The Cannabis Convention season is upon us, and the International Hempology 101 Society is gearing up to give us the best educational experience on cannabis in the province. The convention at the University of Victoria has been going strong since 1999, aside from one year in 2001 when the convention had to be cancelled because of complications related to Ted Smith’s arrest and ban from the campus of the University.
As the clubs have started spreading to other areas of B.C., so have the conventions. The University of British Columbia (UBC) will be hosting its second convention this year, as will Vancouver Island University (VIU), in Nanaimo.
Nanaimo had its first convention in 2009, but had to cancel last year due to the faculty strike.
The conventions have always been free, and in the last years, have also been streamed online for those who can not attend. While education is certainly the main goal of the conventions, they are also designed so that people can connect with one another and network.
Certainly these conventions are one of the crowning jewels of the International Hempology 101 experience. “We provide opportunity for people to learn and network. There are few places for cannabis activists and the interested members of the public to interact,” said Ted Smith, president of the society.
Chris Bennett, Author of Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible and Cannabis and the Soma Solution, has been a long time speaker at these events. In fact, he has attended nearly every Hempology convention to date—educating attendees on the historical and religious background of cannabis. He has always enjoyed his time at the events and has appreciated “seeing the perseverance and growth of Hempology over the years, as well as Ted’s overwhelming attempts at inclusiveness.”
This year, Chris will be talking about the history of cannabis and hemp at the UBC convention Mar. 4, and on Mar. 19 will be at the Victoria Island University convention speaking about Islam and cannabis. Other speakers at the VIU event include Spencer Daemore from Green Harvest, Rebecca Ambrose from the Vancouver and Victoria Seed banks, and the Digest’s very own Andrew Brown.
At UBC Chris will be joined by Randy Caine from Hempyz and the Langley Medical Cannabis Dispensary, Dr. Paul Hornby, and Dan Werb from Stop the Violence BC.
In Victoria, the convention will be on Feb. 19, with Dana Larsen from the Vancouver Medical Cannabis Dispensary (among numerous other endeavours), and Blake Hunter from the Good Seed Hemp, as confirmed speakers.
Things have been fairly quiet on the club front over the holiday season, as one might expect. This year, the Victoria chapter has run its lecture series on Wednesdays, at Vertigo. Unfortunately, due to a new smoking ban on the campus, the 420 circle had to be moved over beside the Students Union Building instead of the centre of campus where it had always been. This issue will be the subject of a “reeferendum” that the club is hoping to have called in the spring. The argument is that the club had traditionally been using the center of campus for the 420, and the new campus rule allows smoking on campus if it is traditional use.
The VIU club, in Nanaimo, is also looking for space to smoke. Currently, there is no smoking allowed anywhere on campus—not even for medicinal users. Amie Gravell, the club’s president, is hoping that the Hempology 101 club will be able to facilitate the creation of a safe smoking place for patients and users.
The first step she says “is writing an open letter to Ralph Nilson asking for a designated area for smoking. The letter needs to include discussion of Nanaimo’s on and off again gorilla masked men and the danger of having to go off (often alone) into the bushes to medicate.” With VIU’s ongoing problem with campus flashers and sexual assault, it would certainly be in the best interests of the University to do what is necessary to protect all students, including those that smoke, or need to smoke their medicine.
VIU will have its first meeting of the year on Jan. 22, in the lower part of the upper cafeteria, where they will make plans for a movie night in the early spring. UBC is also hoping to host a movie night this year, and plans are underway to that effect.
Hempology’s growth is expected to accelerate with the publishing of the much anticipated Hempology 101 Textbook due out the middle of spring. It will be a great tool for students, and interested individuals, and will do a lot to support the current and up-coming clubs that are wanting to form.