When I started my life of cannabis activism, people were going to jail for a plant, there was no medical marijuana front being fought, no gardens to save, no MMAR or MMPR and no marijuana licensing.
It was a simpler time, vocal cannabis activists fought against prison for pot and shed light on how laws against cannabis hurt taxpayers and communities.
Things have changed on the front lines of this cannabis drug war.
There are now two defined sides — a medical front and a legalization front.
Vancouver is like no other city in the world for cannabis, we have a massive, involved movement here.
Cannabis is everywhere, and so are master growers, edible makers, concentrates makers and dispensaries.
Anyone in Vancouver can easily walk into a dispensary, get their card and access cannabis, without fear of persecution.
But Vancouver’s cannabis market is purely that of Vancouver.
Outside of this smokey, protective, elite bubble, busts are happening and people are being charged for involvement with a plant.
Vancouver has lost any motivation to fight for legalization.
Sure we have dab downs, smoke outs, glass shows and a lot of smokey fun, but I still see cannabis illegal.
The community here is split into smaller groups that have all, mostly openly, criticized one another.
I could write a list of people’s names that wouldn’t even sit at the same table together to smoke a joint.
We do one global march each year in Vancouver and, in 2015, about 350 attended. The 420 Smoke Out farmers market party can swell to 30,000.
Other than that, we haven’t collectively fought for true legalization.
Take a look at how the government, Health Canada, and the large cannabis producers have organized against us, and how further they are in achieving their version of legalization, without our voices being heard.
These groups are organized and have created The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA), which represents several cannabis producers licensed and inspected by Health Canada. The CMCIA are calling on the “federal government to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries in Canada, in order to protect public health and public safety.”
Kim Derry of THC Meds Ontario Inc., along with George Smitherman, a former Ontario politician, will lobby Bill Blair, the point man for Liberal legalization, to keep cannabis production in the hands of the licensed producers and have publicly stated people should not be growing cannabis in their backyards.
Derry, I should mention, is a 40-year friend of Blair.
Licensed producers are represented with a united voice and are coming after gardens, dispensaries and anyone else that gets in the way of a corporate controlled and well-organized monopoly.
At this point we don’t stand a chance.
Where is our organized group? Who is the leader? What action have we made?
There was unity shown with the MMAR coalition to raise funds to save their gardens, Jodie Emery recently called for a moratorium on police arrests for possession, Dana Larson sent all 184 federal Liberal MPs a gram of cannabis with his new book and I’m sure a lot of keyboard warriors have been writing to the new Liberal government.
We have a very slim shot to create a free and fair market for all Canadians, but not without our voices being heard.
We can’t sit back and wait for them to write these rules.
Ohio was set to grant a legal monopoly to 10 cannabis cultivators before it went to ballot and voters rejected it.
We would also vote against a monopoly takeover, if we were given the chance.
It’s time to put our differences aside and unite for one day, for one last and final push.
Participation would involve the community across the nation — a day of action from coast to coast, in front of every MP’s office in the country.
We’ll bring our message to them, let them know what we, the cannabis community, are lobbying for.
We’re lobbying for a true, open, free and fair market that includes all Canadians. All those that represent the true cannabis world in Canada.
Or we sit back, smoke a joint, watch, wait and see.