It’s Been A While…

It’s been a while since I wrote for Cannabis Culture Magazine. In the beginning, it was just a few of us in a small office in Vancouver’s Gastown, and I was the assistant editor to Dana Larsen.

I still remember the excitement and dismay that day in the mid-90’s when police raided the magazine’s headquarters, taking all of our computers and setting the magazine’s publication back weeks. In my mind, the raid was the culmination of several confiscations of Cannabis Culture from head stores and grow ops all across the country. Albeit with a less literary bent, I had entered the ranks of such greats as James Joyce – whose Ulysses was banned in the UK, Australia and the US – and Boris Pasternak, whose Doctor Zhivago was banned in the USSR.

I remember the raids on Hemp BC as well. Burned into my memory is an image of Marc Emery spitting in a police officer’s face after that same cop physically abused employees of the store who were peaceably demonstrating against the removal of pipes and bongs. I can also clearly see, to this day, Marc giving the peace sign from the back of the paddy wagon as it drove away. The image would become iconic, captured by an on-the-scene photographer.

I am grateful for all the amazing and mind-blowing experiences I had, meeting the leader of the Maoris while covering a national election in New Zealand, connecting with former White House bureaucrats who blew the lid off of drug-war style social engineering in black neighbourhoods, and hanging out with so many twisted and enlightened people that I couldn’t begin to name them all.

By the beginning of the last decade, I’d moved on to a senior writer position after having a hand in the founding of Pot TV and the Cannabis Nation Radio Hour. I devoted every extra minute to running as a candidate with the Marijuana Party and BC Marijuana Party, while co-founding Fane of the Cosmos on Kootenay Coop Radio (a show which continues to this day, see Cannabis Culture Magazine, at the time, was more than a conduit of ground-breaking information, it was a forum for well-earned bragging rights to a continent-wide network of activists. I hope I don’t sound egotistical when I say that many of the activists who participated in various efforts where first “discovered” in my column “busted-up dates”, which covered some of the most abusive and outrageous marijuana arrests ever documented.


Another area of interest for me was free trade and its relationship to the war on drugs. When I first began researching this connection, I attended a televised speech by Tony Clarke who was closely associated with the anti-free trade and activist organization “The Council of Canadians”. At the speech, I waited in line to ask Mr Clarke if he had ever heard of a connection between the drug war and free trade. Perhaps it was my self-introduction as a writer for Cannabis Culture, a relatively obscure pot mag at the time. But he did something totally unexpected, and at the time I felt crushed. He laughed at me. In fact, he laughed so hard that everyone in the auditorium began to laugh. I had hoped for an ally but had found humiliation. I had become the reviled innovator, the one with a new idea that doesn’t fit with conventional opinion.


But it didn’t stop me. I wrote an article, published in CC magazine, titled “Multinational Corporations Will Kill for Drugs” which was reprinted a half-million times, and translated into Spanish and German. After that article international think tanks, like the Organization Geopolitical Drug-watch, did research which further confirmed my line of thinking, leading to further articles. The ball was rolling, and eventually – with the help of a Bolivian Journalist – I interviewed Bolivian President Evo Morales and discovered that he fully echoed the ideas first outlined in “Multinationals Will Kill … (see “Bolivian Peasants or Narcoterrorists”). Through CC magazine, I had influenced the way the world understood itself. I would never receive mainstream credit for my efforts, but I could be satisfied, at least, that I had made a difference for the better among peoples under fire in the drug war, that they might more fully understand the politics behind what was happening to them, and so better defend themselves against oppression.


Unfortunately, my writing on free trade also resulted in a rift in the marijuana movement, between libertarians and socialists. For although libertarians are strongly opposed to the drug war, they are also big supporters of free trade. Hindsight has given me the wisdom to wonder if I couldn’t have approached the topic in a way that would have united the movement along ideological lines instead of separating it. I see all the energy that is wasted by marijuana activists in fighting over issues that ultimately have little to do with freeing our culture from government oppression, and I hope that we will one day be able to see past them and put our efforts where they belong.

