Publisher’s Note: Times They are a Changin’

Ted Smith
Our world is a changing place, and for those of us working in the cannabis field, change has never happened so quickly. Being able to adjust to changing environments is critical for the survival of an individual, organization, or even idea. Indeed, being able to help prepare the way for change to happen often allows one to be positioned to take advantage of the evolving situation.

Opportunities to enter the legal cannabis industry are cropping up all over. With the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington state unfolding before everyone’s eyes, investors are frothing at the mouth at the prospects of making vast profits. Jurisdictions around the world are reconsidering the policies regarding medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, or both.

Often lost in this heated discussion is the hemp plant. Lost, but not forgotten. Many farmers are also anxious to see cannabis lose its bad rap so they can start growing it on their farms. It is with hemp that the true potential for this plant comes to life.

Here in Canada, things seem to be going backwards, sideways, forward, and upside-down all at the same time. Certainly the general population seems ready for change, though there are some pockets of resistance. Unfortunately, the biggest opponent of legalization here is the reigning Conservative government.

New medical cannabis regulations that turn patients into criminals for growing their own medicine are going to wreak havoc. Licensed Producers seem poised to develop massive grow-ops across the country, but dispensaries are left out of the picture again, forcing patients to purchase their herb by mail order.

Hope for the future seems to lay with the Liberal party and their young leader. With growing support for legalization within the party, it seems they are the logical choice for many herb-loving Canadians in the next election. Certainly the NDP have been disappointing. But the next election seems far away.

In my own life, the past few years have seen many changes. After the bakery trial, Revenue Canada came after me for not collecting GST and paying employee taxes, which forced me to declare bankruptcy and turn the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club into a nonprofit society. This has been a dream come true, as the group, under the leadership of Dieter Macpherson, has slowly flourished.

When my book came out around the same time, I hoped to lead the life of a famous author, traveling the world and bringing light to the plant. That has not worked out, as sales have dwindled since its release. For better or worse, it seems the age of books is drawing to an end.

Meanwhile, the newspaper has slowly improved to its current state. We have built a solid team of writers and advertisers. Hopefully, the paper will continue to grow in size and distribution as the legalization train rolls in. Though it has taken a lot longer than I expected it would take to get the paper breaking even, now that we are close to paying for it, there should be nothing but blue sky ahead.

On the other hand, some things in my personal life have not been so great. My lover, Gayle Quin, has had the cancer spread throughout her body. Most of my time now is spent looking after her and enjoying the time we have been given together. She is seeing the best doctor in the world, Dr. Neil McKinney, and we are doing everything we can to help her fight this battle.

In order to spend as much time with Gayle as possible, I am going to be ending a number of Hempology 101 activities that I have organized over the years. This includes the free non-credit lecture series I taught at the University of Victoria, the annual tournament of my game show “Reach for the Pot,” the annual anniversary march of Hempology 101, cannabis caroling, and the annual cannabis contests. While these events have been interesting and a lot of fun for me and many others, I feel now is the time to let go most of the events I organize in Victoria so that I may concentrate on life at home and future projects.

This leaves me the weekly 420 circles at the University of Victoria, Apr. 20, Cannabis Day, and Halloweed to still organize—commitments I feel I can manage for a long time. Hopefully, this change in schedule will allow me to get out to other non-cannabis events and educate the public.

There is a discussion among the board of directors and others in Victoria in regards to trying to keep some of these traditions, or even create new ones, but this will be a new direction for the group that I will have to watch more than lead. It will be interesting to see how Hempology 101 evolves after this stage. After organizing at least 3,500 cannabis meetings, rallies, lectures, 420 circles, etc., it is time for me to slow down a little and let others take over that responsibility.

This means I will be spending a lot more time at home, giving me even more time to write and focus on the Cannabis Digest. We plan upon improving the online version of the paper, adding a daily blog featuring its writers. This will allow readers to follow the work of our writers and get a sense of the issues they are dealing with.

It will also give me time to start putting more energy into resurrecting a youth center, much like the one I volunteered at when I lived in a van 18 years ago. But that is another story.

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