CANNABIS CULTURE – A comparison of the complaints against gay versus high protesters exposes gaping oversights in the logic of euphoriaphobes.
In the May 14th, 2016 edition of the Vancouver Sun, a freedom of information act request regarding the number and nature of complaints to the city regarding the 4/20 Farmer’s Market at Sunset Beach was obtained by an investigative reporter named Bob Mackin. His story began thusly:
“Last month’s 420 marijuana smoke-in at Sunset Beach sparked more complaints to Vancouver city hall than last year’s Pride Parade, Celebration of Light finale and Halloween combined.”
Regarding the nature of the complaints, examples were provided:
“It’s not a pot protest,” said one complainant, whose name, like the others, was withheld by the city for privacy reasons. “It’s a party at a beautiful beach. I’m annoyed that because of this the Aquatic Centre and cafe had to be closed down and that the taxpayer is on the hook for this ‘event.’ You guys need to step up and say NO to [co-organizer Jodie] Emery.” “If pot was legal and they got a permit, then fine,” said another. “I know the city says they haven’t sanctioned it but in actual fact they have sanctioned it by not doing anything.”A complaint taker wrote that a Vision Vancouver member “feels it’s disgusting that he cannot take his daughter to a public beach today, because he sees illegal activity.” He is tired of this, feels these people don’t even live in Vancouver, they should be protesting where they live, in Surrey.” An area resident said that a dinner party for 10 was cancelled because guests refused to drive in the neighbourhood. A caller living next to Sunset Beach said she had asthma and was forced to leave her home. “She states that the mayor should have control over the city and not let unsanctioned events occur.”A 16th floor apartment dweller said the music was so loud that windows and pictures on the wall vibrated. Another could hear the music all the way from 13th and Fir. One complainant was concerned for the safety of police officers who had to drive back to headquarters after hours of inhaling pot smoke.“This event should not be held in a residential area. Council should ask themselves who is paying their salaries. I am quite sure the protesters are not. I would demand the 420 event be prohibited from Sunset Beach in the future.
Interesting that the complaints consisted mainly of
1) protesting the wrong way
2) having nothing left to protest
3) being disobedient
4) making noise
5) costing the taxpayer money
6) causing harm from secondhand smoke,
and last but certainly not least,
7) cannabis will harm a child automatically … just from being near that child.
Methinks they complain too much.
The first four complaints are easy to address:
1) These protests have resulted in (or have not interfered with) massive reforms in cannabis policy over the years. During the years there were no protests (1980s) there were also no reforms. Coincidence? I think not. Protests are examples of the world we wish to live in, on display for the world to see. They give reporters a chance to interview many people on the same topic, or to tell stories that would otherwise not be told. They allow us to network, to compare notes and step up our game. That’s why the Pride Parade and the Farmer’s Market keep getting bigger every year – the majority want to see these things and experience these things, regardless of the wishes of intolerant but powerful minorities.
2) Most if not all of the models being proposed currently exclude teens from using cannabis legally. Teens “comprised 24% of those accused of cannabis offences…” and all existing or proposed legalization models have unreasonable restrictions: security and accounting and zoning and licensing restrictions to which no other soft drug producer or distributor must adhere. These restrictions are justified with the lie that cannabis is harmful to youth. When this lie is exposed for what it really is: Reefer Madness 2.0, the young and the poor will be included in – and can take advantage of – legalization.
Here is my proof that the “cannabis inherently harms developing minds” argument is built of lies.
Until everyone is included in legalization, it will continue to be a protest. Like Dr. King pointed out: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Until all cannabis laws make are based upon reason and science, we are always at risk of being subjected to more unreasonable, discriminatory treatment by society.
3) Disobedience is how every major progressive move towards justice and harmony has been made in the last 100 years. Labour rights, anti-poverty rights, anti-war concessions, women’s equality, anti-colonial rights, civil rights, ecological protection, LGBT rights and Indigenous people’s rights have all been realized by acts of civil disobedience. When society adopts a political system that can allow for easy rational transformations, no doubt the risk and suffering of the disobedient will be abandoned in favour of more civilized methods of addressing problems. Until then, as Dr. King himself argued, it’s everyone’s duty to disobey unjust laws.
4) The Gay Pride parade is noisy. The fireworks are noisy. Why don’t they get complaints?
