Tuesday 28 June 2016

Be A Good Girl

If I ever had a daughter, I would never tell her to be a good girl.  We push this terminology on our girls as though it comes with an instruction manual or at the very least a list of what it is.  I used to date a man who told me to be a good girl.  I let it slide, because I interpreted it to mean he loved me. It did not.  It meant he wanted me to do what he wanted me to do.  That was being a good girl.  Being a good girl means doing what someone else wants you to do.

As children, the good girl sits smiles and says hello when spoken to.  The good girl repeats this performance like a dog doing a trick over and over.  She puts on the dresses that are laid out for her. She sits as her locks are pleated with braids.  The good girl is polite and well-behaved.

As prepubescent girls, the good girl smiles as her uncle gives her the wrap-around feel, cupping her tiny breast in his beastly hand.  The good girl respects her elders no matter what they do.

When puberty strikes, the good girl smiles as the teasing comes in.  Every part of her body feels foreign to her, as does the attention she keeps getting from others.  Kisses with tongues jammed in mouths are things the good girl simply deals with.  The good girl is now seen as the temptress.

In late teen years, this label hypnotically molds the good girl, her thoughts, how she sees herself. When the good girl finds herself in a situation with a boy, she let's it happen because she was never taught to defend herself or to speak out.  The good girl lets it all happen and deals with the memories later all alone.  Stoically, like a good girl does.

During dating years, the good girl is attracted to a certain kind of man.  Being told what to do and what to think is natural to her now, a part of the very essence of her being.  The good girl gets abused more often because her vulnerability attracts scum.  The good girl is very often a scum-magnet.

Good girls allow shit to happen to them because refusing or protesting feels wrong.  Sticking up for themselves feels wrong.  They were reminded innumerable times growing up to comply.  Compliance can develop into habit.  Habitually doing what other people want becomes second-nature to the good girl.  This is not what I would want for my daughter ... or for any of the daughters out there.

I want today's girls to speak up and speak out.  I want them to tell us what they think.  I don't want them to do what other people want them to do.  I want them to think for themselves, live for themselves, and love themselves by knowing who they are and what they believe in.

The label "good girl" is poisonous for some.

Sunday 26 June 2016

What Dispensary Popularity Tells Us

For as long as I, or many of my local friends can remember we've purchased our cannabis in parked cars, on park benches, and in basements amid smoke clouds and busy game-stations.  For as long as I've been choosing cannabis instead of alcohol for recreation, and instead of pharmaceuticals for mental health, I've been buying it in sandwich bags in a nervous and rushed fashion, trying to get in and get home unseen.

As glamorous as all of this sounds, it gets old fast.  And as normal as this feels for many of us, it's a risky situation that we have been forced to put ourselves into, just to purchase a bag of dried plant flowers.  If we were allowed to grow this safe plant, this whole point would be moot.  But that's a whole other post.

Toronto Police just raided 43 illegal cannabis dispensaries.  That's 43 units with rent ranging from $2000 to $4000 per month.  That's 43 businesses employing staff at a wage of minimum $11.25 per hour.  That's investment for set up, investment for product, investment for utilities and security. From what I've read, none of these 43 businesses were anywhere near bankruptcy though their monthly financial output is vast to say the least.  I guess the people like buying their cannabis in a store.  Who knew?

The head of the legalization task-force Bill Blair says that these stores and the people therein don't care about the law, don't care about regulations, don't care about kids, don't care about communities, don't care about the health of Canadians.  It is a surprisingly limited perspective that needs to be countered.

1).  Don't care about the law:  Perhaps some, but not all.  In fact many faces of cannabis dispensaries are the faces you've seen protesting the prohibition of this plant for dozens of years. Many know that law all too well, with it the sting and the stigma a criminal record leaves.  Many have written letters, started petitions, educated doctors in order to change this law.

