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.

The Road to Legalization

Cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses.

Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.

Other plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we now know as marijuana.

— Indica vs. Sativa: What’s The Difference?

Queen Victoria (photo by Bassano 1882)The active ingredient in many 19th century patent medicines was cannabis.

There’s even an urban legend that Queen Victoria was a user.

(Or maybe it was true.)

The war on drugs put an end to medicinal cannabis in Canada..

But pain management has always been critically important for the quality of life of many who have suffered injury or chronic illness.

Although Canadians can access a wide variety of drugs through a doctor’s prescription, there are many variables.  When it comes to medicine, one size does not fit all:

  • what works for some patients doesn’t work for others.
  • long term use can decrease the effectiveness of pain killers, and
  • addiction and other side effects can reduce a patient’s quality of life.

Even as the emerging 20th Century pharmaceutical industry exploded into a rainbow of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, analgesics and the like, not every patient or disease is adequately served by prescription medicines.

And so, illegal or not, in the latter part of the 20th Century, growing numbers of Canadians sought pain relief from cannabis.

Civil Disobedience

Compassion clubs came to Canada in the late 1990s, based on similar medicinal marijuana clubs in the United States. The goal of compassion clubs is to provide safe access to medicinal, or medical, marijuana when there is no government-sanctioned program, or when such a program is not effectively meeting the need.


Compassion clubs exist to provide medical marijuana to people in need, but not all their members are licensed by Health Canada. While the clubs usually have their own strict guidelines for membership and providing cannabis—for chronic conditions, most clubs require a doctor’s note confirming a patient’s condition; for some conditions, a doctor’s prescription may be required—this does not make unlicensed members’ use legal. So, fear of prosecution is still a concern.

Compassion club operations, in fact, are illegal under Canadian law.

Compassion Clubs: Working for health and liberty

TIincture of Cannabis IndicaAfter nearly a century of total Cannabis prohibition, on December 10th, 1997, Ontario Judge Patrick Sheppard ruled that the law prohibiting 42 year old Terry Parker’s use of marijuana to treat his epilepsy was unconstitutional.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the ruling and gave the federal government 12 months to make it right..

One day before the expiration of the court ordered time limit (July 30, 2001) the government implemented the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) (PDF). The MMAR created a framework that allowed (only) patients suffering from designated severe and extreme conditions to go through a lengthy and complicated application process that might result in a government license allowing them to possess and use marijuana legally.

Worse, the regulations failed to provide patients with any way to actually obtain a legal cannabis supply.  This serious deficiency resulted in a succession of court challenges that eventually resulted in amendments that allowed patients to:

  • purchase dried marijuana from a single government supplier, or
  • grow their own, or
  • select a grower to grow cannabis for them

Many patients found the quality of the Health Canada’s cannabis to be inferior to cannabis available through Compassion Clubs or even the black market.  The nonprofit BC Compassion Club (BCCCS)  was founded in 1997, and has built a good reputation using knowledge and expertise to help patients find the best strain to address their health needs.

“Most of the harm associated with cannabis is actually due to the act of combusting,” notes [Jay Leung,communications coordinator for the BCCCS]. He adds that BCCCS has vaporizers for their clients to use, which produce the same effects as smoking without the health risks. The club also provides non-smoking options such as cannabis-infused oils and butter, tinctures (cannabinoids are extracted into an alcohol or glycerine base, then dropped or sprayed orally) and a variety of baked goods. And the dispensary sells items such as the vaporizers, forest-friendly rolling papers, glass pipes and more, which help members consume cannabis safely and effectively.”

Compassion Clubs: Working for health and liberty

Although these clubs or dispensaries operate outside the law, they have provided medical marijuana in the form chosen by patients.  Medical evidence demonstrates the connection between smoking and cancer, so it’s not surprising patients might prefer not to smoke their medicine.