I should clearly state here that I think many of the ideals behind free trade are laudable, but that free trade agreements have typically contained anti-drug provisions that bind countries to membership in worldwide anti-drug organizations that operate as arms of free trade bodies. I have spoken with world-famous free-trade thinkers who openly oppose many of the provisions in free trade agreements as destructive to the fundamental ideals which free trade was originally meant to embody. One way to get everyone working together, possibly, would have been to push for a truly compassionate, anti-prohibitionist, respectful form of free trade that truly acknowledged and supported the ideals of its original thinkers.

Hindsight has also given me the wisdom to wonder if the movement could ever be truly united. The old adage that “trying to lead activists is like herding cats” is apt. It is, of course, our intrinsic rebelliousness against authority which makes us who we are: freedom fighters one and all. Perhaps it would take more energy to make us cooperate than it would for us to work separately toward the same goal.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I return to writing about drug policy issues. I hope to publish pro-pot articles in as many different kinds of magazines as possible, and am thankful to Cannabis Culture for giving me a forum for expressing my thoughts openly along the way. In my blog, I plan to post updates on stories that may appear elsewhere, in other publications, as well as provide perspective to what I am writing for the CC website. I hope that my articles will inspire unity, will encourage us to work together, or even just to work well apart. With the conservatives in power, we are on the cusp of decades of heightened drug war oppression in Canada. I hope in at least some small way to strike a blow against the ignorance and hatred that is the War on Weed.



  1. UncleBob100 on

    Thats right…I read somewhere…that usa federal laws actually prohibit the research into Cannabis for therapeutic or medicinal use. The only authorized research center in the states is the Mississippi farm…which supplies the 5 remaining federally supplied medicinal cannabis patients (Like Irv Rosenfeld) The feds want to keep the status quo in the war against some drugs, its all about feeding the beast.

  2. urnrg on

    I thought cats were herded with catnip 😉

  3. Brian Kerr on

    “It is only in schedule 1 because “smoked pot” is not a suitable delivery method,”

    Smoked cannabis is a suitable delivery method and the American Medical Association says so. Don’t forget vaproization and eating cannabis too.

    It is in schedual 1 because they want to keep it illegal and arrest you for it, they want to stop recerch of cannabis for medicine, so the truth is kept from us.

  4. Rev Damuzi on

    That’s a great idea! I remember quite a few years ago now there was a book titled “marijuana myths, marijuana facts” that addressed common myths about pot, and gave really excellent answers to them. What you’re suggesting sounds similar in some respects, but could be more up-to-date and relevant. Making the page interactive might be interesting too, so that people could submit good come-backs and they would be listed after the negative stereotypical saying. Let me know if you do this so I can check it out!

  5. Rev Damuzi on

    Not sure what might happen in the forum world … thanks for asking, though!

  6. GitcheGumee on

    Welcome back Rev!!

    The Cannabis Spirituality & Philosophy forum stil says “Hosted by Reverend Damuzi.” … however I think your account was deleted years ago. I was wondering if you were planning to get back on the forums at all?

  7. Anonymous on

    i think rev that a page debunking the common sayings used by those in government to keep pot illegal with retaliating comments should be formed. I am amazed these days how many great comments are out there on news web pages and blogs when ever you get a cop saying something in the media like ” we dont want to add another drug in america so we should keep pot banned”. so for every commonly used slogan you come up with a clever answer to it below.
    a page like this would go a long way to educating the people about how far out of line some of these suggestions are.
    for example.

    ” we dont want another illegal drug like pot made legal in america”

    the answer to that might go something like this.

    Our laws should reflect the science surrounding a drugs harms and suggestions like this only blur and remove good reasoning and science.
    Why should we continue to keep this drug illegal when the evidence shows that it is not anywhere near as harmful as the other illegal drugs, including the legal ones like tobacco and alcohol.
    we should not be making safer drugs legal so we can look like we are fighting crime. this is about being fair to all the people that make a safer choice. allowing more dangerous drugs and jailing for safer drugs is bad drug policy.