2.)  Don't care about regulations:  Perhaps some, but not all.  Most have asked for regulation. Please legitimize our choice!  34 business in Toronto alone have been treating this consumer-driven product as if it's already regulated.  All you had to do is show them the regulations, tell them where to sign up, where do they pay for the license to legitimize their stores?

3.)  Don't care about kids:  Perhaps some, but not all.  The premise is laughable to be honest.  These store-owners are providing a safe place for adults to buy their medicine and/or recreation, in turn starving the capitalist dealers on the street, and helping law enforcement in doing so.  It's basic economics, when you take away the need, the industry fizzles.  Cannabis is bulky and smelly.  The criminal mentality will turn to selling other things when cannabis sales sink, streamlining things for law enforcement to crack down on the substances that really do pose a risk.

4).  Don't care about communities:  Perhaps some, but not all.  Most of them are tired of seeing the cannabis users in the community put themselves at risk.  They know that fewer points of sale on the street means safer communities.

5).  Don't care about the health of Canadians:  Perhaps some, but not all.  Most of these dispensaries have health at the forefront of their businesses, showing consumers how to use this medicine in safe and effective ways.  Many are patients themselves.  Many have seen this plant perform miracles for friends and loved ones.  Not to mention, these are people who don't want to see consumers buy product of questionable quality or content.  Storefronts offer safety.

I firmly support the regulation of cannabis.  Regulation comes in many forms and if you do it right, taking into consideration safety, science, and market need you create something great.  This could be Canada.  The popularity of cannabis dispensaries all over Canada tells us very clearly what the people want.

In other news, the Ontario Government just made the decision to allow Ontario Ciders to be sold at some grocery stores.  This decision came after sales figures showed how popular this apple-alcohol beverage is.  The people like their Cider.  Well, the people also like their cannabis.  Regulate it already.

Gifts From Mother Nature

**This piece is my first published article and it was featured in one of the last issues of
"Treating Yourself Magazine" in 2012.

Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines today and it came from the bark of the White Willow tree. In the time of Hippocrates, as far back as 400 BC, patients were advised to chew on that bark to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation. In these our days of pre-packaged and ultra-sterile consumerism, few of us remember this fact, along with the fact that so many other commonly ingested medicines  came from plants. In 1829 the compound in the bark called Salicin was used to develop Aspirin. And now its hard to find a person between the ages of 50 and 90 who isn’t taking at least half a pill a day to prevent heart attack and stroke. We give credit to Bayer and a German chemist named Hoffman for this wonder … yet we should be thanking Mother Nature herself.

This example is but the first of so many other examples of how today’s medicines came from something that grew or grows out of the ground. Some people even choose to continue using medicine in its natural form when possible. Rather than making appointments to see M.D.’s, these people visit Naturopaths, Homeopaths, and Herbalists, among others. It’s their choice really … the jury is still out on which keeps us healthier in the long run, and at times it is personal preference alone that decides.

So it follows, that it is possible for us to find medicine in even today’s plants. Google Scholar would tell you that more than 150 new plant species were published in academic journals in 2012, though it’s estimated to be far greater. With technology moving with mach speed momentum, it even follows that we could find medicine in an already commonly known plant or weed.  That’s excitin’ if you ask me!!

This article is about just such a plant. This plant has been around for more than 5000 years and has seen as many changes in societal popularity as a Hollywood starlet. Like most starlets, this plant too is misunderstood. This plant is like the White Willow tree in that it also has medicinal compounds coursing through its organic body; up to one hundred different compounds! In the days of old, the regular practice with most plants was to dry it, boil it or to burn it—not always in that order. Teas, tinctures, and infusions were made and used widely with success. And the beauty was that we all could be our own alchemists, be self-sufficient, grow our own medicinal plants and process them in our own kitchens.

It’s curious to know that ‘grassroot chemists’ of today, who create their own medicine out of this plant are faced with the same challenge Hoffman was faced with almost two centuries earlier: How to get those miniscule moleculesof medicine out of this plant, and into a safe, stable and easily-ingestible form of medicine.

