Flash goes Beyond Prohibition

Flash knew he had found the right Delta Hotel for the “Beyond Prohibition: Legal Cannabis in Canada ” conference put on by the Association Policy Director Kirk Tousaw of the BC Civil Liberties Association : “A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Law Reform” when he saw Ted Smith of Hempology in Victoria outside with his Hashmaster . “Have to be hardcore to be here at 8am,” Ted laughed.
The arrangements had been made by the Delta hotel and silver dishes laid out with fruit and coffee urns plus fresh jugs of orange juice were made available.

The Wosk center itself was reminiscent of the League of Nations with circular tables and microphones, and jacks for headphones for translation.

It reminded Flash of the Legion of Super Heroes or at least super MJ Activists.

After a couple coffees and a few tokes outside the main doors with Scapegoat, from the forums, the media took advantage of the photo op. Flash looked around to see just who was there: Queens Council John Conroy (www.johnconroy.com) was present, as was Marc Emery (www.emeryseeds.com) and Chris Bennett, Renee Boje and David Malmo Levine of www.pot-tv.net. Hilary Black and Rielle from the BC Compassion Club were there, as well as Don Briere and the lady from the Canadian Cannabis Sanctuary and Da Kine caf?.

Philippe Lucus from the Vancouver Island Compassion Club was there as well. Richard Cowan of www.marijuananews.com was in attendance; Sita, foundress of first Amsterdam caf? in Vancouver on Cordova, and Allison, who volunteers for everything, was there too.

Dr. Hornby had showed along with Pharmer Tom and the BudderKing.

Senator Nolan, chair of the Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs was the key note speaker and Mayor Larry Campbell gave the introductory remarks.

In 1996, Larry was appointed BC Chief Coroner at a time when drug overdoses deaths in the province skyrocketed to as high as 400 deaths per year. Larry advocated publicly for drug use to be considered a health issue and was instrumental in bringing the issue to National attention, leading to the development of the four pillar approach.

In spite of the variety of speakers there and what seemed like endless interviews of senator Nolan and Marc Emery by reporters, the only thing the media picked up on was Larry Campbell’s almost joking off hand remark at end of his speech that he would like to legalize marijuana and tax the hell out of it, despite the fact he has never smoked it out of fear he “might prefer it to cabernet”.

Campbell thinks we need regulations like alcohol and tobacco but on our terms, not going to Rothmans. Bill C10 doesn’t address the problem of the black-market. He would not say that there is absolutely no harm done by this substance but there is worse harm in imprisoning people and in the black market.

Police need to do real work instead, he said, expanding peace and stability in country and stopping the waste of money for enforcement. Put the money in treatment and better policing of violent crimes. All our drug policies are set by the United States, he said; we’re being led by the USA. You get caught for smoking, you can choose jail or treatment. No wonder their ‘marijuana treatment’ centers are full! No way is USA policy going to be his moral compass!

Legalized marijuana would make for a better world where people are not criminalized for smoking an herb, he noted.

Mayor Larry Campbell was given a standing ovation before he stepped down from the podium.

Phillipe Lucus, director of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society then gave a PowerPoint presentation showing what valuable research his club has done and the poor research and junk science that others are doing. It’s very hard to get unbiased research done. He showed them just how bad the Flin Flon mine shwagg really was, and how poorly it tests out. Phillipe has also founded www.safeaccess.ca as well as www.vics.com, and is director of communications for www.drugsense.org and is currently allowed to legally use therapeutic cannabis for pain.

The Federal program has only helped 800 medical marijuana patients and cost millions of dollars including court costs.

Health Canada pot from the abandoned zinc mine from Prairie Plant Systems mulches the stalk leafs and buds together into a dried out shwagg that wont stay lit, is laden with heavy metals like arsenic and lead with it’s touted at 10% THC but registers at 5% with high levels of containments. Most patients have returned it as “unsmokable” and either refused payment for it or demanded their money back. In fact so many have Health Canada now includes a return policy and form.

If marijuana were made legal research would flourish there would be savings in health costs due to less use of pharmaceuticals. Tylenol and aspirin can kill and some pharmaceuticals are addictive. Cannabis is an ‘Exit Drug’ from alcoholism, or for some people, hard drug use.

Next to speak was an economics professor from Boston, the chair of the department of economics at Boston from 1992 -1998. Recipient of prestigious awards, his area of expertise is the economic analysis of public policies, with particular emphasis on the economics of illegal drugs.

