by Al Graham P.A.C.E.
Over the last few months P.A.C.E. has expanded its location and coverage of our Cannabis Educational Series. In our last article I mentioned that P.A.C.E. had started showing this series in a third location and that number four was knock- ing on the door.
Well they came knocking and I’m happy to say that our fourth location started up in June. We are very happy to have both Green Tree Eco Hydroponics of Roseneath and the Carpe Diem Cafe in Peterborough as people advocating cannabis education. It doesn’t end there either as a group of advocates from Toronto have approached us about expanding what we do into that city Not only are we working on growing our locations but we’ve also participated in a couple of 420 events and attended a court case for the cause.
While P.A.C.E. is reaching out to people through these new businesses, the online communications program Skype has the power to bring people together when they have common causes. Here at P.A.C.E. we have been working hard to bring people that want to help to educate people to those who would like to hear from them. Skype has allowed us to do that. Our recent interviews have been very informative and very educational.
Over the last few months we’ve talked with several people
Brad Irwin, the owner of Hippie
Butter, a hemp products company based
out of Texas. He explained
the legalities around it in his country and how he deals with
these issues. We talked about the nutrient
value of hemp products whether it was hemp seed,
flour or oil. From there
we learned that Brad does process
some of his prod- ucts himself while other items come from here in Canada. We’ve
also been able to talk with people that are in the movement. This would include people like Amy Brown
from C.A.L.M. a compassion center from Toronto. Amy
talked to us about what she does at C.A.L.M. as well as her activism. She informed everyone on how to get regis- tered at a compassion center and what all is involved from filling out the paperwork; to how the doctor office is con- tacted for verification purposes. When it came to her activism the one thing that I found very interesting and heart warming was when she told us about how she worked with people and businesses to bring gifts (gloves, hats, food and cannabis) to some of the homeless people on the streets in the city. We have also had a chance to talk with Georgia Peshel of Georgiatoons. While you can always find Georgia’s car- toons in TY she also informed us that her cartoons are being shown in about nine different magazines around the world. The characters featured in them are dear to her heart while some of them are people or situations that she may have been in. She has been seen carrying a book to keep notes and comments from people for ideas for her cartoons so you never know you may recognize the situa- tion she has drawn.
The 5th annual gathering of the Peterborough 420 rally came and went as the first four did, quietly and without an incident. This year everyone once again gathered at Victoria Park at the north end of the downtown. It’s a large park with a giant hill on one side with a three lane one way street on the other. Organizing this event once again Blazin Wrinkz and his partner MaryJane Ganja Girl, a couple like many of us, people who want to edu- cate the uneducated and educated.
Each year these two have picked out a stretch that borders the road and allows pedestrians to walk up to the booths to check things out. This year the P.A.C.E. booth was manned by Jen and Sharon, both residents of this city. These two ladies have worked shows several times with TY within the greater Toronto area and are well educated on what they speak on. The two of them reported that the crowd was mixed at times with it leaning towards the younger side. Whether it’s a young or older crowd, it does- n’t matter as all age demographics can use the education.
P.A.C.E. and Blazin Wrinklz Enterprises weren’t the only booths attending as members from the NORML’s Womens Alliance and iheartfreedom.ca were also in atten- dance.
It takes business and people to join
together to make these
events happen. A big thank you goes out to the Intergalactic Trading Company. iheartfreedom.ca, Collett Human
of Peterborough as well as P.A.C.E.,
GTA Seedbank, NORML and NORML Womens Alliance
for being do’ers and not watchers.
While many people around the world celebrated the 420 some supporters of P.A.C.E. and of our community decid- ed to go to the land that people call the home of cannabis, the land of the 420 also known as Jamaica. This small group of advocates, now known as JaCanadian’s, chose to spend some time in this land but also spent time with the people that live there. This group has asked me not to include their names as they don’t seek to gain from it but would like to share it with everyone, hoping that others in the cannabis community would do the same.
While at the resort they were able to spend some time with the locals who worked there as well with the visitors. While many may take this as a holiday the group report- ed back that they were quite busy educating the tourists along the beach. Many were surprised at how open the JaCanadian people were and how much knowledge they knew. They were told several times that they were needed back home and while the JaCanadians couldn’t go back to where these people lived, they were invited to join our mailing list to learn what we do.
The group reported back that they made some good friends with those who worked at the resort such as Lorretta the housekeeper, Rastman a grounds keepers, Ricardo and Tully from the bar as well as Marlon the bell hop.
But the one thing that they reported to me was what they did the night of the 420. After celebrating on the beach with the other tourists the group headed back to their room to do what they came here for. They all gathered in a room with several bags, not travel bags but bags of items that they had purchased for the children. For several hours the small group stuffed bags full of paper, pens, erasers, markers and many other items that children could use. Back in North America people are doing without but this group wanted to give back something to the people who were hosting them.
The next day the group jumped into a cab and away they went. Their cab driver took them towards a magical place called Mayfield Falls. This magnificent falls was located deep in the forest along the top of one of the mountain roads that they travelled. One of the group described the route to this place as an “unassumed road” that she would see back home.
While the road was iffy the people that they met along the road were not. The group stopped several times to talk to young mothers or grandmothers along the way to talk to them about what they were doing. After explaining the bag full of items for the children not one mother or grand- mother turned down the group’s offer of assistance. The group actually apologised for not being able to do more but knew something was better than nothing. Many of the children were so excited with the gifts and promised them that they would give mom or Grama some quiet time while they played or made crafts. When I talked with this small group of JaCanadian’s they told me that their hearts grew with joy as they did this. They said “seeing the happy faces on the children and receiving the hugs and kisses from them with be something that we’ll never forget”.
Global Marijuana March
On the first weekend of May the cannabis community from around the world joins together to protest
the world’s cannabis laws. Once again P.A.C.E.
attended the Global Marijuana March in
the City of Toronto.
This year things were different, there was no stage, there were no vendors, there was a new shorter route approved and there no was permit issued for this event. But did any of these things change the overall message? No, none of this really changed a thing.
The crowd, while smaller was still over 20,000 strong. People still gathered at Queens Park, the parade still hit the news and people still vended. There was still a 420 cel- ebration at Queens Park and I’m sure everyone had a great time.
One interesting comment that I heard was that the EMS was bored with nothing to do; can the same thing be said about other forms of legal drugs?
In early May a few P.A.C.E. participates headed to Toronto to attend and hear the Ontario Superior Court appeals case involving Matt Mernaugh. This case is about an ill Canadian who cannot access the Health Canada medical marijuana program because he cannot find a doc- tor to sign his paperwork.
This all happened a few years ago when Matt was arrested for growing cannabis. During his trial he was able to prove his medical necessity as well as prove that he couldn’t get a doctor to sign his application. Matt and his lawyer Paul Lewin didn’t stop there as they also proved that there are many Canadians fighting for the right to use cannabis medication over pharmaceuticals.
When Matt and Paul first won this case the people of the country didn’t realize what the outcome was until they were told that the judge had given them government 90 days to change our cannabis laws or it would become legal for all. The government fought that and won a “stay” (put the judge’s decision on hold) until a higher court could hear this appeal.
As of this writing we are still waiting on the decision from this panel of three Judges. Will cannabis be legal? Will either side take this case to the Supreme Court of Canada if they lose, or will the losing party end the run here? Will cannbis be legal for all or will there be a remedy put into place to solve this problem? A problem that one judge described as never ending and fully expects to see more cases like this unless the medical marijuana program in Canada is fixed. Will the “fixed” program look like the one that Health Canada is trying to implement after los- ing the original case? Does the government know that it may lose thus all the more reason to change the existing program? Will there be easier access to this program for patients? According to our rights we the people have a choice of our medication. Unfortunately a choice that some like Matt is now exercising through the courts while it should just be automatic.
During the spring of 2012 P.A.C.E. joined up with Treating Yourself Magazine to put together a prize that we could raffle off and bring exposure to the Treating Yourself Expo. The TY Grab Bag came equipped with many prizes including a custom made P.A.C.E Calendar featuring many pictures of two award winning strains from the TY Medical Marijuana Cup, a TY embroidered carrying bag, an autographed copy of TY Issue 1, Hemp soap and four educational DVD’s. This included the 2010 and 2011 TY Expo DVD sets that totals nine discs as well two other information filled DVD’s in The Union and What if Cannabis Cured Cancer. But the educational package doesn’t end there as they also won two weekend passes to this years Expo. At this time P.A.C.E. would like say “thank you” to all who participated in this draw and to Marco Renda of Treating Yourself for donating part of this prize package.
I am happy to announce that our draw winner was Debra Hunter of Ayr Ontario. When we called Debra she was ecstatic upon hearing the news that she had won. When I asked her where she had pur- chased her ticket from she told me that she had bought it at the TY booth while attending the Toronto National Home and Garden Show in March.
She wrote us to say “Received the package and was overjoyed with all the prizes and can’t wait till tomorrow. We will be there first thing when the doors open. I have taken a picture with my prize and will send it once it’s downloaded. Once again thanks to P.A.C.E and all the hard work you guys put into helping people like me get what they need. Bless all of you. “
We’re sure Debra will enjoy her educational pack- age and will start to become people advocating cannabis education.
The proceeds from this draw have gone towards furthering the education that P.A.C.E. is doing. This money has purchased a couple of projector screens for the two original locations where we hold our Cannabis Education Series. For two years these locations have been kind enough to allow us to edu- cate people at their business free of charge so we are going to install these screens as a way to return the kindness and to improve the experience for those who attend.
Next Stop….. Where there will be many people advocating cannabis education, the 3rd Annual Treating Yourself Expo