Her Majesty the Queen v. Owen Edward Smith


When police found large amounts of cannabis-infused olive oil and cookies in the apartment of Owen Smith, former head baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, Smith was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.  At the time, Canadian Law only allowed patients to consume Medical Marijuana by smoking it in dried form in spite of numerous studies about the health risks associated with smoking.

Smith was acquitted in 2013  because  Mr. Justice Johnston found the Regulations that denied medical marijuana users any way to consume their medicine besides smoking to be arbitrary, unjustified and a breach of section 7 of the Charter.  The Province of BC appealed, and lost, and the Court of Appeal for BC ordered the federal Government to correct the law within a year.  The Harper Government chose instead to appeal Mr Smith’s successful constitutional challenge all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in January 2015.  In March the SCC upheld the ruling.

In 2014 the Harper Government changed the regulations, replacing the MMAR with Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) on April 1st, 2014.  The new regulations prohibited patients from growing their own, instead, they were required to purchase their supply of medicine from licensed commercial growers.

Legalization?

The 2015 federal election gave the Justin Trudeau Liberals a “majority” government with a mandate to legalize cannabis in Canada.  The new government placed the legalization file in the hands of rookie MP Bill Blair, better known as Toronto’s top cop during the infamous Toronto G20.  Understandably cannabis activists have not been reassured by this choice.

While there has been plenty of talk about the government commitment to legalization, more than 2 years into the government’s term, Canadians continue to be arrested for cannabis possession at alarming rates.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the R v Smith decision on edibles in 2015, it wasn’t surprising to see extensive consideration of cannabis edibles in the Government’s own Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. The surprise was that the first draft of the legislation that will eventually legalize cannabis for all Canadians originally excluded edibles from the 2018 legalization plans.

There was enough public pushback to convince the Standing Committee on Health to amend the draft legislation in October, 2017.  BILL C-45the Cannabis Act or, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, now intends to include edibles no later than 12 months after the law is enacted.  The frivolous 100-cm height limit on the four plants Canadians will be allowed to grow at home was also removed.

Edibles: Brownies and Caramel corn

Misinformation is dangerous.

Given that Cannabis was criminalized here without anything resembling scientific evidence, debate, or even any need for such a policy in 1923, Canada has undertaken little or no legitimate scientific study of the prohibited plant.  As a result, the scarcity of official empirical evidence frees opponents of legalization to make unfounded and often ridiculous claims in support of their own preconceived notions.

A a racist brochure created by Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services somehow made its way to the information desk at the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Tweet by Melia Robinson: This is how much marijuana it would take to kill you — from @davidschmader's excellent book, Frightening tales without any basis in fact repeated over and over during the decades of Cannabis Prohibition are blindly accepted by some.  Sometimes even counsellors tell “friend-of-a-friend” stories— urban legends— about people dying from eating pot brownies.

There have even been cases like the one where a professional pathologist imagined someone died from smoking a joint. The reality is that there’s no evidence cannabis use has ever killed anyone.  On the contrary, the evidence we do have indicates such a thing is not possible.

“7. Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.

“8. At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

“9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”

Judge Francis L. Young Ruling: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law & Decision re: Medical Marijuana | USA DOJ DEA (1988)

Former sources of information once considered to be an authority in substance use are being questioned with good reason: “Reefer Madness” has taken on new forms to serve corporate special interests.  As legalization approaches, the need for credible education is desperate.

And still government sends mixed messages.

“If you operate one of these facilities, consider yourself on notice.”
Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi

In spite of promises of legalization by July 2018, heavy handed law enforcement crack downs on grey market dispensaries are justified by the government because Cannabis is still illegal.

But the “offense of compassion” committed by medical marijuana dispensaries’ clearly has public support.  Justices tasked with sentencing the owners of these facilities are giving absolute discharges.

Producers Licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations have been recalling product mailed to patients.  It’s the users who are suffering most.  Unsurprisingly people seeking access through medical marijuana dispensaries are being pushed back into the black market.  What is the point of that?

Grey market dispensaries, like the Toronto Compassion Club, have been managing physician prescribed access to medical marijuana since 1997. The majority of public safety concerns stem from a lack of understanding of the values which created these grey markets in the first place.