He spoke on economic implications. Existing accounts suggest 10 billion a year, which he thinks is too high, believing one or two billion for BC MJ policy reform should be bold and more defensible politically.

Legalization allows taxation.

Medicalization in the hands of physicians as opposed to police reduces the black market somewhat, but in limited ways by not eliminating the black-market entirely.

Doctors are still afraid to prescribe for insurance reasons, or because they do not want to get political.

Depending on quality, you may not affect the black-market at all.

Medicalization accepts that marijuana is bad and only allowable as medicine he claimed.

Testing already exists and some testing is bad.

There is no reason why government should piss test. Economics gives no reason why companies can’t test but it should not be required for subsidizing treatment.

There is no evidence “treatment” works.

The Government involved in treatment sends the message that marijuana is wrong.

Sin taxation doesn’t slow down use, and perpetuates the notion marijuana is a sin.

Marijuana should be taxed just like any other product.

Advertising doesn’t change consumption just brand names. New products that diminish risk should be advertised.

As for age restrictions, kids are too young to decide but clearly are doing so already. Now children are learning at very early age to break and not respect laws.
A half measure is better than none, but full legalization is better. The current policy is excessive. Sale of marijuana, as any other good like GST as a commodity. Decriminalization with fines for possession and substantial fines for growing and sellers is dumb because every transaction has a buyer and seller.

Plus, Decriminalization maintains illegal status and there is still black-marketing, corruption, no taxes, and violent crimes. The large scale benefits from reduced enforcement and increased taxes enabling police to deal with serious crime.

The budgetary impact is not all that important.
The real benefit is vast majority enjoy it with harm to no one. Legalization allows for medical access too; it is easy, he added, for the USA to ignore trends towards legalization in Europe, but Canada is right next door and the global community and many anti-prohibitionist countries is waiting to take their cue from Canada! Be sure to vote.

Next to speak was an ex-cop, the broad shouldered Walter McKay, who had walked the beat on the odd squad in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside drug ghetto and was visibly moved and haunted by the death by over dose of so many young women, especially with www.leap.cc, where current and former members of law enforcement support drug regulation rather than prohibition. He was also instrumental in the production of the documentary “thru the blue lens”.

He believes if this is a drug war then we should have flown a white flag by now. The US prison industry had quadrupled to 25 % of the world’s prison population. Drugs are cheaper and more potent. When you say you can’t produce a drug period, you can’t control if it has impurities. Criminalization doesn’t stop drug use .We can’t even keep drugs out of prisons which cost us 78,000 per inmate per year, he added.

The coffee break after the question period went into overtime. The media were everywhere, rounding up the speakers like Nolan and Mayor Campbell, and of course Marc Emery and guests for quick interviews.

But, the only one the evening news focused on was the mayor’s remarks.
Flash ventured off with Chris Bennett, VICS hashmaster, and some dudes who kept pulling out phatties from behind their ears and sparking them up one after another like a 21 gun salute .

When Flash got back to his desk Dr. Brian Emerson , Consultant to B.C. Ministry of Health Services was already speaking. Flash took the opportunity of having the oak desk in the legion of super activist concentric circles to roll a couple nice joints.

Emerson talked about ‘prevention’ and a health approach that focuses on health protection, and the prevention of disease, injury, disability, and premature mortality. A public health approach can assist in integrating efforts, maximizing effects. He broke psychoactive substance use into four categories; non-problematic, dependant, beneficial, and problematic. His objectives would be developed for education, health promotion, health protection, preventative measures, treatment and rehab along with regulation and enforcement. He had questions concerning ‘chronic use’. He brought some obviously biased studies from institutions that make their living from treatment.

US Medical Marijuana Doctor Tod Mikuriya replaced Steph Sherer to give a speech on California Medical Models.

Dr. Mikuriya spoke on the American Disease: Prohibitionism. The medical uses of cannabis were well known prior to the 1937 tax act. Cannabis has not changed just our info on it. All was trashed. The food and drug administration could not test potency etc. If cannabis itself was on trial it would be found to do no harm.

Unfortunately the consequence is that we are not moving on with regulation and control. It’s as bad as bath tub gin during alcohol prohibition. People in the gay community dealing with the AIDS epidemic found cannabis helped with nausea and appetite. The San Francisco gay community gave shelter to medical users. Denis Peron opened the first buyers club a kind of “speak easy”.

