • increase the power of police search and seizure

were incorporated in the “Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs” in 1911.

The institutional racism of the day was reflected by the segregation within the title of the act, meant to differentiate between illegal drugs used by Chinese (opium) and white users (cocaine and morphine).

The British influence

“While the Chinese were being blamed for bringing opium to Canada’s doorstep, it was the mighty British colonial empire that was harvesting, refining and selling the drug on a massive scale.

“The British controlled vast poppy fields in South Asia — and soon discovered that making opium in India and shipping it to China made for very profitable business.

“As the drug began to flood into China, wreaking havoc on the economy and society, Chinese authorities attempted to shut it down by boarding British ships and destroying opium shipments.

“The British army responded by arresting those responsible and seizing harbours, ports, and cities along China’s coast and up the Pearl River.”

— Drugs: What’s race got to do with it?

When William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister, the scope of his legal war on drugs continued to expand with the Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill in 1923.   Part of the reason for this law was to combine the growing body of law dealing with illegal drugs into one. Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health) ~ Liberal ~ Mr. BELAND: There is a new drug in the schedule. Bill reported, read the third time and passed. | Topic: NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL

At the end of the third reading debate in April, Canada’s Health Minister, Henri Sévérin Béland announced, “There is a new drug in the schedule.”

There was no discussion, just that one sentence spoken in Parliament added Cannabis to the Schedule of Controlled Substances without even naming it aloud in Parliament.  (It was passed by the Senate without a word as well.)

There had been no mention of cannabis in the draft legislation (although it had been appended to one of the copies) but more importantly, it wasn’t a social issue when they made it illegal.  Most Canadians hadn’t even heard of the stuff (under any name).

Those who had, knew of it as “marahuana,” thanks to the sensational writings of Judge Emily Murphy (of Famous Five fame). Her series of articles about illegal drug use for Macleans Magazine published under the pseudonym “Janie Canuck” formed the basis of her book “The Black Candle.”  Taken as a whole, the racist dogwhistle Ms Murphy’s book was blowing warned of an international drug conspiracy to bring about the “downfall of the white race.”  Several of the photographs depict addicted white women consorting with men of colour to help drive home Ms Murphy’s race war narrative.

“One becomes especially disquieted — almost terrified — in face of these things, for it sometimes seems as if the white race lacks both the physical and moral stamina to protect itself, and that maybe the black and yellow races may yet obtain the ascendancy.”

—The Black Candle, Chapter XL “Black Smoke”

The incendiary book plied the reader with misinformation about of the dangers of “marahuana.”  Although hemp was grown in Canada, there was no actual evidence supporting Ms Murphy’s imaginings, although she had no shortage of specious “expert” testimony to present.

Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons’ using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured Without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.

“When coming from under the influence of this narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will power, and their mentality is that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict.

— The Black Candle, Chapter XXIII “Marahuana— A New Menace

Ms Murphy’s best seller is thought by some to have influenced the decision to quietly add Cannabis to the schedule a year later. First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon

At the time they made it illegal, Cannabis was such a non-issue that:

“The first seizure of marijuana cigarettes occurred only in 1932, nine years after the law had passed (p. 182); the first four possession offences (it is not clear whether these were charges or convictions) occurred in 1937, 14 years after cannabis was criminalized (p. 599)

The Origins of Canada’s Cannabis Laws

No one really knows the “why” of it.   Racism was clearly a factor in Canada’s war on drugs, but the reality was that Marijuana didn’t become a social issue until long after Cannabis had been made illegal.  Although criminalization led to a handful of arrests here and there, marijuana arrests never exceeded 100 annually prior to the 1960s.  Some think the real reason Cannabis was added to the schedule was to eliminate the hemp industry, but something else to consider is that its inclusion in the schedule meant it could no longer be used for medicinal purposes in Canada, so pharmaceutical competition may have been the reason.

The maximum penalty for possession of small quantities was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence.[26] Convictions for cannabis skyrocketed, from 25 convictions between 1930 and 1946, to 20 cases in 1962, to 2,300 cases in 1968, to 12,000 in 1972.[27] The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increased maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.[28]

Wikipedia: Legal History of Cannabis in Canada

In 1961 Parliament replaced the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act with the Narcotic Control Act to be able to ratify the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs  (PDF)

Even though Cannabis still hadn’t become a big problem, its continued presence on the Schedule was supported by the Minister of National Health’s (now debunked) argument that it was a gateway drug,

The use of marijuana as a drug of addiction in Canada is fortunately not widespread. It, however, may well provide a stepping stone to addiction to heroin and here again cultivation of marijuana is prohibited except under licence.

— Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare), Hansard

But by the mid-1960’s the recreational drug culture had become a social problem among Canadian youth.  Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government tasked Gerald Le Dain to look into it.  LeDain’s Royal Commission of Inquiry Into The Non-Medical Use of Drugs invested four years in an exhaustive study of the issue, even going so far as to interview John Lennon in December 1969.

Lennon’s testimony suggested flagrant government misinformation about the effects of marijuana led users to assume legitimate government warnings about the hazards of hard drugs were also unfounded propaganda. And indeed, the Le Dain Commission concluded that there was no scientific evidence warranting the criminalization of cannabis.

When the Le Dain Commission Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs was turned in, Pierre Trudeau chose to ignore its recommendations to decriminalize possession and cultivation for personal use, reduce penalties for trafficking, and decriminalize non-commercial sharing.

Marie-Andree Bertrand, writing for a minority view, recommended a policy of legal distribution of cannabis, that cannabis be removed from the Narcotic Control Act (since replaced by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and that the provinces implement controls on possession and cultivation, similar to those governing the use of alcohol.[2]”

Wikiwand: Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs

Michel Trudeau

Some years later, former Prime Minister Trudeau’s youngest son Michel was charged with possession of marijuana, not long before his 1998 death in an avalanche.

Today’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a young man at a Vice Town Hall about his brother’s predicament:

“…he was charged with possession. When he got back home to Montreal my Dad said, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ reached out to his friends in the legal community, got the best possible lawyer, and was very confident that we were going to be able to make those charges go away.

“We were able to do that because we had resources, my Dad had a couple connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.”

— Five Things We Learned Interviewing Justin Trudeau About Weed” ~ Vice


Part I of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Ahead to Part II: “The Road to Legalization”

Ahead to Part III: “The Politics of Cannabis Legalization”


Image Credits

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé public domain image circa 1885 via Wikimedia Commons

Hanfstengel (Hemp stalk fibre) Public Domain image by Natrij

William Lyon Mackenzie King public domain image from City of Toronto Archives

Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC Public Domain image shared by Vancouver Public Library

Henri Sévérin Béland Hansard quotation on the April 23, 1923 NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL Parliamentary debate, image reproduced from the University of Toronto’s LiPaD (Linked Parliamentary Data Project). Follow the entire discussion or any other historic Canadian Hansard Parliamentary Debate with LiPaD

The Black Candle” cover (and the whole book) via Internet Archive are in the Public Domain

First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon Public Domain Image released by Vancouver Public Library Special Collections on Pinterest

Michel Trudeau photo by Kari Puchala (CP FILE PHOTO) used under the Fair Dealing exemption

Canadian Canabis graphic created from Cannabis Chemistry art by Kyrnos with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain on Pixabay

Celebrate Our Waters: A Family Event, Book Launch and Fundraiser

Our Green friends in Brantford—Brant have extended us an invitation to a multifaceted family event in support the Paris Pit Ministerial Appeal.

Snack on delicious desserts and enjoy fantastic live music with Madison Galloway and check out the live auction with Nick Maidment.  You’ll also have an opportunity to meet special guest Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert, a researcher and toxicologist who’s published more than eighty papers and book chapters on the metabolism of toxic chemicals. Her most recent work was on the Paris Pit case with the Concerned Citizens of Brant (CCOB).  She’ll also talk about her new book Fighting Dirty: How a Small Community Took on Big Trash, the story of one small group of farmers, small-town residents, and Indigenous people who took on the world’s largest waste disposal company to stop them from expanding a local dumpsite into a massive land fill.

It struck me early on, though, that for all their deep roots in this land, community members didn’t have a voice in decisions about how that land was to be used. As a scientist, I was trained to be dispassionate, objective, logical, rational—and none of that changed. But for the first time in my personal life, I joined forces with a community of people as they fought to avert environmental catastrophe.
— Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert

If you’ve already got your copy of “Fighting Dirty,” bring it along so Dr. Forkert can sign it; but if you haven’t, I expect you’ll be able to pick up a copy on Saturday.

Brantford-Brant Greens, the Grand River Environmental Network, OPAL Alliance and others have partnered with the CCOB in sharing our concern for this fragile watershed and supporting the precautionary measures that must be taken to protect our water.

Celebrate Our Waters: A Family Event, Book Launch and Fundraiser
Saturday, November 18the, 2017
2-5pm
St. Paul’s United Church
48 Broadway Street West,
Paris, Ontario, N3L 2S5

Check out the event’s Facebook Page

For background on the appeal visit:
http://www.cela.ca/publications/concerned-citizens-brant-reply