Last summer, The Globe and Mail investigated products being supplied to patients at 9 dispensaries in Toronto. The results were not what most would expect from dispensaries denied access to professional quality testing. Fully two thirds (6 of 9) of the medical marijuana the Globe tested showed “contaminants were either not present or tested below the allowable limits set by Health Canada.”

Lisa Campbell, chairwoman of Women Grow Toronto, told VICE she’s hoping there will be a constructive conversation about regulating recreational versus medical dispensaries instead of having knee-jerk policies put in place. Norml Canada declares that the criminal prohibition of the cultivation and use of cannabis is no longer the most suitable measure for protecting public health and welfare and preventing the diversion of drugs into illicit traffic.

Waterloo Region

The City of Kitchener has not been very responsive to those seeking permits to offer safe access to cannabis, or lounges for consumption. Dispensaries that had been operating within the region were threatened with fines. Some closed their doors, while others continued to supply patients until they were raided.

Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness (ACCA)

About five or six months ago, Cory Orr and Tony Millar, founders of Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness (ACCA), sparked some interest at 44 Gaukel. The two were referred to the Waterloo Region Small Business Center. They connected with small business advisor Rob Clement, who advocated on their behalf.  ACCA has been the first cannabis related business approved for a WRSBC grant.

ACCA believes that craft cannabis, like craft beer, has a place in the market; their primary goal is to educate the public, which includes the acknowledgement there is good and bad everywhere.

“Everyone wants it (a lounge), but no one wants their name on it.”
— Tony Millar

Court decisions continue to uphold patient rights, while the the Minister of Health claims the government needs more time to work on designing an appropriate regulatory system to develop and implement regulations. ACCA acknowledges information provided by Health Canada is updated regularly, and cite current publications in order to maintain credibility.

Professor David Hammond at the University of Waterloo, has been a great resource for ACCA, with his graduate and student supervision. Hammond, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health, focuses his research on chronic disease prevention and global health in the areas of tobacco control policy, health diets and obesity prevention, as well as harm reduction and drug policy. Professor Hammond is studying the effects of vaporizing cannabis, to better support students with related research interests in cannabis and harm reduction related research interests.

ACCA began hosting information sessions at UC Vape September 15th 2017.

Edible Awareness

The first information night was inspired by Lisa Campbell’s presentation to the Toronto Business Licensing Committee and R v Smith.

ACCA hosted guest speakers from Magical Butter and the Green Market, as well as Charlene Freedom, who discussed the topical application of cannabis products.

Extract Awareness

The second information night included live demonstrations with a hydraulic rosin press by Rosin Arts and a live ice water extraction using Bubble Bags. These presses and bags will potentially be made available for rental in the near future. Another partner, Blue River will be the supplier of terpenes. According to their website, Blue River “offers the widest selection of award winning full spectrum essential oils naturally derived from whole plant cultivars. Our prices are based on grade, yield, and availability. Our pure essential oil products are designed to be used as a diluent for aromatherapy and vaporization.”

Cannabis Lounges and Activism

Jodie EmeryACCA’S third installment of their ongoing mission to educate the public, drew some media attention. Jodie Emery went into detail about her tireless legalization efforts within political circles, while keeping Cannabis Culture Magazine alive following husband Marc Emery’s extradition.

Abi Roach reminisced about when she started renting out a vaporizer back in 2003, to people looking for a place to consume their cannabis. The Hotbox Cafe in Toronto is celebrating it’s 14th year in operation. In the evenings “Hot Box Afterdark” hosts music and special events after 7pm. The Afterdark promotes itself as a great alternative to the bar scene. Abi spoke about how people need to consider what they’re advocating against, and that people shouldn’t have to get their pot from bikers.

Canna Relief, a product that will soon to be on shelves at your local Shoppers Drug Mart, was available for sample. The CBD drink is a specially formulated supplement containing a synergistic blend of vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and 20mg of pure CO2 extracted CBD derived from hemp stalk and seed. CannaSafety are confident that CannaRelief will help you control and manage THC anxiety so that you can safely and therapeutically benefit from your personal medicine.

