We have dedicated this issue of the Cannabis Digest to the inspiration of our publication: Gayle Quin. My love died peacefully in her home on Thursday September 22, 2016 after a long battle with cancer. Long before we were partners she convinced me to start a newsletter to inform the members of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club and the paper you see before you would not exist without her passion, dedication and commitment to helping others learn about this incredible plant.
For those who never go the opportunity to meet Gayle, there are several videos from lectures she did for the University of Victoria Student Society Hempology 101 Club on youtube and many stories within about her. You can find many articles by her, and about her, on the Cannabis Digest website. While it is impossible to recreate her magical spirit for display, we have done our best to preserve our memories of her in pictures, stories and videos.
While I will save most of the stories about her for other places, it is fitting to tell how she spurred me forward in the development of this newspaper. Gayle became a member of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club in the summer of 2003, just after we survived 4 police raids. Not long after joining, she was helping a lot with Hempology 101, in particular the student club at UVic. Soon she had a part time job at the front desk of the club. We were at a meeting I was holding for the members when she stated that it was necessary to start a newsletter to keep the VCBC members up-to-date on our various court cases, the new federal medical cannabis programs, new products and other news in the movement.
Our first issue of the Cannabis Digest was simply one large photocopy folded in half to make it look like 4 pages. Funded entirely by the VCBC, only a few local stores carried the newsletter. It grew slowly over the next few years but was nothing more than photocopies stapled together until 2009 when Owen Smith was arrested in the VCBC bakery.
At that point Cannabis Culture Magazine had stopped printing and there was no Canadian cannabis publication around, as everyone seemed to be shifting to on-line projects. We figured we had an important story and trial that needed to be shared. We also realized patients across the country were lacking information on the subject in general. Turning the newsletter
Into a newspaper was a big jump but with the help of Andrew Brown, who edited his university newspaper, the Navigator, we were able to manage getting enough advertisers, writers and distributors to make it worth the leap.
After Andrew moved on a few years ago we were very lucky to have Owen step up to the plate and keep the paper going. Having made many posters to promote shows he was playing as a dj, it was not long before he was improving many aspects of the papers design. From making ads, to writing articles, to making the design and laying out the paper, Owen has been doing a great job both in print and on-line keeping the Cannabis Digest on top.
It has been a real struggle preparing for this issue as caring for my love has taken a great deal of my time and energy the last few months. While I had hopes of spending lots of time developing special features for issue #50, the reality is that we have had to delay printing and have changed very little of the paper. For example, I had planned on spending a lot of time connecting with dispensaries to include them in the listings in the paper and on the webpage.
Now that I do not have to spend most of my time looking after my love I will be doing a lot more with the paper. Expect to see me traveling with my gameshow, REACH FOR THE POT, trying to sell my textbook, HEMPOLOGY 101 THE HISTORY AND USES OF CANNABIS SATIVA, helping with the VCBC, working with the BC Independent Cannabis Alliance and checking out cannabis events across the country. It will take some time to heal from this and I will never be the same person I was before, or after, meeting Gayle Quin but with so many good friends and so much support from the cannabis community I have no doubt that whatever direction I end up going it will be full of excitement and prosperity.
Publishing 50 issues of the Cannabis Digest has been a great pleasure. I never expected to be a newspaper publisher and yet I could not imagine being without this wonderful tool for education. Building a community of supporters of the Cannabis Digest has been like creating my own family and it has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Looking forward to seeing the next 50 issues.
Thank you so much to everyone who has advertised, written for, distributed or even simply read our paper to validate our efforts. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.