And then I thought … “cigarette butts are everywhere.” Why does corporate cigarette pollution go unnoticed – even though it’s literally everywhere – whereas a contained amount of pot rally garbage warrants its own press conference? Second-hand car exhaust smoke is everywhere. Why does cannabis second-hand smoke (non-lethal, minimally problematic) result in closures of aqua-centers but everyday car exhaust (lethal, oil spill spill causing, oil war causing, climate destabilizing) continues on without so much as a murmur from these “health and recreation” establishments?
Perhaps it is the fact that we are still technically illegal (legalization isn’t a reality for the vast majority of the pot community) yet loud and proud. It is this “both illegal yet proud” condition of being – not the noise levels or anything else – that ends up being the true origin of the complaints. Maybe some people in society only feel comfortable complaining about some scapegoats when the law is backing them up.
Maybe it is only after the law completely protects the scapegoat from discrimination that certain members of society will no longer feel the need to condemn the formerly-persecuted group. Perhaps it is just easier to get your hate and frustration out on the official enemies of the state rather than the corporations who are the ones actually killing you.
Scapegoats of yesteryear
So I decided to test that theory. I Googled “Vancouver Gay Pride History” and Ron Dutton’s name came up – he is the keeper of the “BC Gay and Lesbian Archives.” He kindly invited me over and showed me the files – it’s a massive collection.
I asked to see the folder with the first of the Gay Pride Parade clippings. I figured there was a lot of resistance to the Gay community’s initial appearance on the scene. Turns out I was right.
First, a little Canadian homosexual history lesson to bring everyone up to speed before we look at the 1980 file:
Before 1859, the Province of Canada prosecuted sodomy under the English Buggery Act. In 1859, the Province of Canada enacted its own buggery law in the Consolidated Statutes of Canada as an offence punishable by death. Buggery remained punishable by death until 1869. A broader law targeting all homosexual male sexual activity (“gross indecency”) was passed in 1892, as part of a larger update to the criminal law of the new dominion of Canada [ref]. Changes to the Criminal Code in 1948 and 1961 were used to brand gay men as “criminal sexual psychopaths” and “dangerous sexual offenders.” These labels provided for indeterminate prison sentences. Most famously, George Klippert, a homosexual, was labelled a dangerous sexual offender and sentenced to life in prison, a sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada [ref]. He was released in 1971. Canadian law now permits anal sex by consenting parties above the age of 18, provided no more than two people are present [ref]. The bill amending Canada’s sodomy laws was the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (Bill C-150), which received royal assent on June 27, 1969. The bill had been introduced in the House of Commons by then Minister of Justice Pierre Trudeau [ref], who famously stated that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”[ref]
Thanks Wikipedia, and CBC! And from the book “Vancouver Was Awesome” (Lani Russwurm, 2013) – the source for that cool photo at the beginning of this article. And to lifeasahuman.com where I found this information:
“Canada’s national gay rights movement was launched on August 28, 1971 with concurrent “We Demand” demonstrations at the Vancouver Court House (where twenty people participated) and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where there were several hundred. The two rallies were timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Bill C-150, the legislation that decriminalized homosexual acts in private between any two persons over the age of twenty-one. Bill C-150 is a milestone in Canadian human rights history, but it did not bring legal equality. The protesters targeted federal policies with their ten demands, including the removal of references to homosexuality from the Immigration Act and vague terms such as “gross indecency” from the Criminal Code, as well as equal legal rights with heterosexuals.”
I could not for the life of me find any mention of the August 28th, 1971 Vancouver Court House demonstration in either the Vancouver Province or the Vancouver Sun, but I did manage to find an ad for Readers Digest from the Friday, Sept. 3rd Province with the title “HOW YOU INFLUENCE YOUR CHILD’S SEXUALITY” that boldly stated:
“According to the best evidence so far, homosexuals are made – not born. A complex of life situations and influences through infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood are involved in the ultimate sexuality of your child. Little comments by parents such as “He’s not going to be an athlete like his brother” or “She’s a real little tomboy” may compound any confusion about a child’s sexual identity. A leading psychiatrist openly discusses this age-old problem in September Reader’s Digest. Get your copy today.”
By 1980, when the Vancouver GLBT was ready to create a “Gay Unity Week” for the local community, they then ran into resistance from the same communities that created the original persecution in the first place: the hateful, the ignorant, and the fundamentalists:
But Ald. George Puil, a high school teacher, said the week would be used to promote the gay lifestyle, “and as a school-teacher I certainly wouldn’t want to go along with that.” Ald. Warnett Kennedy, said Vancouver people would be uneasy at the thought their children could be affected, by gay teaching and hoped Vancouver would not follow the example of San Francisco … Voting in favour of the city proclaiming unity week were only Marzari, Rankin and Mike Harcourt. Opposed were Puil, Gerard, Kennedy, Volrich, Little, Ford, Don Bellamy and Hellen Boyce.
– “Council rejects proclamation for Gay Unity Week”, Vancouver Sun, July 23, 1980, p. A3
Meanwhile, Alderman George Puil charged that proclaiming a Gay Unity week from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 would be tantamount to “promoting their lifestyle.” He said the subject was too controversial and an unfit subject for proclamation. Alderwoman Bernice Gerard agreed with Puil and cited an earlier refusal by Mayor Jack Volrich to proclaim a Reverence For Life Week protesting abortion as a precedent for refusing political and controversial proclamations. “I think gays are seeking political power and I am not going to help them.” she added. “If they want unity, let them work for unity among themselves like other diverse groups.” Puil’s and Gerard’s comment were met with loud cheers from a gallery packed with fundamentalist Christians, while the small group of gays in the audience listened quietly as their request was denied (although they still plan to hold their week of gay celebrations). Alderman Don Bellamy charged that the proclamation request was just a “cheap ploy” aimed at embarrassing the mayor and council, while Alderman Harry Rankin took shots at an earlier speaker who suggested that proclaiming a gay unity week would leave unsuspecting school children open to victimization by gay teachers.
– “City spurns gays’ request”, Vancouver Courier, July 24, 1980
“Vancouver’s gay community is not, as Thomas Barske suggests, a cultural group. Members of a cultural group share a common descent or heritage, something lacked by members of a gay community, by any definition.”
– Suzanne Morphet, Vancouver Sun, Aug. 5, 1980, p. A5
“What every NPA alderman except Helen Boyce said in his or her incoherent way is that you can turn gay, just like that, just by being around gays. They have this trick. Nobody knows what it is, but it’s there. It’s a well-known fact. And, even if it doesn’t work on red-blooded he-men like Little and Kennedy, and demure feminine biddies like the Rev. Gerard, well, watch out for our children. They really like children.”
– Sean Rossiter, Twelfth & Cambie, Vancouver Magazine, Sept. 1980, p. 206
What ended up happening was that the LGBT activists managed to hold their Gay Unity Week without the city’s proclamation. By the next year – 1981 – the activists began their Pride Parade tradition, the NPA had lost control of the mayor’s office to Mike Harcourt, and Harcourt’s aid – Jane MacDonald, read the new Mayor’s proclamation of Gay Unity Week to a “jubilant crowd in Alexandra Park.” It appears that the people who did their best to prevent a scapegoated minority from gaining political power in 1980 immediately lost their own political power in the process.
So from 1967 – when Pierre Trudeau began the process of giving the LGBT community the first taste of equality – to 1981 – when Mike Harcourt sanctioned their Pride Week – there was 14 years of community building. A comparable time frame was when the Canadian establishment began the process of giving the pot community our first taste of equality – the Parker decision of 2000 – to this year, when Vision Vancouver City Hall first (sorta) sanctioned our major pot event – 16 years of community building. So the LGBT 1981 was our 2016.
And the Pride Parade became an official “civic event” in 2013 – with members of the police and the City participating in the actual parade – just 32 years after being sanctioned by the city. If the rate of progress is similar for the cannabis people, we can expect our Mayor and our police toking down with us at the 420 Farmers Market of 2038 at the latest.
The “wasted tax money” complaint
Then there was the complaint about the Farmer’s Market costing the tax payer big bucks.
The costs break down as follows (not including regular staff time):
Vancouver Police Department $99,400
Vancouver Park Board $24,000
Streets and Sanitation $13,600
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services $6,900
Traffic, Special Events & Emergency Management $4,100
In 2015, the total combined costs associated with the event at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which did not include the Park Board, were $92,500.