CannaRelief supplement bottle

Patients First “Action Plan for Heath Care” [download PDF] aims to bridge the gap for patients to Access, Connect, Inform, Protect.

“Although dispensaries were not a focus of the parties’ submissions, I find Ms. Shaw’s evidence [as a representative of the dispensaries] to be extremely important as dispensaries are at the heart of cannabis access,”
—Justice Michael Phelan, Reasons for Judgment (February 2016) Allard decision [download PDF]

“Municipalities seem to want to help, but don’t want to put themselves at risk” said Millar.  Provinces are going to have to manage the regulatory aspects, but the proposed framework for new legislation does not leave room for the current market. On their website, the Liberal Party says “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars, along with a “zero-tolerance approach” to drug-impaired driving, and a “robust” public awareness campaign.

Perspectives on Canadian Drug Policy (Volume 1) John Howard SocietyBecause there were no advocates for the treatment of drug users prior to the late 1950s, it was easy for enforcement-related interests to implement harsh anti-drug legislation. This also meant that although drug users were often thought of as “sick,” imprisonment was a priority over treatment (Blackwell 1988:163).

“In addition, because habitual drug use was associated mostly with Chinese immigrants, many Canadians felt they were “immune from the effects of harsh drug legislation” (Alexander 1990:32).”

PERSPECTIVES ON CANADIAN DRUG POLICY Volume 1 The John Howard Society of Canada [Download PDF]

Canadians deserve evidence based harm reduction strategies. Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness is working with front runners in the early stages of a legal market, to provide the most up to date information, and in the near future, a place where the culture can thrive. Safe consumption sites will help integrate the shift in consciousness, as stigma is replaced by awareness.

Part II of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Back To Part I: “Why is Cannabis Illegal?”

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


Credits

Cannabis Indica Marijuana graphic modified from Cannabis indica – young plant by Nikodem Nijaki released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License via Wikipedia

Queen Victoria photograph by Alexander Bassano is a Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

H. K. Mulford Co. Tincture of Cannabis Indica bottle (Digitally enhanced image by Laurel Russwurm) based on a photograph of an exhibit at The Herb Museum, Vancouver (fair use)

Smoking by Yurton released with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain via Pixabay

Edibles: Brownies and Caramel Corn by Cannabis Culture released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License on Flickr

 tweeted image from David Schmader‘s book, “Weed“(Fair Dealing/Fair Use)

Cory Orr and Tony Millar portraits via LinkedIn (Fair Dealing/Fair Use)

Marijuana Cookies by Eli Christman released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License on Flickr

Cannabis Oil publicity photo by PeaceNaturals  (Fair Dealing/Fair Use)

Jodie Emery (cropped) Photo by Jeremiah Vandermeer released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License on Flickr

CannaRelief publicity photo via CannaSafety (Fair Dealing/Fair Use)

PERSPECTIVES ON CANADIAN DRUG POLICY Volume 1 The John Howard Society of Canada [Download PDF] (Fair Dealing/Fair Use)

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

[edited by Laurel L. Russwurm]

 

 

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

 

 

GPO EARLYBIRD Special Ends Oct 31st!

GPO 2018 Convention
The 2018 GPO Convention offers some excellent practical advice and workshops to help us get ready for the 2018 Ontario Election!

At the convention, you will have the opportunity to Connect with like-minded, passionate Greens from across the province.

Participate in practical campaign training to bring back to your local teams
Hear from inspiring speakers
Engage in policy and platform discussions

Check out the draft agenda here

Where: Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, 50 Stone Rd W, Guelph
When: Friday, February 2nd, to Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Get your tickets today!

Early Bird Special Ends October 31st, 2017

Waterloo & Kitchener Centre choose 2018 Candidates

WRGreens congratulate Waterloo’s “Zee” Zdravko Gunjevic and Kitchener Centre’s Stacey Danckert on their nomination as Green Party Candidates at Sunday’s combined WRGreens GPO Constituency Association nomination meeting at the Kitchener Public Library.

