Though the last edition was dedicated to Jack Herer, it seemed appropriate to me to wait until we were celebrating the 15th anniversary of the International Hempology 101 Society to pay tribute to him.
You would not be reading this if Jack had done something else with his life. Hempology 101 would not exist, at least not in its present form, if The Emperor Wears No Clothes had never been printed. Indeed, hemp might not have become legal in Canada, with farmers in the U.S. trying to do the same, if this man had not become a cannabis crusader decades before me.
When I first went to Hempology 101 in Jan. 1995, I wanted to legalize cannabis because it was far too obvious to me that the drug war was a failure, and I loved smoking herb. Going into Hemp BC was almost overwhelming for a newly arrived, small-town Ontario boy who had never been into a hemp store. It did not take me long to decide I should move from Vancouver to Victoria to expand upon Hempology 101, and write a textbook so others could empower themselves with knowledge of this plant and its many benefits.
It was ten years after The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Experimental crops of hemp were already being grown in Ontario, with signs indicating it would become legal soon. Numerous hemp products were available, but it was clear that only the surface had been scratched. My training in economics helped me understand the vast potential of hemp. Developing hemp industries for environmental and economic benefits seemed an admirable goal.
My family, on both sides, have been farmers in Canada since 1804 and 1806. Reading The Emperor Wears No Clothes made me realize my family, society- at-large, and Mother Nature had been coerced by special interest groups. Hempology 101 taught me how to fight back, for my family, my government, and my home planet.
Since the first Wednesday night meeting at the Whale Wall in Sept. 1995, we have organized about 1,800 rallies, lectures, conventions, game shows, press conferences, Team 420 games and parties, as well as meetings of the board of directors and various committees. Recently we turned our newsletter into this newspaper, the Cannabis Digest, giving us the ability to inform the public about various legal and medical issues while building a network of cannabis-friendly, small businesses.
Not being allowed in the U.S., I never had the chance to meet Jack Herer and personally thank him. It would have been an honour to tell Jack all of the things I have done to try to bring the cannabis plant back into mainstream society. I would have loved to show him the CBC of C, and it would have brought me great pleasure to introduce him as the keynote speaker at a Hempology 101 Cannabis Conven- tion. He would have laughed watching me test contestants in Reach for the Pot, and gotten a good sleep after eating a couple cookies. Sadly, I will never get that chance. What I can do, though, is carry on his legacy.
If Hempology 101 has been successful at anything, it has been in building community. Our work with the CBC of C has created a direct link to medical users, compassionate growers, and those brave enough to be on the front line. Our gatherings have helped cannabis lovers connect with each other in ways that would not otherwise be possible, giving devoted activists a chance to share their message. Help- ing people lose their fear of the law by publicly smoking herb in small groups while flying cannabis flags and denouncing cannabis laws on a loudspeaker, has further undermined any hope these laws are really enforceable at all.
Thank you, Jack. Thank you for bringing hope to the world, for reminding us of our past, and for inspiring others to help make this a better world.