What you have right there is a list of “services” that was foisted upon us. We don’t need the police at our rallies – we have our own security and we hardly ever use them, either – once in a while we escort the drunks (or the people selling alcohol) away from the rally. We don’t need the Park’s Board to come by in the morning to hold a press conference by the garbage pile, and we no longer trust the City to come by and pick up the garbage promptly at 12:30 AM as they had done for the past 16 years. From now on we will handle that cost ourselves. It won’t cost 13 thousand dollars either. That brings the price the taxpayers pay for the rally down from 148 grand to 11 grand. That’s a steal compared to how much money the event brings to local businesses – from 50 to 100 thousand people attend the event and not all of them are from Vancouver.
Compare that 11 grand with what the taxpayers pay for the Pride Parade:
Now taxpayers will provide up to $50,000 for “city services related specifically” to the Pride Parade: policing, sanitation and such. The Pride Society, the non-profit in charge of the Pride Parade, will receive up to $20,000 for “planning support” and $10,000 for a “green parade initiative.” Not bad for an organization that already cashes big sponsorship cheques from corporations such as TD and Telus.
I agree with the Parks Board that we should accommodate those who use alcohol or tobacco on the beach, and regulate those things to minimize harms, as the Parks Board is proposing to do.
But I don’t think such consideration should be limited to only those who enjoy alcohol and tobacco. I think some consideration should be provided for those who enjoy gay sex or substances that are in every way healthier than alcohol and tobacco.
We all pay taxes in order to receive services from society. Those services don’t stop when we gather together in large groups, they actually become more important than ever. And if society is going to evolve past the point of being a bunch of hateful, bigoted, myopic drunken louts having a hockey riot or burning the scapegoat du jour in effigy, it should cough up the dough once in a while for alternative cultures to exist and flourish. Heck, TD and Telus should cut us a big sponsorship cheque, too. Potheads use the bank and use phones like everyone else.
The “second-hand smoke” complaint
There isn’t that much to fear from second-hand cannabis smoke. That’s not just what the pro-legalization activists believe – this is from NIDA, a prohibitionist organization:
Can you get high from inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke? Probably not. You may have heard the phrase “contact high,” about someone breathing in secondhand marijuana smoke and feeling a buzz. There have been studies that show in extreme conditions, with lots of smoke blown directly into your face, you can feel the high and it can even show up in a urine test. But this is not a normal circumstance.Studies show that very little THC is exhaled back into the air when a smoker exhales. So little, in fact, that if you sat in a room while people exhaled the smoke of four marijuana cigarettes (sometimes called joints) in one hour, you wouldn’t get high. You would have to be trapped in a room breathing the smoke of 16 burning joints before it you started to show signs of being high. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/secondhand-marijuana-smoke
There was no “extreme” exposure to cannabis at the pot rally – the experiment was done in an unventilated room, and the Farmer’s Market was out doors. People who live nearby can simply shut their windows between 4 and 5 pm – all they will notice that day is an incense smell instead of the car exhaust they’ve grown nose-blind to.
The “my kid will be infected with their deviance at the site of them” complaint
And here we come to the crux of the attack on every scapegoat – “they’re coming for your children.” My first book deals with this phenomena in great detail – how parental hysteria was and is used to incite hatred against cannabis dealer and growers, Jews, witches and heretics (like Socrates):.http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2014/11/11/Does-Cannabis-Inherently-Harm-Young-Peoples-Developing-Minds
LGBT people, too, have faced such accusations:
Back in 1977, when Anita Bryant campaigned successfully to repeal a Dade County (FL) ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination, she named her organization “Save Our Children,” and warned that “a particularly deviant-minded [gay]teacher could sexually molest children” (Bryant, 1977, p. 114).
Take these examples of such hatred inciting found in the news reports above. This one, from 2016:
A complaint taker wrote that a Vision Vancouver member “feels it’s disgusting that he cannot take his daughter to a public beach today, because he sees illegal activity.”
Or this one from 1981:
But Ald. George Puil, a high school teacher, said the week would be used to promote the gay lifestyle, “and as a school-teacher I certainly wouldn’t want to go along with that.” Ald. Warnett Kennedy, said Vancouver people would be uneasy at the thought their children could be affected, by gay teaching and hoped Vancouver would not follow the example of San Francisco …
It’s the exact same tactic, used by the exact same type of people (ignorant and intolerant) for the same reason – one takes advantage of public ignorance and old prejudices and infers that the scapegoat harms children by it’s very proximity. One does this because one can’t get people to hate or fear the scapegoat enough to brutalize them unless one first elicits the type of emotional response one can expect from a parent afraid for their child.