WRGreens Kris Braun introduces the Candidate Nominees
Stacey Danckert for Kitchener Centre
The former Waterloo Candidate talks about why she wants to represent Kitchener Centre.
The last riding boundary redistribution moved Stacey to Kitchener Centre
Zdravko Gunjevic for Waterloo
“Zee” Zdravko Gunjevic talks about why he wants to represent Waterloo
This is Zdravko Gunjevic’s first time seeking a political nomination
While the voting members cast ballots, Bryan Izzard readies the refreshments
Bryan’s fabulous food was (as always) a hit
Teresa announces the candidates!
Introducing the new candidates: Stacey Danckert and Zdravko Gunjevic
Julia Gogoleva and Sam Nabi talk about Volunteer Organizing for WRGreens
Small Group Discussion

A second combined nomination meeting for the other WRGreens ridings is in the works, possibly for December.  We’ll keep you posted!


Photos by Laurel Russwurm released under a Creative Commons Attribution License may be attributed to WRGreens.  These (and many more) are available in the WRGreens Flickr album.
NOTE: If you find yourself in one of our blogs or Flickr albums but would prefer not to appear there, or should you wish to remain but be identified by name, please contact Laurel at laurel.russwurm@gpc.ca

Don’t Let The Sun Set on Canada’s PEARL

Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
© by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Five years ago the 39% “majority” Harper Government wanted to close Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) of the Arctic.

But it didn’t.

Waterloo Region “Stand Up For Science” Rally at Carl Zehr Square (2012)

Even so, the Canadian science community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the 2015 election replaced the Harper Government’s 39% “majority” with a Justin Trudeau 39% “majority” that promised “evidence based policy.”

But it seems that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government— like Stephen Harper’s before it, intends to close Pearl.  There was no press release or discussion, PEARL was simply ignored in the budget.  No funds are forthcoming. The important program is finished without funding, if it shuts down science will no longer be done there.

Why would this ostensibly pro-science government chosen to shut down the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)?  This is a serious problem.

The Green Party of Canada released the following statement regarding the planned closure to Canada’s high Arctic research station:

The last time this vital research station on Ellesmere Island was threatened with closure was in 2012, during the infamous anti-science Harper years, which also featured the muzzling of scientists on the government payroll,” said Richard Zurawski, GPC Climate Change Critic.

“I am not surprised PEARL is on the chopping block again. The Liberals say a lot of nice things – mouthing all the proper words at the right time, projecting a pro-science and research campaign – while simultaneously choking off funding and giving vested fossil fuel interests a free hand,” Mr. Zurawksi said.

GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: “The Arctic recorded its eighth lowest summer ice extent, along with the lowest winter extent this year, and ocean levels are rising at their fastest levels on record, which threatens low-lying coastal cities.

“Why would a government, supposedly so committed to science, climate change and international collaboration, allow this research station to be closed? I wish I had an answer. Without research, we will not discover answers. And without answers, we cannot take educated, informed action on climate change,” Ms. May said.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL … and Canadian atmospheric climate science!

Sign the Evidence for Democracy Petition in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory

  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) © by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Find out more at Evidence For Democracy

Read the CREATE Arctic Science blog

Image Credits
Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and the photograph used in the Sign The Petition Save Pearl graphic are both © by Dan Weaver, and used with permission

Stand Up for Science and GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) photos © by Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License

 

September 17th: #WRGreens @OSWaterloo

The final Open Streets Waterloo of the 2017 season will take place from noon to 5pm, Sunday, September 17th, 2017.

We’ve been inspired by the Brantford-Brant Greens to try out a WRGreens button making set up where kids of all ages can create their own buttons.    Come on out and give it a try!

Once again you’ll find us in the Waterloo Square Marketplace.  Look for the WRGreens cube!  We hope to see you there!


[Reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens]