By Gayle Quin & Ted Smith

This is a most exciting start to the new year. There have been no charges laid in connection with the Bake-Op. We have just celebrated our 14th Anniversary of the Club with a small party at the store. A big thanx to everyone who helped make food, and helped us throughout the last year. We are expanding faster than ever right now, and it is even hard for the staff to keep up with all the changes, additions, and extra projects that Ted has planned.

With Parliament taking an extended vacation, Bill C-15 has been abolished. Please look for a new improved Bill C-? coming this spring! Ted and I would like to express our thanks to Kristen, for her hard work in organizing the phone jam; as well, a big thanks to everyone who wrote, phoned, or emailed Parliament and Senate. Every little bit of help counts. Our efforts have put us on the forefront of grass roots cannabis activism in Canada. We have organized two rallies against Bill C-26 and Bill C-15, both of which were attended by NDP MP Denise Savioe and Liberal MP Dr. Keith Martin. And the phone jam was picked up across the country as one of the few ways to get our messages to decision makers. Please read Matthew Elrod’s expanded article for more information on how to get ready for the next round of pro- posed drug laws.

Thanks to everyone for their patience through the bakery’s transitional pe- riod. All limits on baked goods have been lifted—although we appreciate a warning phone call, or coming in to pre-pay for larger orders. Though we have not found a permanent spot for the bakery, we should not experience cookie supply problems again. Another exciting thing to happen is the on-line release of our cookbook. It’s an on-going piece of work, so there will be additions as we expand our product line, or improve our techniques. We always appreciate feedback—that’s how we come up with new products in the first place!

My favourite time of year is fast approaching. This year is our 11th Canna- bis Convention, and an incredible line-up of people are expected to speak. It’s an intense, knowledge-packed four hours. If you can’t get out, the lectures will be posted on YouTube, and soon posted on the hempology.ca website—as we are working on a video section.

As if we didn’t have enough to do already, we are hosting the 1st Annual Cannabis Convention in Naniamo, on March 28. With much help from Andrew, Hempology 101 has managed to start a student club at Vancouver Island University, in Naniamo. Andrew has organized a couple of film showings at VIU, and we know there is enough interest in the area to take it to the next level. We are looking forward to starting many more Hempology 101 clubs at post-secondary schools, with a UBC starting next fall.

In November, we began doing weekly deliveries to members who live on the other side of the Malahat. We go as far as Courtney, so please contact the front desk if you or someone you know needs this service. We can also sign up new mem- bers along the way, if proper medical documentation is provided. The best surprise so far was finding that the North Island Compassion Club is still operating, and we now have their contact info listed in the Cannabis Digest. We have given the club a baking lesson—with about 20 folks in attendance—and are supplying them with some food and skin products until they have the capacity to do it all themselves. We hope to help form clubs in several cities on the Island, and eventually eliminate the need for deliveries.

I almost forgot to tell you about our summer trip to Toronto—it was very enlightening to me. We get this little halo that we glow about, here on the island, that the rest of humanity gets very jealous about when they get a glimpse of it. There are a lot of people who are kept isolated, scared to help their fellow man, and being forced to live less-than-honest lives, simply for their choice of medicine. At the eight clubs I have visited across Canada, there has been a different welcome at every one. Only The Dispensary in Vancouver would sign me up as member, having the same mandate as our club—proof of a perma- nent physical disease or condition. It is wise to travel with a copy of your doctor’s note, as the Rainbow Club in Toronto would serve me three times as a visitor without having to fill in there registration form. Most clubs in Toronto require a doctor to fill out a registration form. Although you don’t have to have a recommendation to use cannabis, you have no choice in letting your doctor know what you intend upon doing, because the club’s name is on the letter head.

The folks at HUMAN were just amazing. They have their office in a Pro- fessional Health Care Building, and have Alternative/Nutritional care givers on staff. They have been in their new space for nearly a year, and are well on their way—helping to improve the lives of people through the use of cannabis. The most disturbing part of our visit was the recur- ring theme of having to hide—mostly out of fear of being robbed with no means for recourse, not being able to ask for assistance from our supposed civic protectors.

The club is soon to release the second phase of the research study. We are comparing costs and benefits of cannabis use with that of pharmaceuticals. Often people will only listen to dollars instead of sense. Kristen and a small core of volunteers will be starting personal interviews soon. The short street quizzes we hold on Friday afternoons are a lot of fun, but we have put them off until the weather gets better. We’re finding it a great way to gather information and educate people at the same time. Please leave your name and contact into at the front desk if you would like to help with either research project.

We have been given a pile of unassembled copies of The Cultivation Game—a fun board game locally devel- oped in the ’90s. John Taylor also made the Finger Hockey Game you sometimes see at the club. You can buy them at the Sacred Herb—the exclusive dealer of Hempology 101 and TEAM 420 products. By the time this is published, though, our stickers, but- tons, t-shirts, postcards, and board game should be available in more locations. If your local head shop does not sell our stuff, please try to encourage them to get some of our products on their shelves. Most of our activism is supported by donations,patients, and growers, so the extra revenue sources will help us to educate the public further about cannabis.

Every little town needs a little help; be it a co-op, a delivery system, a club, or friendly neighbours helping each other! Soon we will be releasing the general operations manual of the club to help others gain a better understanding of the daily functions of our unique enterprise. After that we will be releasing a best practices manual for medical growers. These two documents, combined with the cookbook we just published, will provide the ABC’s of medical cannabis production and distri- bution. Best of luck to others starting community-based dispensaries like ours. There is an unfortunate trend towards businesses selling medical cannabis products and MMAR licenses, and can only be curbed by building cooperative ventures instead.