Alas it took a compassionate and loving, Tilly hat-wearing Canadian from down East to do this for us with this plant. ‘This’ being the safe collection of these medicinal compounds into a concentrated form that results in a sort of oily medicine that kills pain, inflammation, and cancer… just to name a few. In this oily medicine are the many compounds I mentioned earlier, in varying degrees depending on what strain of this plant used to make it. Some people are even eating in salad, or juicing in juicers, the leaves of this plant!

This plant unfortunately has a legality issue that has kept it from being discovered as a safe medicine. Most developed countries including our own have programs allowing chronically ill and/or dying people to use this plant, some countries like our own even allow some card-holders to grow this plant.

I have many questions that I ponder and want your perspectives on. Firstly, can we Canadians boast free choice, and not be provided with it? Can you ban something saying it’s for public safety, yet allow other proven dangers like tobacco to be sold openly? The powers-that-be feel that for our safety, cardholders can no longer grow this plant. Meaning, they can no longer make their own medicine, because buying it from some large and approved grower will bankrupt all but a few of the “grassroots chemists” I mentioned earlier.

How long will it be before we’re no longer allowed to make our own food? Will home-made chicken stock be banned because we can’t be sure of the safety of those little bones? I make my own yogurt. How long before that  is banned because the bacteria could somehow go rogue and kill me? Kill me that is, before the tobacco can…. Cough cough. I remember having a mad case of poison ivy as a child. No calamine would cut it so my mom was told by a farmer she worked with, to boil this certain plant and dab my rash with that infusion. How much longer will this still be allowed? What about that ‘bread and milk poutice’ dad used to joke about? Could I someday be a criminal because I choose to use turkey-turds and rain water to treat my acne?

Basically what all of this says to me is that I should buy from someone else, what I can make myself. Are we sacrificing self-sufficiency for what is called a ‘good economy’? So in other words, we Canadians are free as long as we don’t do anything to jeopardize the income of those in the fields of ultra-sterile, pre-packaged consumerism.

This plant is Cannabis. Can we all forget the stigma that surrounds this plant? This weed? Can you for a moment forget every picture you've ever seen of a person smoking this plant? Because that’s not what this is about. This is about a plant that cures disease and diminishes symptoms and side effects rapidly and safely. It’s just a plant like Chamomile and Echinacea, Eucalyptus and White Willow. And it has finally been made into an edible, highly- concentrated form of safe medicine that is saving and/or extending the lives of humans, canines, felines, and loved ones from all sorts of illnesses. And the best part is that we all can make it ourselves.

Finally I ask you this: If they found that rose petals lowered blood pressure, would roses be banned from all gardens? It’s time stop the insanity, stop burying our loved ones, and stop allowing someone else to treat our ills.  With this Cannabis plant, we all have the power to heal ourselves.

Friday 24 June 2016

Regulate It Already!!

I have respectful conversations about Cannabis law reform all the time.

I love regulation.

In my eyes, regulation protects the consumer from the capitalists.

For we Cannabis users, regulation could mean never ever getting less
than what you paid for again.  Never getting seedy-weedy.  It could mean,
languishing luxuriously in a safe store clerked by Birkinstock wearing
tree-huggers as you decide which strain to buy.  It means never hiding
that payment transaction again.  Never feeling awkward or unsafe again.
Many buy from trustworthy friends, but not all are so lucky.
Regulation of Cannabis could mean quality assurances if those are
desired; or not.  Regulation of Cannabis could mean that the people
who have been growing this medicinal plant for years and years could
actually sell it legally to be sold in said safe stores.  Then they could turn
around and buy homes and vehicles and stocks in the market.

Are all the dispensaries closed yet?  Is the field level at last?

Let's regulate the sale of this plant and get it done fast.

The people recently spoke to Premiere Wynne via sales figures and voila ...
the people of Canada LOVE apple cider.  It was released today that we'll soon
buy Cider in L*blaws too the way we now buy Beer.
Guzzle guzzle. (50K deaths per year).

