Tuesday 21 January 2014

Spotlight on the Canadian Designated Grower.

We've heard about it happening, we all know someone it's happened to.  Do you know what happens to a person when a drastic change occurs in their life?  Any change affects us, but a change where daily practices, routines, and habits are ceased, is especially difficult.  It matters not whether you're trading stocks for a portfolio of clients or making daily meals and snacks for your child, when the need for this routine suddenly disappears, it's life-changing.

Here's an example.  Amy has a six year old daughter named Riley with special needs that has delayed her speech and cognition.  Amy has built her life around Riley with every waking moment planned and prepared for.  Riley's special health needs lowered her life expectancy and she suddenly passed last year, and Amy is still stuck in transition.  All she sees are the things she doesn't need to do anymore, and the little angel she doesn't have to do it for.  Can you imagine having that go through your mind several times a day for a year? Moving on is hard to do?  Ya .. they don't know the half of it!

Here's another.  My 62 year old neighbor decided to take an early retirement package from work and check out early.  His whole family was excited for him, as was he. They talked about possible trips and projects. But when it happened it was like an avalanche came down around him, sucking out all of the air.  As he lay in bed not hearing the alarm that went off every single day for the last 42 years, he could think of absolutely no reason to get up.  Usefulness is not an intangible thing, it's a feeling yes, but a feeling that corresponds with self-esteem and purpose.  Kids are overflowing with this usually, this drive to do, to learn, to make.  But Cliff could think of nothing now for his routine was gone, his life simply unimportant.

I've heard of widows who make lists each night to preemptively protect themselves from the possibility of having nothing to do the next day.  Some quilt and knit for others, some bake and donate to the needy, and some find volunteer positions to fill the empty days.  And of course humans can be highly adaptable, but drastic changes to the basic framework of a person's day, takes more than some of us are equipped with.  I've said it before, we are biologically resilient and mentally fragile ... even the best of us.

So what point am I trying to make here?  Well at the risk of being called a broken record, here I go again bringing yet another blog post around to the plant.  There are some 4200 designated growers in Canada as of November 2013.  These are simply green-thumbed compassionate gardeners who have agreed to grow medicine for other legal medical marijuana card-holders.  Many of them are also legal medical marijuana patients who cannot work due to their own chronic pain and health problems.  The exchange of monetary compensation is decided between the two consenting adults as well as the strain of plants grown, usually based on individual medical need.  And alas a partnership is born.

As many of us know, the whole program has been re-vamped.  Some designated growers have already gotten their pink slip from Health Canada.  But unlike Cliff they're not given a package, or even reimbursed for the expensive equipment they bought or made in order to grow this medicine.  They are simply told that their assistance is no longer needed, and they are to cease production and destroy all product immediately. In other words, a crushingly drastic change occurs sucking out all the air and burying them under.  Like both Amy and Cliff, it didn't matter that they knew this was coming.  One cannot prepare for some things.

I fear for every single designated grower in Canada. Having battled with the black dog of depression brought on by sudden unemployment, I know what they will feel.  These are people who spend hours and hours every single day with those plants.  These are gardening geniuses.  These are Canadians who have built their lives around those plants and the pride they feel by helping others.  Is pride intangible?  I can feel it so I guess not.  What are they going to with their days?  The hours now left unoccupied because their assistance is no longer needed.

The transition occurring right now in this Government-run program is great fodder for a blog.  So many aspects to write about.  This one is simply shining a spotlight on those green-thumbed compassionate gardening geniuses whose lives are going to drastically change in April.  How many will suffocate under that avalanche?  How many will be able to adapt?  And finally how long will that take?

Power and respect to lawyer John Conroy from British Columbia who is planning an injunction to stop this drastic change.  If this short spotlight has you fearful for your fellow earthlings too,  then please speak out and spread the word.  Growing is therapy, it is purpose, it is pride, and it is someone's everything.

It's just a plant ... let us grow it.

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