The good doctor Mikuriya had been until then suffering in silence because he could not even discuss cannabis with his patients so started hanging around Dennis’s club discussing cannabis with patients there. Nobody likes to be marginalized especially when you have severe chronic need. The buyers coop provided, most of all, fellowship in “I’m ok, you’re ok” harm reduction in terms of opiates used as well as alcohol sedatives and misuse of steroids.

August 6th before the election the then senior deputy attorney general and his officials tried to effect voters and took orders from the drug czar saying “Cannabis has no medicinal value”. They are a devious bunch dependant on the tools of destruction and basically breaking the law by appealing to the Medical Board, going over Dr. Tod’s head and behind his back to the Medical Health Board and getting them to put the good doctor on 5 years probation. “Sick? Call a Cop,” is message they wished to send. “Use Paxil or Prozac as advertised on TV.”

Cannabis, believes Dr. Tod, should be put back the way it was before the tax act under the minister of finance, but not with involvement in a capitalist monopoly or role.
Everything needs to be taken away from enforcement and be put into the surgeon general’s domain. Testing with junk science and a moral stance comes from a belief in spirit possession and exorcism. It’s the same today but in reference to “drug addicts”. If you have no information on the underground economy, B.C. and Humboldt’s supply, it’s nearly impossible to project the extent. Eventually we will win because cannabis IS an effective medicine, a “miracle drug” if given a fair hearing in an open market with no prohibition but with regulations.

The always beautiful Hilary Black ,the founder and Co-Director of the BC Compassion society, and the exceptionally educated co-worker Rielle Capler, who has her Masters in Health Administration and who has worked the past five years on policy and planning, research, political and legal strategizing and doing member intake as well as holding a seat on the Safe Access board.
They presented they’re roadmap to compassion in words so beautifully written they sounded more like poetry than policy. They quoted the senate special committee on illegal drugs recommendations and referred to the Herzig Decision. They told of problems with health Canada’s medical cannabis program, and the obstacles to access regarding supply and distribution. There is also a lack of commitment to serious research. Their recommendations for change included financially supporting med pot patients, the creation of a well funded program using high quality cannabis to establish an easy system to understand and one which is in line with Canada’s Constitution and international obligations, one that merits support of Canadian courts, press, and public.

It was their suggestion that Health Canada get out of the business of approving potential medical marijuana patients. Compassion clubs oversee membership requirements, confirm diagnoses and recommendations with approved health care professionals, and keep track of their members and their rate of use. They called for sensibly regulated, not-for-profit community based organic cultivation which would significantly improve the quality and expand selection (see the clubs “Operational Standards for the Distribution of Medical Cannabis”). The Compassion Club has been doing their own research and should be a valuable resource for Health Canada. Section (c) of the original 1961 treaty signed by the United Nations specifies “subject to the provisions of this Convention, to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of trade in, use and possession of drugs”. So there should be no doubt medical and scientific purposes are permitted. There is no evidence allowing medical use increases over all public consumption. They concluded the future of a successful medical cannabis program should focus on the distribution model that has already proven itself to be safe and successful: not-for-profit distribution by community-based compassionate societies.

Emerson ended up playing the role of the scapegoat in question period afterwards; he had alarmed David Levine with his buzz words like “treatment” and umbrella “dependence”. David pointed out addiction wasn’t always a dirty word and people could have an “addiction to politics” or many health and pleasurable activities.

Ted Smith of the hempology cannabis buyers club in Victoria hard-balled Hilary as to how she polices her membership in regard to “reselling”.

The BC compassion club has always had a policy of no reselling as an agreement with Vancouver police. It monitors the buying and consumption habits of its members to a certain extent and is fairly lenient in giving two or three strikes and accommodating member’s legitimate needs, even once they are under suspicion. The problem for Ted was that Victoria police had latched onto this concept, that reselling was a reason to raid and try to shut down Ted’s club; Ted had already had to let go 200 patients for allegations of reselling down the street, outside city hall where the heads congregate.

