Creating this magazine can be a frustrating and lonely task. The curse of all writers and artists is that we work in private, usually alone, and we rarely meet those who read or enjoy our work.
Sometimes I forget that anyone ever reads this magazine, and the temptation to say to myself “why bother, no-one cares anyways” is often strong. I always resist that temptation, trying to make each issue a special work, spending many late nights ignoring my new family and trying to make each article as clear, informative and enjoyable as possible. Our contributors also work hard to meet deadlines and create good work for little pay, often waiting many months after publication to receive their compensation. Our design team of Mike Butts and Patty Mitropoulos works long hours to make each issue fun, eye-catching and relevant.
Yet what is most disheartening is not the police raids, the seizures of our magazine from hemp stores, nor the difficulties with printers or distributors who sometimes object to the content of our magazine. What is most frustrating and often angering is the attitude of those who are supposed to be our allies in this great battle for the freedom of the cannabis plant.
I love and appreciate the letters of support from our readers. Some write such glowing and emotional praise that it brings tears to my eyes. Yet it sometimes seems as if we are taken for granted by those who we are working with. It aggravates me when a hemp store or hemp clothing company tells us they don’t want to advertise in our magazine because we have “too many pot articles” and “not enough hemp.” I have no objection to those who wish to promote industrial hemp over marijuana, but let’s be real: the vast majority of those buying hemp clothes and supporting the infant hemp market are pot puffers, and to pretend otherwise is to delude yourself and deny your strongest supporters.
Perhaps because our magazine is glossy and looks snazzy people assume that we are rolling in cash, but this is not the case. Every issue is a struggle to finance, and we still have a long ways to go before we can say we are making a profit. So it hurts our magazine a lot when an advertiser decides not to pay for an ad. I’m tempted to name names but that would be uncharitable in this Christmas season.
And then there’s that darn phone-sex ad on our inside back cover. Over the past three years, I’ve received many letters telling me how readers appreciated that we didn’t have any phone-sex ads like High Times does. Now we have one, and although I’ve received a few complaints from readers, the biggest problem has been advertisers who feel that the presence of such an ad somehow tarnishes them by association. A few advertisers threatened to pull their ads, and one even broke off a three-issue contract because of the dreaded phone sex.
Although it’s true that I’d rather if every single ad in our mag was related to cannabis in some way, it seems puritanical and silly to be so offended by the ad’s presence. The fact is, that ad helped pay our salaries and keep this magazine going. To anyone who finds fault with us for running it I simply say this: buy the page yourself!
As far as I’m concerned, every hemp store in Canada should be buying at least a quarter page ad in this magazine. Most Canadian hemp stores did not exist three years ago, and many owe their existence (directly or indirectly) to our publisher, Marc Emery. Way back in issue three, Marc wrote an article called “How to Open a Hemp Store” in which he outlined very specifically what products to carry, which suppliers to buy from, even how to avoid shoplifters. We made hundreds of photocopies of this article and gave them away for free, and I know that many hemp stores, old and new, owe some or all of their success to this article.
Cannabis Culture and Marc Emery have also gone out of our way to support hemp stores that have been raided by police. When Marc owned Hemp BC he would regularly extend credit or supply free merchandise to raided stores, and CC continues to send out press releases and send free magazines to any raided stores in Canada. Yet when we need their support, where are they?
This isn’t to say that all hemp stores are ungrateful or unsupportive. Some, like Toronto’s Friendly Stranger or Edmonton’s True North Hemp have been with us since the beginning. However, by and large I must say that I am disappointed and saddened by the lack of support we receive from many of these businesses.
I’m sorry if this editorial is not as inspiring as some I have written. I have always tried to put a positive spin on things, and despite my complaints I have no doubt that CC will continue to grow and reach more and more people worldwide, and I will not cease in my efforts until marijuana is legalized in Canada and around the world.
But I hope that those who read this and recognize themselves will quietly open their chequebook and buy an ad, send us a donation, or otherwise support us, so that we can continue to promote legalization, fight prohibition, and be a strong voice for Cannabis Culture around the world.
Editor, Cannabis Culture