I interviewed Vancouver’s Ted Smith on all things Cannabis, as the debate still rages in Court !  

  1. TED SMITH – I became involved in the cannabis movement in Jan 1995 when I attended a meeting of Hempology 101 in Vancouver, BC. Having recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a philosophy degree, it was my hope to be an author.  After seeing the devastating clearcuts in the forest, learning that the farmers in my extended family could be growing hemp for paper instead and studying some of the historical reasons for the prohibition of cannabis, it seemed clear to me that the story of cannabis needed to be told.  In the spring of 1995 I decided to move to Victoria to start a second chapter of Hempology 101 and write a textbook.  In Sept 1995 I arrived in Victoria and starting organizing Hempology 101.  Within 6 months I had started the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club with little more than a pager and a pamphlet, doing deliveries from the van I lived in.

TED SMITH- After 20 years of activism there are quite a few things I could list as my accomplishments.  Here are a few.

  • founded the world’s oldest medical dispensary, the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club
  • publisher of Canada’s largest cannabis newspaper
  • employer of Owen Smith, the defendant in the first ever medical cannabis case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on March 20, 2015
  • cameo appearance in hollywood movie KID CANNABIS

2) TED SMITH- Cannabis is potentially the most useful plant in the word, providing many basic needs like food, fuel, building materials, plastics, medicines, fabrics and much, much more.  Growing and producing products with hemp is better for the environment than the means by which the vast majority of goods consumed today are made.  Wasting precious government resources punishing people for using or trading in cannabis is the worst public policy since slavery.  Instead of hurting our communities with prohibition, proper taxation and regulation will generate public revenue, create jobs, provide consumers with protections and take easy money away from organized crime.

3)TED SMITH- Some individuals in government are aware of the vast economic potential of cannabis, though the reigning Conservative government is certainly an enemy of the cannabis culture.  The Conservatives have introduced mandatory minimum sentences for some cannabis offences, attempted to take patient gardens away (a matter still before the courts), paid for several ad campaigns warning of the dangers of cannabis, funded studies trying to prove cannabis causes harm in youth and denied any interest in legalizing at every opportunity.  It is difficult to speculate how many billions of dollars the cannabis industry in Canada is worth now or what it would be if it were legal.  No doubt the economic impact would be great, as there are few potential costs and many benefits will occur when all of the workers and entrepreneurs in the industry are able to  engage in business without hiding their source of income.

4) TED SMITH-Each province in Canada is different but there are varying degrees of public acceptance throughout each province.  Toronto stand out in Ontario for is tolerance of medical dispensaries, cannabis rallies and public cannabis smoking, for example.  In the larger cities of BC there is a growing acceptance of dispensaries, though municipal governments are struggling with how to regulate businesses that are technically illegal but publicly accepted as necessary.  Vancouver is the most progressive city in the country when it comes to tolerance of dispensaries, vapor lounges, rallies and public smoking.  Unfortunately the ruling Liberal government here is not much different than the federal Conservatives and they do not show any interest in legalizing cannabis.  Generally, the citizens of BC seem to tolerate others that use cannabis more than other places but not everyone here wants it legal because they do not want the government controlling their industry.  As far as templates for legalization, Canadians are actually looking across the border to Alaska, Washington State, Oregon and Colorado where it is already legal and producing great wealth for business and government.

5) TED SMITH- Cannabis growers have worked hard around the world developing strains that are either designed to grow under specific conditions or that produce high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.  Many commercial varieties are grown for high yield, high cannabinoid profiles and fast growth, while other strains grown for personal use can take longer, produce less and have varying degrees of potency.  Some strains are being developed today that have very little euphoric effect but have exceptional potential medical properties.  While there have been improvements in the quality of cannabis available on the market today, there has always been small amounts of exceptionally strong cannabis and hash around.

6)  TED SMITH- There are many success stories of people who use cannabis to fight a variety of diseases and disorders.  The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club has over 5,000 members suffering from medical problems that find cannabis helps with pain management, calming muscle spasms, fighting cancer, relieving inflammation, or controlling a number of other potential symptoms.  My lover, Gayle Quin, would not likely be alive if not for the concentrated cannabis caps she is taking to fight cancer.  Many patients of the VCBC have outlived their doctor`s predictions due to their continued use of topical, edible and smoked cannabis products.

7) TED SMITH- There is a large and growing network of cannabis activists and entrepreneurs across Canada.  While most of the activists are based in larger cities, there is a burst of new energy happening in smaller communities where people have lost the fear of being exposed to their friends and family.  As the stigma attached to cannabis consumers becomes more positive, people are gradually feeling more comfortable going public with their use of cannabis and are more willing to be seen going into a headshop in their small town than ever.  New products and services are appearing on the market constantly, as the potential economic opportunities in this industry are still not fully understood or appreciated.  Vapor lounges, dispensaries, seed banks, grow stores, cannabis-friendly restaurants and hemp shops are creating an entire new sector of the economy, and it is only legal for some patients at this point.

8) TED SMITH- BC is certainly known far outside Canada for having plenty of high quality cannabis.  In the 1980s many outdoor growers took advantage of the large tracts of open territory here and exploited it as much as possible.  Over time production has moved indoors, as improvement in  technology and genetics have increased yield and potency dramatically and the backcountry is not as accessible as it once was.  Nova Scotia seems to have a surprising high rate of cannabis users, too, though not as much is grown there for commercial purposes.  The prairies typically are not very open to cannabis users, nor are people from PEI or Newfoundland.

9)TED SMITH-  I do not see the difference between this question and the second one.
10)  The War on Drugs has been costly failure.  Drugs are primarily a health matter and the vast majority of people using illegal drugs are looking to relieve pain or simply relax and have a good time.  If we are to truly live in a free society where adults have the choice to decide what happens to their own bodies, then one of the consequences is allowing people to use drugs of their choice.  People that make bad decisions will do so regardless of whether or not the drugs are legal, but for healthy people like me who want to use healthy drugs to medicate or have fun, giving us the ability to use and purchase all drugs legally would ensure they were pure and uncontaminated.  Personally I believe psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD should be the next ones made legal, as I am certain they have great medical benefits and minimal risks if taken properly.  Any such changes would require intensive educational programs and not all drugs should be easily purchased without some professional involvement.  Legalizing drugs would take a huge shift in thinking and policy but ultimately it would lead to a healthier, safer, free society.

The Following is Raw interview footage

here is the actual interview





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