Blog Feature

Compassion in my life

Gayles cover story in Monday Magazine

I first found the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club when I was homeless and off my provincial disability.  Being homeless in Victoria at the age of 45 was overwhelming at times to say the least.  I first heard of the club when I was still living on Saltspring Island.  I read a newspaper about the VCBC getting busted.  I thought it was intolerable that a compassion club should be harassed by the police.  The VCBC staff helped by get  hold of my doctor on Saltspring Island so I could get my documentation to join the club.

Over the years of growing and using cannabis I have been robbed and cheated, used and abused by fellow pot people.  All that changed when I found the VCBC.  No longer did I have to worry about who would try to scam me next.  Being open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Even when panhandling I could get medicine every day.  Cannabis has helped me to get over or at least get through: dysmenorrhea, P.I.D., chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, 2 hysterectomies, mercury poisoning, environmental illnesses, Hep C, breaks, 2 children, a violent, alcoholic husband (PTSD), scapes and now cancer.  So I have some experience in the broad spectrum of conditions this wonderful herb will help with.

The sign-up procedure has evolved from simply taking a copy of your proof of condition for a full 45 minute intake.  Covering such things as the functioning of the club and a brief chemistry, this one-on-one chance for new members to ask questions and learn is invaluable. We give a thorough introduction of the clubs 53 food and skin products and the specific uses of each.  We offer regular, arnica, aloe, and green lion salves and also regular, arnica, comfrey, St Johns Wort and mint massage oils.  We have ginger, double chocolate, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies, eccles squares, kamut puffs, budda balls, mango and goji berry lozenges, as well as jars of leaf cooked into butter so you can do you own baking. We have regular and ginger cannoil made with bud and bottled, ready for use.  Our latest expansion on the edible scene has been a line of hash infused hemp oil in capsules.  We have indica, sativa, CBD and non-decarboxylated cannabis capsules, too.  We will also be supplying various suppositories as soon as the packaging arrives.

Gayle purchasing Arnica Massage oil and some CBD cannoil.
Gayle purchasing Arnica Massage oil and some CBD cannoil.

Right away the benefits were amazing to behold.  There was a small closet called the Box where we could safely consume our medicine.  There were knowledgeable staff members to help determine which strains would be better for individuals, as well as alternative products such as cookies, oils and skin salves.  The budda balls kept me healthy and medicated while having to live off of food banks.  The emergency program that gives a little bit of herb in times of need was indispensable, too.

The cookbook is available on-line on the old page for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, but will soon be updated and changed to a Hempology 101 document.  Due to popular demand and a lot of nagging we plan upon publishing it soon, too.

The comings and goings at our club are a steady stream of human activity.  The air buzzes with conversation, people come and go or sit in the “Box” for a spell to partake in not only their medicine but quite often the only social contact they have with other humans for the day.  Clubs give us a common ground to meet, socialize, share information, give emotional support and encourage evolution.  There is nothing stagnant about an actively engaged club.  Quite the opposite.  They bustle with activity and buzz with dialogue.  I have watched friendships and relationships bloom, babies born, folks sobbing in each others arms at the news of the loss of another fellow member.

No matter what the background, the ground that binds us now is a plant.  Like the roots that bind the soil and keep it from eroding, so cannabis binds us.  Clubs make us feel like we are part of a community because people there care.  A good portion of us do not feel like we fit in with regular communities.  And that is a sad thing.  Most people I know who consume cannabis are empathetic, forward thinking, caring individuals given half a chance.

Now the Box has turned into a vapor lounge, with 2 Volcanos ready to use as well as an assortment of other paraphernalia available on request.  Although we once fit 15 of us in the Box, the new vapor lounge has room for up to 15 people and a couple of wheelchairs.  It never seems to be empty for more than 10 minutes.

People are social creatures.  We congregate to play, party, participate in or watch sports, learn and to pray.  All of these things have clubs associated with them.  We have golf clubs, hockey clubs, opera societies, bridge clubs, walking groups outdoor adventure clubs, Masonic lodges and Shriners, gem collectors associations and on and on and on.  The point is where people find something they like to do, there is usually others that like to do the same thing and then we like to get together to do that thing.  Smoking pot is no different than any other social activity humans become involved in.

Gayle at the front desk of the VCBC
Gayle at the front desk of the VCBC

Compassion clubs have come to hold a special place in my soul.  I have been an active member of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club for 12 years.  I have seen it go through many changes and it has seen me go through much, too.  Through my 10 years at the club I have been a member, an employee, manager, developer of new products (mostly food and skin products), co-owner/operator and councilor/mom.  I have also done many home visits for folks to sick or frail to make it to the club.  My great thanks to Jim for taking that responsibility from me, as it can be very intense.  In that time period, the VCBC has provided me with immeasurable amounts of support and love as I have gone through homelessness, a divorce, my mother’s death, moving to a new home and my second bout of cancer.  I have managed to keep my sanity and have a lot of fun through all that because of the support of the club’s fellow members.

Then there was the working group.  That is where this all began.  The birth of the Cannabis Digest.  We had just survived 4 police raids and were preparing for the trials.  I had been rummaging through the Hempology 101 archives and found some copies of the group’s first published newsletter, The BudWiser.  I thought, then said at a meeting, “Why don’t we start a newsletter again.  And that was that.  Now, 40 issues later, I could not be more proud.  The newsletter has grown into a full-blown newspaper.  Now the web version is getting busy and we decided a blog may help us stay more current in these fast changing times. For changing they are.

Cannabis is very important to me because of all of the herbs I love and use, for every complaint, problem or celebration, cannabis helps with rebalancing, regenerating, soothing pain and easing worries.  For PTSD there is nothing better.  You can read more about my life in CD #  and on our web-page where you will find the Monday Magazine article I was featured in.  I have also told my story in one of the UVic lectures recorded on youtube.

I was brought up on a small farm.  We produced a lot of our own food.  So when I found my first pot seeds in a bag of Mexican pot I said to myself. “I know what to do with these.”  So I did plant them, my mom did find them and threw them out.  So I went and found them and replanted them outside, where they belonged anyway.  My defense is that I was only 13.  So started a lifetime love affair.

The only thing I am properly trained in is as a Long Term Care Aid and One Brain, emotional kinestheology defusions.  I have studied herbs, shiatsu, reflexology, and acupressure as well as detoxification techniques, color therapy, nutrition and stones/crystals, all because 20 years ago my physician told me I was going to die and there was nothing the medical profession could do to help me.  So I have 15 years on the prognosis because I changed my diet, my thought patterns, my life.  I embraced cannabis like never before and started eating it medically instead of recreationally.  Things changed then, I started getting better.  My doctor documented everything I did.

One of my heros is gene Rodenberry- not because he let me escape from reality to places yet undiscovered but because he created a world where everyone’s needs were met equally and everyone’s ambitions were encouraged so they could be achieved.  In my tiny mind, this seems to be the only way we will ever excel as a race.  I believe the cannabis plant will help us achieve this.  Why should it not, after all, the cannabis plant has kept me alive and sane for 57 years so far.

The world is waking up on more levels than just the cannabis front.  People are calling for world peace and cooperation, while calling for oil and mining companies to stick it, like never before.  Lawns are being dug and replaced with gardens, people are going off the grid and embracing 100 mile diets.  Yah people!


Thank you one and all for all of the years of support and dedication.  Ted and I could not have accomplished all of this without a lot of help and support from a lot of different people.


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