By Ted Smith
This fall marks eight years since we first printed an issue of the Cannabis Digest. We are very proud of the evolution of our publication, and every sign indicates it will continue to grow far beyond its current form into an even more powerful tool for cannabis activism.
When I committed myself to Hempology 101 over 16 years ago, one of my first goals was writing a textbook that could be used in schools and homes to explain why cannabis was prohibited and how we could fight to get it back into the mainstream economy. Three editions printed on hemp paper and hand-bound by hemp twine were printed, though it was over a decade since the last printing and I only made 100 copies of the first three editions.
Now we are on the verge of printing an edition of the Hempology 101 Textbook that will be available in stores across Canada in January. While we hope to sell textbooks around the world, next year we plan on focusing on this country, aiming for the Best Sellers List 2012.
A few years into Hempology 101 it was clear that we needed more than a textbook, so we started a quarterly handout called The BudWiser. It was simply a two-sided photocopy of short articles, cannabis songs, announcements, and ads. However, after getting arrested at the University of Victoria for sharing some joints, and then one week later at our annual pot cookie give-away, I became very busy at the turn of the century and the newsletter stopped being printed. Getting a storefront for the CBC of C a couple of months later, only made me busier.
Then the CBC of C started to get raided. Police raided the store in Jan., March, and June 2002, and finally in Feb. 2003. We were in a lot of debt. Members were concerned about how the group was coping.
Soon after joining the club in 2003, Gayle helped me organize a meeting of the membership. We called it a Working Group Meeting to encourage people to show up ready to help. At the first meeting, the idea of a newsletter came up quickly and enough people there expressed interest along with a willingness to help, that I agreed to go ahead with it. A few weeks later, the first issue of the Cannabis Digest was printed, a large photocopy folded in half.
Over the years, the newsletter grew as the CBC of C grew, getting a little bigger and more in depth. Then, a couple of years ago, we had the luck of finding Andrew, who was editor of the newspaper at VIU, The Navigator. It was an easy decision to turn our photocopied newsletter into a real news publication.
Expanding the newsletter into this format has been one of the best decisions of my life. Though it is a struggle for me to get things written on time, and we need a lot more advertising to pay for the costs of printing, publishing the CD has been very rewarding. This paper has allowed us to educate the members of the CBC of C and the public at large about the bakery trial and other relevant court decisions, new hemp products, activities in the marketplace, medical cannabis products, political developments, and profiles of advocates. We are glad to hear that other medical clubs are finding the CD useful, and hope to encourage even more interaction between the clubs through our paper.
Entering into our ninth year of printing, I am very happy with the group of writers we have gathered, and can see a bright future ahead for our little paper. Faced with so many challenges, cannabis advocates in Canada will hopefully continue to use the CD to inform the public about the battle to bring cannabis back to life. Thanks to all of the writers, distributors, advertisers, artists, and editors who have helped make the CD what it is today.