Hilary acknowledged that it was a difficult matter of ethics and a sore spot especially in the case of impoverished members who must decide food or medicine, given that they cannot eat even without it.
Flash directed a flare at the health authority to bring up the issue, as a mental health consumer survivor and someone with HIV, why it was that schizophrenics and people with bi polar illness are told by family, friends and health authorities they are “special” and can’t toke. In fact, in government institutions that are highly staffed, mental health consumers are treated like teenagers with curfews and threats of eviction if found with cannabis or smoking up. Flash said he knows many mental health consumers who find therapeutic value in Cannabis, especially those on mind numbing medications.

The bureaucrat in reply gave same old adage and myth. “No, it doesn’t cause schizophrenia, but can exacerbate it” Flash was set back by this clich? response. Perhaps he didn’t understand the question? He appealed to Hilary Black to ring in, knowing they had done a mental health survey at the compassion club, but the chair called for time.

After the lively dialogue session, with everyone turning off and on their red signal lights to get on the speakers list, Flash stepped out to the lobby to enjoy lunch. One table was set with veggie buns and pizza and another had chicken and ham, white and whole grain buns and strawberries, grapes and other fruits. The coffee urns had been refilled and fresh squeezed juices and soda pops were in abundance.

Some toked right outside the hotel doors, sending the scent wafting into the lobby. Others strolled off to the nearby park or disappeared into the parking garage. Flash corralled senator Nolan and tried to canvas his opinion on Randy White, the Alliance MP who had thrown out the recommendations of the senate report on illegal drugs of which Nolan was chair, dismissing it as coming from a “non-elected body” and substituting the commons report with its near opposite recommendations, almost signal handily turning back the fight for legalization 30 years. Flash raised his conspiracy theory that Randy was under the influence and dogma of the Church of Scientology that give “addicts” cooking oil to drink and use humiliation tactics to “cure”. Were they blackmailing Randy to do their will?

Senator Nolan shook his head sadly with frustration but refused to comment on Randy except to say they had a gentleman’s agreement not to comment on each other. Then he got to sneak off with the BudderKing, Dr. Hornby, and an elegant lady with a grey tinged crew cut, to the lower parking garage level to make use of a blow torch and consume infinitesimal drops of “budder” (which is issoprophil alcohol based) on hot knives with a funnel? which sent Flash into a celestial haze and a cacophony of coughing, so he had to rush back to the hotel lobby to apply napkins to his runny nose and down two wine glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice to sooth his wrenched throat. Yeah it was a good toke?

In middle of his coughing fit, he met a zealous and enthusiastic young woman from freezing Edmonton where she and her brother had collected Cannabis Culture magazines forever. She had used her Bachelor of Science in Psychology to educate kids about ecstasy and meth at local raves, and was in seventh heaven to be among the Cannabis patriots at conference and wanted to volunteer and lend a hand in bringing harm reduction practices to Vancouver. She had felt stifled by the attitudes in Alberta and over powered by Kline and his bigoted poor bashing ways.

She had appreciated Flash’s comments on behalf of mental health consumers as did another lady who worked in mental health field, who took Flash’s email and wished to hear more about how Cannabis takes the hard edge of Psychotropics, and how it can actually reduce dependence on pharmaceuticals . Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard, Flash noted, had “found no adverse reactions to other medications” such as Lithium given to bi polar patients. Evidence points to cannabis’s medicating effect on mood.

The speakers resumed after the extended lunch period and perhaps the most refreshing and eloquent speakers of the day, Professor Peter Cohen of the University of Amsterdam center for Drug Policy, presented a radical idea that had not even occurred to most of us.

His topic of discussion was “The Irrelevance of Public Drug Policy”

The Netherlands, he informed them, just celebrated liberation from the Nazi occupation in WW2 and had thanked Canada for their liberation. Now again, he said, they really need allies.

Drug policy has dramatic effects on levels of danger but not on use or how people use drugs. We are used to thinking drug policy has effects. Politicians hypothesize, but after some time there should be some observation, so be it the level of use. A study by Heinz in 1983 compared drug use in Germany and found cannabis levels were same in Germany and Holland despite the prohibitionist stance. In Holland they sampled the people and found increasing density of population led to increasing access and organization of access. Drug policy creates different outcomes according to where you look!

Big cities have opportunity for subcultures both of rich who buy up real estate and the poor who seem to disappear. In 2001 in Amsterdam drug use was twice as high as Rotterdam but with a factor difference of 2. There are 80 shops in Rotterdam which is a lot for the small town although there are 200 in Amsterdam. The patterns of drug use and amount used were incredibly similar. The number is different but length of career and amount incredibly similar.

