(cover image from Cannabis in Canada: The Illustrated History)
Well I may as well start with the most important update. My love, Gayle Quin, is still with us and will be celebrating her 59th birthday on April 16. Although she was sent home to die over 500 days ago, thanks to volumes of cannabis oils that friends have donated to her, and to love, magnetic energy and other treatments, she is still struggling to stay with us. While she has not been out of bed for 8 months, her determination to fight the cancer and enjoy life are an inspiration to me and to everyone else who knows her.
It has been frustrating to withdraw from my activism during the most exciting time of my career but this is what fate has handed us. In order to stay focused on looking after my love, I am turning down many opportunities to speak or party. Knowing that there is so much momentum towards a brighter future means a great deal to us, but I cannot carry as much weight as I once did.
However, this does not mean I am not busy. In fact, one of the ways I have tried to deal with this situation is by keeping busy. Otherwise I would just be spending a lot of time at the end of Gayle’s bed wondering what to do.
At the University of Victoria, a small dedicated crew has helped keep the weekly Weds 420 meetings happening through the school year. The UVSS Hempology 101 club does not meet in the summer, but will be back in full swing in September. Not too sure what is happening with the UBC Hempology 101 Club, as it is totally independant from us now, but I understand it is now bigger and more active than ever, and do not doubt it will be up to something this summer.
April is going to be a very busy month. Of course, right after Gayle’s birthday we have the April 20 festivities to manage. Since 1998 we have helped organize a big smoke-in at City Hall in downtown Victoria, with close to 2,000 coming out for the last couple of years. Weather permitting, we expect about the same size crowd this year, though it seems we have more to celebrate than ever.
April 20 events are expected across the country in many places that have not dared to try them before. The largest 420 in the country is moving from the Vancouver Art Gallery to Sunset Beach, as the old space is under construction. Hopefully this will be the first year police do not bother people at these events, especially in small towns and cities where people have been afraid to smoke in public due to tight law enforcement.
Just a few days after, on April 24, I will be running in the Times Colonist 10K, wearing Herb, the large mascot of Hempology 101. This will be the fourth time I have run a 10 km half-marathon in Herb, the last time doing it in just under 1 hour. It is early in morning but if you can get up and take a picture please send it to me asap, or better yet, join the crew at the bong hit station on Dallas Road.
Then on May 12 the International Hempology 101 Society will be hosting its first monthly noon hour discussion at the downtown Victoria public library, on the of legalization of cannabis. Covering a wide range of issues, these Cannabis Conversations with Cam Birge will give cannabis friendly politicians, doctors, lawyers, professors, patients health-care professionals and industry leaders an opportunity to explain their positions. There is no charge for attendance; donations will be accepted at the door.
In June we are hosting picnics to celebrate the anniversary of Owen Smith’s big win at the Supreme Court of Canada. There is a substantial article in the paper about why we have moved International Medical Marijuana Day to June 11, so I will spare you by not repeating the facts. It is very exciting to be attempting to establish an international cannabis holiday.
Of course we will also be hosting a 420 on the front steps of the Victoria Courthouse on July 1. We will play our unique game show, REACH FOR THE POT, and hotbox the front steps of the courthouse. It will be interesting to see if security and the police try to harass us about being there again, but we will certainly be ready for them.
As for the VCBC, the AGM held in Jan was packed, with many members out to help the club grow and evolve. The voting for the board was very close. Congratulations to Evan Lane and Hillary Marks for joining the board, and thank you both for taking the time time to make our club a better place. Also, a big thank you goes out to Rob and Joy Macintyre for their help on the board of directors.
The potluck at the VCBC to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the club was a wonderful event. Many of the members came, and there was so much food leftover that we took a big pile to the homeless camp on the back lawn of the courts. Sure has been an amazing 20 years.
Soon after the paper is printed the club is expected to start the first steps in getting a City of Victoria license to operate. It is an awkward situation: we are happy to get a license, but fear the that new rules could force us to shut down the safe inhalation site, stop selling certain edible products, stop deliveries, stop allowing children in the club with their parents, and stop mail orders. Hopefully the city council will listen to our pleas and create rules that do not hurt patients.
We are also very happy to hear that Victoria is finally getting a vapor lounge. The Green Ceiling will be opening on Quadra St in April, giving tourists and locals a place to gather and enjoy the cannabis culture. Hopefully many more lounges will open soon.
If you are interested in helping with any of our events, feel free to attend our monthly board meetings. We hold them at the Beard Bros Society on Yates St at 7:30 pm on the first Tues of every month. Everyone welcome. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.