    American has kept cannabis as a schedule 1 drug and this is why there are so many problems for their country and others. It is only in schedule 1 because “smoked pot” is not a suitable delivery method, yet we know by the health studies that cannabis as a substance works. still federally all of the derivatives of cannabis are made illegal whether smoked or not.
    people are paying their taxes to arrest countless thousands regardless of way of use and penalizing them with schedule 1 penalties. even then the science shows that smoking tobacco is way more harmful and we do not enter peoples homes and arrest them for tobacco etc etc.

    this should be done for every claim for support to continue the ban. that way, people will carry this into the debate and educate everyone in the process about how unjust these people are.

  8. Rev Damuzi on

    Thanks for the positive reflection Remz. Like you I believe that awareness is key to right action.

  9. Remz on

    It gives me hope to read articles like this. We need writters like you, people with a clear mind and a wise perspective on economical and political matters regarding cannabis.

    Things are moving right now. I’ve got a feeling that the 2010 decade will be a decade of change. We (the people as well as the government) know too much about weed to keep it criminalized. I agree with earlier comments, that the ball will start rolling if – or should I say «when» – California decriminalizes marijuana. I believe the effects will be encouraging, that other states will follow their example, and that Canada also will. But we will have to fight against the old fashioned misconceptions and beliefs that are still shadowing the truth about the nature, uses and effects of cannabis. We will encounter haters and government-teat-suckers, for example the reefer-madness-queen Calvina Fay in the US. But we will stand strong in the name of peace, truth, freedom and getting high.

    When I read articles like this one, it’s a feeling of hope that fills my stomach. Thanks for spreading such opinions and perspectives.

  10. Rev Damuzi on

    Good points. Keep up the excellent work!

  11. persecutedinalberni on

    Welcome back rev,true they are like herding cats,it is hard to get everyone together at once for the same cause.

    I have put alot of thought on it,I was once a volunteer for the red cross and ESS(emergency social services),sometimes I took courses and learning seminars while I was a volunteer.

    I did it for my community and a good cause,I did not expect to get paid because I was doing it for a good cause.

    At any given time anywhere from 2 to two hundred people could be called together at one spot in just a matter of a few hours in an emergency.

    They have all the connections put together with other grouops and can all come together quickly because it has been worked out all ready and even though it is hardly ever used it is still there in an emergency.

    So now could you imagine if we were that organized to all come together quickly in every community across the country.

    After all I can’t even convince other stoners in my town to get out there on the highway/street/road with their own free marc signs like I do.

    It is called dedication and pride,that’s what we all need more of because this is what red cross and ESS volunteers have lots of as they all come together in an emergency.

    So yeah it’s true it is hard to herd them togethers but not so to hard after all other have done it for other causes.

  12. Rev Damuzi on

    I meant to say that what holds true in South America, also holds true in many Southeast Asian countries, esp like Cambodia.

  13. Anonymous on

    I also want to be clear that Marc’s case is a good central rallying point for many people, and addresses the importance of national sovereignty in drug policy, as well as the unnecessarily powerful extraterritorial powers of the US drug war machine. These are important topics to legalization because it is largely international pressure that makes the drug war so virulent.

    For people who want to do something else, like specifically target drug legalization at home, that doesn’t mean they can’t do something more.

  14. Rev Damuzi on

    Sometimes ridicule is the best form of incentive, like someone doing us a favour in disguise.

  15. Rev Damuzi on

    Cambodia strikes me as a tough place to do drug reform activism. The US Federal Government tends to have a big hand in determining policies in many South American countries. I wish you all the best in your efforts there, and would be interested to hear more about your efforts and the results.

  16. Pastor Ray in Cambodia on

    Nine years in CamboDEA have me working everyday for a LEGAL DISPENSARY in Phnom Penh.The central rallying theme puts love and education on a single VOTE.With love and strategic psychology you could win over a majority of HARPER VOTERS,yet they will not VOTE against CONSERVATIVE POLITICS.That is why the single issue PLEBISCITE becomes so important.Please ask AROUND on this thesis.Grow-closet money could finance this,but people must come out of their comfort zone.