So, they did the same type of testing internationally and what they found was SAME type of community in San Francisco, Germany, Amsterdam etc. Heinz’s hypothesis that drug policy has no effect on use appears to be true.

Why is this so? Vancouver’s centre has a 24 hour economy in drug supply, as do all large cities with their detailed and elaborate systems. If people decide and learn about drugs they can find them in all western cities. People buy any time of day all year and there is no systematic effect of drug policy. Accept the fact that drug use is complex and has an outcome of many variables. We are able to design research to try to find out why.

“We know drug policy has no effect. Accept the fact that the drug production systems are there and there to stay!” The professor insisted.

There is not going to be “a Drug Free Society”. Each culture has expression, fashion, and ideas about discipline. Legislation is the outcome of how people think about drugs. We must look beyond the illusion that drug policy affects levels of use. In New Zealand they enacted legislation to imprison large numbers of people, but pot use there is rampant. There are new forms of intoxication being developed all the time.

The UN convention is an archaeological time capsule. They want a bureau and stamps, a massive bureaucracy for patients who would rather just go to cafes and seldom use the pharmacies in Holland. Only 300 or 3000 patients use it.

The smart shop that sold ecstasy was shut down although it was safer and better as a regulated product. Many police get lots of money out of the business as does “treatment”. “Treatment” is the biggest war on drugs model out there. N.D.A. spends 4 million a year on drug use politics of knowledge; construction is initiated by these institutions for their own ends and drives prohibition.

Eric Nash and Wendy Little of Island Harvest certified Organic Cannabis, Canada’s first legal source of certified organic medical cannabis. They manage and facilitate www.medicalmarihuana.ca, and told the assembled how they manage to grow legally, organically, and safely with the support of trades people (electricians, plumbers and fire department officials who provide proper ventilation and wiring). Their neighbours keep an eye open for them as well.

They contrasted their experience against the grow room horror stories put out by police in their ‘green tide’ video. Proving that, when above board and law, even children are safe in homes with grow operation. They discussed building safety, product security and finally safe cultivation. Their conclusion was that, with practical knowledge, a legal, safe, cannabis regulatory system can function within Canadian Society. In the past two years of their private sector cannabis production, distribution and sales at Island Harvest, they have never experienced a single problem with their facility, security, or cultivation.

Keith Stroup, the executive director of NORML in the United States, spoke on International obligations. Most people in the United States believe whatever the government tells them about Holland and Europe, but they can’t do that with Canada. The good news is that does not represent the public. 85% say doctor recommended patients should be allowed, and three out of four say possession should only be a fineable offence. There is nothing wrong with responsible adults smoking, yet 16,000 people a year are arrested, 85% for personal use. It’s a waste of legal resources: 10 billion a year goes to identifying and prosecuting pot smokers.

We are needlessly destroying the lives and careers of tokers. Decriminalization is at least a cease fire but is in no way sufficient. Consumers should not have to go to underground market. Prohibition invites crime and violence and makes harder drugs more easily available.

Any country that wishes to legalize marijuana, and believes that provisions of the international drug control treaties may not permit that, can easily renounce the treaties and no longer be bound by those provisions. Either that, or find a creative way to fit marijuana legalization into the current treaty language, or amend current treaty language sufficiently to permit marijuana legalization. A domestic constitutional ruling would also trump the treaties. Paragraph 1 (a) of article 36 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, is qualified by clause: “Subject to its constitutional limitations, each Party shall adopt such measures as will ensure.” The three international anti-drug treaties are far more permissive of alternatives to the total prohibition of marijuana than some of the language in the treaties might suggest. In fact, there exists a consensus that a member country could decriminalize marijuana for personal use without violating provisions of these treaties.

Eugene Oscapella of Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, a Barrister and Solicitor from Ottawa who has been an independent advisor to government and private sector interests on Canadian legislative and public policy issues, took them back over the ground they had covered through the day and revisited the concept of a sin tax and not allowing advertising to see if these were compromises we could live with. Eugene, who lectures on drug policy in the department of criminology at the University of Ottawa, went over the option of Bill C10 – a less than halfway measure – which will only serve to eliminate the small Ma and Pa growers with higher penalties for more than 50 plants handing the industry over to organized crime who can afford the risk. Eugene stressed that the ball was now in the political arena and how we vote in the next federal election right now is crucial, with the NDP the only viable party with a solid legalization stance. John Conroy objected to the lack of vigour and organization in NORML, and the lack of white-haired people like himself at events. There was time-out for discussion and a short break.

