As part of a mission to educate the public about the cannabis plant, the International Hempology 101 Society–a non-profit group of which I am the general manager–will produce a series of videos to complement a textbook written by me, Ted Smith. HEMPOLOGY 101: THE HISTORY AND USES OF CANNABIS SATIVA is the most comprehensive book written on the subject to date, describing the full story of this incredible plant. Through it, I share my vision of a cannabis rich future, and provide a powerful message that the masses need to hear.
The videos will not be as detailed the book, but many people find watching and listening to someone speak for a few minutes easier than reading a lengthy account. In some cases I will discuss things not covered in the textbook, while other important information will be left out in order to keep the videos brief. Shows will highlight facts and insights raised in this book, in some cases providing updates and new discoveries. These videos will also give International Hempology 101 an opportunity to feature a few pictures that could not fit into the book.
Seeking to take advantage of every opportunity to teach people about the wide range of uses of cannabis discovered by humans, each short video will focus upon a handful of topics. The plan is eventually to create larger videos by linking the shorter ones together. We will begin by creating chapters, and eventually produce a long movie based on the entire book. Other video plans include investigating the wide variety of developments in the cannabis industry.
HEMPOLOGY 101, the book, provides a complete history of the cannabis plant and the various uses different societies have discovered for it. There are several chapters that cover cannabis prohibition and the struggle for legalization. Complete with vital information about the medical uses of cannabis and the enormous potential of hemp, this book provides a full picture of the future of this incredible plant.
Many have wondered if any of the first three editions is still available, as it has surprised quite a few to see that what we have now is the 4th edition of the textbook. There were only 100 copies of each of the first three editions made, and they never appeared in stores. They were published as photocopies on hemp paper, with holes punched in the sides, which I personally bound with hemp string. Over the years, I have been touched to hear how many of my friends still have the copies they bought, traded or worked for.
When I first started Hempology 101 in Victoria in 1995, it was my intention to write the book and travel across the country in the summer of 1996. At the time I lived in a van and anything seemed possible. I figured I could simply photocopy and make more books when I needed money for gas and food. Starting the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club cancelled that plan, but the book did come to life. Two editions were printed in those early years.
Then in 2001, Ted’s Books came to life, and I published the 3rd edition. Ted’s Books was really a front for the Victoria Cannabis Buyer’s Club (VCBC). But still, it felt silly to have a quasi bookstore that did not even have my own book available. But that’s another whole story. With only 100 copies available, the 3rd edition did not take long to sell. Sadly, in January 2002 the club began to get raided, and Ted’s Books shut down forever. At that point I became more deeply immersed in my activism, and had to put working on the book to the side.
A decade later it was time to publish the 4th edition, this time in the traditional format. There was no option to print on hemp paper again, as there is none available, at least not at a cost low enough to make it such a project viable. It breaks my heart to know that the book has been printed on trees, when the whole point of writing it was to convince people that paper should be made mostly from hemp. However, without the proper information and inspiration contained in books such as mine, that future will never happen. In this way I can say with all of my heart that this book can help to liberate cannabis, and that I am helping to make hemp paper a reality.
Finances have always an issue in my life, as they frequently are with activists. So I turned to my love, Gayle Quin, to borrow money from her small inheritance to publish the book. While I could have gone to other sources for the required capital, Gayle had both the resources and the desire to help. A good friend, Whelm King, had recently published a book privately, and was instrumental in making publication happen. Ryan Fink and Andrew Brown worked tirelessly to make sure that my grammar and punctuation were adequate. Finally, Sarita Mielke, put it all together into a book. The rest is history.
Holding my book in my hands for the first time was a dramatic experience. It had taken 17 years to turn my dream book into a reality, and I believed that I now had the tool I needed to drive my point home. I had finally achieved a goal that for many years had seemed far from my grasp. At the same time, I became aware that my work had in fact only begun. Now I would have to work hard to make sure my book was read and shared by people from all walks of life. This was the start of a new and very real task.
I started immediately by traveling across the country as much as possible, flogging my wares shamelessly. We held 4 conventions in a whirlwind eastern Canada tour, drove to Saskatchewan to run through a hemp field, and attended several pot gatherings. While it was all a lot of fun, books sales never did much more than cover some of the expenses.
Later, I was able to show the book during free, non-credit Hempology 101 lectures that I was teaching at the University of Victoria. I had actually been banned from the University of Victoria for a few years after being arrested after 420, for passing joints around. But when I was allowed back in 2005, one of the first things I did was start this free, weekly, non-credit lecture series. A University of Victoria Student Society Hempology 101 Club had begun, and was really beginning to explode. These lectures really helped members of the group to learn and have fun together.
We tried to livestream the lectures when they started, as well as film them later for Youtube. It was clear that far more people watched them later than could attend live in class. Eventually technical problems and lack of advertising made the livestreaming seem less important, but the videos have been well received and there is an obvious potential there to have an even bigger audience.
For personal reasons I have had to stop teaching the free, non-credit lecture series but I am still very committed to telling the world the story of this incredible plant. It seems to me that these videos might be the next best step in this endeavour. In fact, these videos should be able to contain far more information and get watched far more often than my lectures ever could. Onward and upward!