  17. Anonymous on

    I went to court once for pot, the judge asked me what i planned to do with my life when i left high school. i told him i liked agriculture and wanted to go into that. he laughed, everything paused, then one other person laughed, which gave way for the whole court to laugh. I just stood there dumbfounded. it wasnt that they were laughing at me. more so that they laughed at the funny side of it all. i felt crushed too. all these important people laughing at me. now i realise they just saw the humour in it and i guess your question was funny in that way too. although you meant it as serious. anyway, you went on from that to do great things and people noticed. after court, the court police guy told me to watch out at university because there would be a lot of people there smoking pot. if i knew that earlier, i could have told the judge i wanted to go on to university where there were plenty of people that liked pot but hey that would only seem funny to me.

  18. Rev Damuzi on

    Thanks, that does make sense … what I get from what you’re saying is that culture gives us freedom to make only a limited range of choices … like would you like tobacco or alcohol … but not weed. If that’s what you’re saying, then I think that’s an excellent point. This psychological tactic is one commonly recommended for use on children, which leads to another whole set of interesting conclusions.

  19. Anonymous on

    “people putting their buts on the line to promote more freedom in our culture – there have been”

    Strange thing to put freedom and culture in the same sentence. Freedom to make a choice is not freedom, think about that a little bit – it will make sense…

    Good article BTW

  20. Rev Damuzi on

    right on, Alan, good to see you on the CC site too … hope all’s well out your way!

  21. Anonymous on

    I like your idea about a Canada wide referendum. The first thing to do would be to find someone to organize it. Usually in the pot movement anyone who puts forward an idea is also simultaneously volunteering. Yet, if this is the Ray I know, you are probably writing from the US.

    I wish that BC had a working referendum system like California, but ours is a little more difficult to negotiate, as previous referendums for changes to the voting system and others have shown. Still, with enough money, anything is possible. I don’t know how referendums are initiated at the federal level in Canada, although it seems possible with enough public outcry, as was the case with Quebec’s separatist referendums.

    I agree that the movement could use a central rallying point, specifically addressing full legalization. In my opinion that was what the David Malmo Levine / Randy Caine constitutional challenge was for so many years. The ruling in that case was a huge let down. Still I wouldn’t want to imply that there hasn’t been significant activism in the last few years, or people putting their buts on the line to promote more freedom in our culture – there have been.

    Love also strikes me as a good idea. Love and ever-growing awareness.

    -Rev D.

  22. Holy Smoker on

    Great to see you back writing here on the CC Rev D !

    Always loved your stuff.

    Be well.


  23. Anonymous on

    Thanks for the ups!

    -Rev D.

  24. ray christl THC Ministry machine on

    Dear Rev.Damuzi ; Any and all direction you can give to our global family. Canada has an anonymity problem hiding behind Marc-Jodie and immediate family.Yes, some other good people around HOCKEY HEAVEN.A national referendum to deal just with Cannabis legalization seems doable.Jodie and CC family instead of blowing smoke at POLITICO or having anonymous smoke-out free for all, might direct efforts to INFLUENCE with LOVE… to educate Voters—YES!!!ETHOS–LOGOS–PATHOS. The FREE MARC PROTESTS are feeding the FEAR.Socratic Method would be one better idea, yet other of my posts have suggested feet massage/washing in NON-THC hemp magnesium oil,and peace theory in psychology.Your thinking must evolve so that the antithetical VOTERS can see your arguments in SYSTEM TWO-logical mind.Sympathy from injustice of the MARTYRDOM in MARC can be used,but your style of protest is used by propaganda machine media against you(CC family)to maintain SYSTEM ONE primal fear non-thought.The other side are HARPER voters who with fear allow and enjoy for BUSH-DEA to stomp anonymous grow-closet people.SWAT HELL comes to any far-flung anonymity nation.Nixon-DEA love your anonymous voice.The only counter is a POSITIVE REFERENDUM in CANNADA even better than CANNAFORNIA.ONElove-DESTINY


    We need all the voices we can get in this movement. The DEA PIGS will be out of a job soon. When Cali legalizes it, that will get the ball rolling toward real freedom. Canada will soon follow suit. I wish you well and look forward to your articles.

  26. up420oz on