Flash picked up on the subtle movement towards the parking garage of Dr. Hornby, Pharmer Tom and BudderMan and others towards the bowels of the parking garage and joined the train as the caboose and soon found himself in line for another Budder toke, this time not going so piggy on the expanding smoke; and although he felt it in his legs and his head, he did not need to again make a mad dash back to hotel for a Kleenex.

Finally the grand finale! Senator Nolan took the podium, first thanking Kirk Tousaw and the organizers from the BC Civil Liberties Association for inviting him, and then he began with a quote from Aristotle about the world of politics. It is his hope that the 21st century will mark the end of this insidious policy which has not had any beneficial long-term effects.

Nolan firmly believes that for the preservation of life, public health, personal safety and autonomy, and freedom and democracy, prohibition of cannabis use and production needs to be abandoned. In a free and democratic society like ours, citizens ought to have the right to make informed decisions about their behaviour, on the condition that they do not cause undue harm to others. They concluded in the Senate report that this substance is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal. They questioned why it should not be treated in the same manner.

The prohibition policy has had no impact on trends in drug use in Canada; given that at least 40 % of young people aged 12 to 17 (over a million) have used cannabis in last 12 months and 10 %, or 225,000 toke every day! Public policy has no worth. The senator is unhappy with Bill C 10. This approach is in fact a worse case scenario, depriving the State of a regulatory tool needed in dealing with the entire production, distribution, and consumption network, and delivering a rather hypocritical message at the same time.

The main objective of this Bill c10 is not aimed at dramatically reducing the amount of people, especially youths, arrested each year for simple possession or cultivation of small amounts of cannabis, or to finally enable personal autonomy and enlightened decisions, but to give more tools to police to cast an ever widening net. It is still given that the federal government now deals in cannabis abuse.

Senator Nolan is nevertheless convinced that the days of prohibition are numbered .Why? Because Canadians want rigorous and objective information, not only about Cannabis, other legal drugs and illegal psychoactive substances, but also about the harmful effects of the terrible war on drugs. They know that all use is not abuse. They want informed, comprehensive and democratic debate on these substances. Only citizens can force their governments to put an end to prohibition. In 1998, the United Nations agreed, at a special Session of the general assembly, to eliminate the cultivation of cannabis, coca leaf and opium poppy as well as demand for these psychoactive substances by 2008.

Senator Nolan wants a drug free society that has never existed in human history and will not exist in the near future. Greediness caused by prohibition had too many injurious consequences that go way beyond health problems and growth of organized crime. Today, prohibition threatens the basis of democracy, economy and the rule of law in many countries and regions of the world.

By 2008 governments need to provide clear answers to citizens who debate policy reform in civil society. Time, he urged, is running out and they must begin to work on them now. They need to offer to their citizens hope and innovative solutions, whatever they may be, not only speeches of experts or old recipes from the past driven by moral rejection of pleasure. He saw Canadians playing an important role in this public policy field. The war on drugs is outdated and disrespectful. It is time to make our political leaders accountable. It’s time to empower citizens, individually and collectively, on responsible behaviour on cannabis and other illegal drugs. We will be able to achieve historical reform of our policy in this field!

Senator Nolan’s speech was met by a full and immediate standing ovation from those assembled.

The coffee and munchies had been cleaned up by hotel staff and a few people including Cannabis Culture Editor Dana Larsen, Budderman and Pharmer Tom were going to Don Briere, the Pot Baron’s Da Kine Caf? on commercial, and there was enough room in the caddy to squeeze Flash’s new found friend Colleen in, the psychology major from Edmonton.

Once on the drive they casually toured the Spirit Within smart entheobotanical shop just to see if Ken Hayes was in then headed across the street to the green door of Da Kine Caf? where they imbibed in more budder hits and a few joints of their own.

They dined on pizza slices and Flash walked the enthusiastic trooper to the sky train along the colourful and diverse drive enjoying gelato ice cream. Colleen felt as if it were all a surrealistic dream: the quality of the speeches and content were so very right on, and it was an honour and pleasure to be out of hog town and in the company of some of the cannabis greats she had, up until now, only read about in the pages of Cannabis Culture and on www.pot-tv.net.