Just in case you are one of the very few people around today that still fear that gay people will either “recruit” your kid into becoming gay, or else assault them, here are the statistics:
Most research seems to indicate people are born LGBT, not recruited
With about 50 homosexual or bisexual men in each of the three groups, Bailey found that 52 per cent of the identical twins he contacted were also homosexual, compared with 22 per cent of the fraternal twins and only 11 per cent of the adoptive brothers. This shows, he says, that the likelihood of a homosexual man having a homosexual brother increases with the degree of genetic relatedness. It suggests that there is a genetic contribution to homosexuality but that the cause is not entirely due to genes.
It seems to us that being gay runs in families much more frequently than you would expect by chance alone. And the pattern is hard to specify: that is, in some cases they’re brothers and sisters, in some cases it’s parents and children, or aunts and uncles. So it’s hard to put that into theory given what we know about genes and behavior, which is to say, not a lot.
All credible research indicates that LGBT people are not more likely to molest kids than heterosexuals
It doesn’t matter how often the lie is repeated; it still remains false. Dr. Michael R. Stevenson conducted an exhaustive review of the literature in 2000, and concluded that “a gay man is no more likely than a straight man to perpetrate sexual activity with children,” and “cases of perpetration of sexual behavior with a pre-pubescent child by an adult lesbian are virtually nonexistent” (Are Gays a Threat to our Children?) The research is so strong that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and the American Psychological Association are on record saying that there is no relationship between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.
Gays are pedophiles? No. Here’s the proof.
Smoking cannabis does not make kids stupid or crazy
If pot DID make kids stupid and/or crazy, then someone would have noticed an uptick in crazy or a dip in I.Q. points in the general population statistics sometime shortly after cannabis use rates skyrocketed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. That evidence just doesn’t exist. The best two quotes on this topic are these ones here:
Further evidence against a simple causal explanation for associations between cannabis use and psychosocial harm relates to population patterns of the outcomes in question. For example, incidence of schizophrenia seems to be strongly associated with cannabis exposure over a fairly short period (four-fold to five-fold relative risks over follow-up of 10–30 years). Cannabis use appears to have increased substantially amongst young people over the past 30 years, from around 10% reporting ever use in 1969–70, to around 50% reporting ever use in 2001, in Britain and Sweden. If the relation between use and schizophrenia were truly causal and if the relative risk was around five-fold then the incidence of schizophrenia should have more than doubled since 1970. However population trends in schizophrenia incidence suggest that incidence has either been stable or slightly decreased over the relevant time period.
– Psychological and social sequelae of cannabis and other illicit drug use by young people: a systematic review of longitudinal, general population studies John Macleod, Rachel Oakes, Alex Copello, Ilana Crome, Matthias Egger, Mathew Hickman, Thomas Oppenkowski, Helen Stokes-Lampard, George Davey Smith, THE LANCET • Vol 363 • May 15, 2004 • p. 1585
The Flynn effect is the substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. […] This effect of an apparent increase in IQ has also been observed in various other parts of the world, though the rates of increase vary.” Flynn J. R. (1987). “Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure”. Psychological Bulletin 101: 171–191.
And teens seem to need a powerful non-toxic relaxant. Suicide – unlike cannabis-related brain damage – is a serious problem for teens:
Suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.[ref]
It seems to me that those who scream loudest about saving teens from harm know the least about what is actually harmful to teens.
The complaints that were created by the euphoriphobes against the participants of the 4/20 2016 cannabis farmer’s market were similar to – if not exactly like – the complaints against the participants of Gay Unity Week back in 1981. They were meant to appeal to an ignorant public who were naturally protective of their children, they were baseless, originating in those who wish to divide and rule, who wish to distract the public from true problems of war, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, euphoriphobia, class war and environmental disaster.
When the new world rises out of the ashes of the old one, it will be easier to organize the spiritual transformation of society from the comfort of our gay bars, lesbian coffee shops, transgendered clothing stores, gay book stores and our pot dispensaries and hash bars. We should embrace our fellow deviant hedonistic scapegoats and unite in support of each other’s struggles, helping each other to transform society into one where harmless people – regardless of their tastes or orientations or pursuits – are safe and protected … where every harmless person is not just tolerated, but celebrated.
For more information about the history of the Pride Parade, check out these links: