By Al Graham P.A.C.E. www.pace-online.ca
With the Treating Yourself Expo and the trade shows over for a while, we started to take in other events as well as continuing our own.
We interacted with people at events close to home and far away while spending some time with the friends that we don’t get to see on a regular basis. We cel- ebrate the birth of Canada as well as the birth of some of our friends while growing the education that we can deliver through social media.
Cannabis Day Peterborough
Following the Treating Yourself Expo we were off to Peterborough Ontario to help Wayne “Blazin Wrinklz” with his Cannabis Day event. Cannabis Day falls on Canada Day which is held on the first of July here in our country. Wayne and his wife Shalin or “MariJane GanjaGirl” have been organizing this Cannabis Day event for four years and every time they do, things go without a hitch. One would think that if you set up a cannabis protest in a city park that the police would show up but not once has there been an issue.
after noon we set up our booths at Victoria Park in Peterborough’s downtown. Up went the
shelter and in came the supplies and
the display counter. While P.A.C.E. just
had a large cannabis blanket with
several items such as old TY issues,
P.A.C.E. brochures and Cannabis Digest newspapers Wayne
brought in a big shelter to house all of his items. Over the years Wayne has built this up to the point where he has an actual
glass cabinet that holds everything and keeps it away from wandering
hands. The cabinet holds his contests
and the games which include figuring
out the amounts of things that are in jars or bags. This includes
items from seeds to roaches with the
prop- er guesser receiving a prize for their efforts.
One street over from us was the local Canada Day Parade that usually brings many people to the downtown. When the parade ended some of them headed to where they had
to go which led many of them to walk past or near our location. As expected people stopped in, asked questions and filled out their ballots.
Throughout the day people came and people went. There were no speeches to be heard, just people gathering and protesting the cannabis laws not only here in Canada but all around the world.
The police never stopped in to see us even though we were located one block south of their head office. While we were their many officers walked back to the station following the parade. This led them right passed our loca- tion with many of them saying pleasant greetings such as “nice day” but never a negative comment when they walked by.
When 4:20 arrived we had out medication session before moving onto the prize draws. Of course these draws couldn’t happen without the assistance of businesses and advocates such as GTA Seedbank, Peterborough Hydroponic Center, Blaizin Wrinklz Enterprises and P.A.C.E.. Wayne says a big thank you goes out to all of those who assisted in making this day a success.
Cannabis Day Oshawa
A week later Fourtwenty Deb and I headed to the four year old Oshawa Cannabis Day event but this one was held a week after the proper date. When I asked the event organizer Ben Fudge why this was held a week after Canada Day he told me “I have worked for the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee for Oshawa’s Canada Day celebration for the last 2 years. July first is a very big celebration in Oshawa, so it is hard to try to split the crowd.” He went on to say that “the first Saturday in July will be the date from now on. “
It appears Ben’s plan on waiting a week may have worked out as he figures about 300 people showed up and who knows maybe some wouldn’t have if he hadn’t waited. The day was perfect, nice weather, people honking their horns in support and a march through the downtown and not one police officer until the medicating time of 4:20pm. All afternoon long the police left the event alone as they never stopped in to check on things until two min- utes before our celebration. So why do they wait until basically 420 to enter the park? When I asked Ben he told me “this is the second time they have showed up at around quarter after four.” And when I asked why he said “they say it’s because shift change is at 4pm”. It makes one wonder why they don’t show up much earlier and that the shift change is just an excuse to break up our celebration. If breaking the law was a concern for them then one would think they would have shown up hours earlier.
When things got settled
down Ben started with the draws to award
those who came prepared. Ben doesn’t pull
numbers out of a hat or make you buy raffle tickets but what he does do is ask you to show or bring items to the event in order to win. A few examples would be when he asked for a real cannabis leaf and not a fake one. Another one is when he asked people to come forward if they thought that they had the most cannabis leaves printed on the clothing that they were wearing. If you were lucky enough to have an item that Ben was looking for you could have gone home with a prize from Bongman, the Peace Pipe in Oshawa, GTA Seed Bank, Medicinal Awareness, Sleepy Dragons, NORML Canada or from Humber Valley Seeds. When I inquired about what it takes to sponsor this event Ben told me that ”we ask for a prize donation valued at least $100. We then give away whatever you donate, and include your name in all of our printed flyers”.
Ben’s closing remarks to me were “As far as I am con- cerned, cannabis medicine is natural, and safe. It seems to be a tough battle to “normalize” cannabis consumption to the public eye. I work on it daily with the Accessibility Advisory Committee. To me, Cannabis Day has forced Oshawa and Durham to open their eyes to something they would rather keep hidden. I don’t feel like we should hide to take our medicine, because if we did, we could not participate in most daily activities. So Oshawa Cannabis day is a vehicle for “normalization.” Fourtwenty Deb and I didn’t win any prizes on this day but we had a great time participating in this event. Some people in the movement have problems with smoke outs and consuming in the public but as I told Ben afterwards
“whether it’s in a building or outside in the public its edu- cating people. Some people don’t like smoke outs and some have concerns but these can show people that cannabis smokers do not instantly kill people or go insane but instead shows that we are real people. In the end, everyone’s education will hopefully someday get us that “normalization” we all seek.
Cannabis Educational Series
With the second year of the P.A.C.E. Educational Series coming to an end I must say we look forward to many more to come. We have really enjoyed bringing this infor- mation to the public and have built many friendships along the road.
The first year saw us start our
educational series in two locations with just the movies or documentaries.
During year two we doubled the number of locations to four as well as starting
our educational Skype interviews. We were also able to purchase video screens
for the Grindhouse Cafe and The Studio, both business that
helped us get this started.
With us now entering year three we will have a new movie schedule as well as adding the option to be able to record our interviews. We now also have our own Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/peopleadvocatingmmjbecause during the past year we have been asked many times about the possibility of watching the Skype calls from a far. I looked into doing live stream- ing or recording of them and after doing some research we purchased an online recording program suggested by Skype. With the addition of being able to record and the YouTube channel these two things we allow us to reach out to more and more people on a daily basis.
Most if not all of our interviews will now be recorded and posted at the P.A.C.E. Youtube channel for anyone to watch. We’d like to thank Jacob Hunter of WhyProhibition.ca for being our first recorded interview and we look forward to many more with advocates from around the world.
Birthday Vape Tour
Over the last little while P.A.C.E. has went from cel- ebrating the countries birthday to celebrating peo- ple’s birthdays. Fourtwenty Deb and I were born on the same day in July but during different years. Because of this, this year we decided to celebrate them together. For Deb this was a milestone birth- day that many of us have celebrated, the half centu- ry mark. With this being her special year she chose to do a tour of the vapor lounges in Toronto.
For her birthday vape tour we knew that we could- n’t make it to every lounge but we figured that we could at least go to four of them. Deb sent out a notice to her Facebook friends that she was going to tour the cities lounges for her birthday and that everyone was more than welcome to attend.
We also decided to make this a bit of family affair as Debs daughter Melissa and my son Adam and his girlfriend Sharon joined us. Neither of them had ever been to a vapor lounge anywhere so this was also going to be a new experience to them.
We started off at Vape on the Lake in Etobicoke where people such as Naomi, Michael, Denise, Bonnie and other friends joined in. As everyone gathered together we all formed a large circle along a wall and spent a couple of hours conversing or touring 1 Of a Kind Glass located in lower half of this location. After a while Michael and Denise ordered in some pizza for everyone to enjoy while we had some delicious baked treats for dessert. With time running short and wanting to stay close to our scheduled times, once we ate we were on our way onto the next location, Vapor Central.
When we arrived at Vapor Central we ran into peo- ple such as Paul and Jennifer Faulker. After a while the group got a bit bigger and people had to sit sep- arately instead of together. At this point someone approached Chris Goodwin, the owner of Vapor Central about spinning the couches around to form a large “U”. This would us to see each other across the couches and allowed the opening to face the stage.
Shortly after we got settled back into the seats Cannabis Digest publisher/owner Ted Smith made an appearance on the stage. Ted was visiting Vapor Central as part of his country wide book release tour. Ted has been writing this book, a book on the history of cannabis called Hempology 101: The History and Uses of Cannabis Sativa for 16 years. Ted talked about his life as an advocated and about being arrested a few times before he talked about his book and the journey he has taken to put it all
together. The trip here to Ontario has also brought him home as he had lived in the London area of Ontario at one time.
Once Ted was done we made our way over to the Hot Box Cafe for some dinner. While there we were witness- es to the hospitality of its patrons as a man collected up some seats and allowed us to sit with him and his friends. Unfortunately we didn’t have a table which we would need for our dinner, which got us to move once more. This was only possible because a group of people left and others moved around on the extra large picnic tables to allow us to squeeze into the middle.
Dinner took a while but the place was very busy and the poor waitress was just on her second day on the job. Once we all ate we headed off to our fourth and final location, the Underground Comedy Club.
When we arrived at the Underground Comedy Club the venue’s owner Joey met us at the door. The first thing I noticed since I was last there in January was that the place now had its own signage and its own location. For years now it’s shared its spot with Clandestiny, so it’s good to see the place come out of its closet. We were told that the comedians that night would be the “open mic” variety but that’s not what we saw on stage. Our group had five comedians and none of them appeared to be rookies. We found out afterwards that two of them were in town for the Just for Laughs festival and they took the night to practise their acts. Our friend Bonnie got quite the laugh when one of the comedians started talking about her home town of North Bay, something to do with a church on the main corner coming into town, but Fourtwenty Deb, because of it being her birthday, took the brunt from one comedian who had fun with her and her daughter Melissa. After a very long day of celebrat- ing, meeting up with friends and making new ones we headed home with memories and for some much needed rest.
Pete and Sabby’s Birthday Bash
We started the month of July celebrating our countries birthday and we finish it up with the Birthday Bash put on by Pothead Pete and Sabby. These two transplanted Torontonians who moved into wide open farm country four years ago, have never gone a year without inviting their friends or anyone else who wants to attend, to their annual birthday bash.
The first year the two of them
celebrated their birthdays together (one day separates their birth dates) it was about
getting people out to see their new
place in the country. This has now
grown into an annual event that has gone from using a small stereo to now having
bands such as the well known Canadian cannabis group,
the Killin Time Band. When it comes to eating and keeping peoples
Ted of Hempology 101 speaks on stage at Vapor Central
bellies full Pete cooks up a pile of food on the barbeque while others bring things for dessert.
No bash like this would be happen without the sky being lit up and Pete didn’t disappoint. Since the first year Pete has had a fireworks display that keeps the lights and explosions going off in the sky for close to fifteen min- utes.
Bands and fireworks are not the only thing that Pete and Sabby have added to this event as they also have a movie night. To do this Pete hauls his equipment to the outdoors and sets up a theater area in the woods. Once he has everything set up he projects the movie onto the back of the big white Alpaca shelter. While I missed the movie I was informed that the Alpaca were all caught watching on the other side.
It’s good to see that even alpaca are learning to be paca’s advocating cannabis education.