I think the recent revelation of just how many of these expensive cannabis
dispensaries have managed to stay open, is as clear a message as those Cider
sales figures were.

The people of Canada have spoken ... we want to buy our cannabis in a store.
We want grassroots cannabis; not factory grown.
We want clerks in Birks not white-coats showing us how.
Why are you ignoring this?  It's like we're BEGGING you to tax us!!

(Many days I wonder why)

The Legalization Task-force is so worried about all those who SHOULDN'T use cannabis ....
while there are millions of Canadians who SHOULDN'T use alcohol.  Why are you giving
them easier access?  Why are you encouraging the impulse buy of a product that gives you
a hangover?

What about the rest of us?  What about we cannabis users?

Zero deaths by toxicity people.  Zero deaths.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Cannabis Put the Pagan Back In Me

When I think back on my history, it’s clear that I was searching to find my own skin.  The one I was born in never felt right.  Or it felt right when I was alone with my horses or my family but not with my peers.  Growing up we look for likenesses.  I spent my early years dirty playing with frogs or any furry I could find.  Then I had to grow up.  We compare ourselves to others.  I had depression so I did a lot of this.  I was always easily influenced and became a bit of a chameleon, learning every detail about new friends, but never disclosing any of my own.  I always felt inferior, so I wore a lot of skins. None fit.  It really wasn’t until I met my hunni and started ingesting the Earth’s sacrament daily, that I really formed a solid image of myself.  Cannabis helped me see who I really am.

Now I wear my split ends like medals of bravery and stealth.  I let my ragged locks fall around my shoulders wildly most days, unable to even pull my fingers through them at times.  At 42 I finally like my body, the jiggly bits too.  The skin in places has grown thin like crepe-paper.  I don’t remember when that happened, but I no longer hide it, I embrace it.  My wrinkles remind me daily that I’ve lived and laughed enough times to leave a mark.  They are evidence of happiness and joy.  Why be ashamed of them?

I gave away so many hours to vanity.  So much cream rubbed on.  So many hours conditioning.  So many dollars spent.  I’ll never get that back.  Now, I don’t use many of the commonly used products on the market.  My cuts no longer get covered with petroleum by-product based creams. My skin no longer gets cleansed with toxic lathering ingredients made in a lab.  I no longer slather lotions of questionable content on every inch of my person.  I accept that some parts of my body will never be smooth.  Today, I’m okay with all of it.

Nowadays, most of the products I use I make myself.  My aches and pains are chased away by Cannabis infused coconut oil in gelatin caplets.  Why buy in a store what you can make yourself?  I walk past the muscle rub aisle and just rub my sore muscles with the same cream but mixed with beeswax and castor oil.  Even my depression is eased with these flowers rather than the gut microbe-sterilizing pills I used to take.  My whole being is more healthy now.

I’ve been reconnecting with nature lately and it feeds a part of me that forgot it was hungry.  Today I puttered around with the patio door wide open, curtains blowing in the breeze.  It felt right.  I feel right and I have this plant to thank for it.  I proudly wear my Cannabis leaf pendant around my neck these days.  It’s permission for you to ask me anything about this plant.  Question period begins now.

Cannabis makes me feel the connection with mother earth.  Rooted my feet take hold now, I am sure of my place in the universe.  I’m finally confident.  I’m finally inspired to be who I am and be proud of that star-seed however different she may be.  In the end, this plant has made my skin feel right. Who knew?  Cannabis put the Pagan back in me.


Monday 13 June 2016

The Daily Habit of Highly Happy Peeps

I'm re-watching the series "Weeds" and I'm at the part where Silas asks his mom why she's only selling weed and not coke or meth.  Nancy-Pants is my age.  I'm on her side as I watch this.  Such a complicated and flawed character.  I look at this question from her perspective.  As a business-person who uses no drugs, why would Nancy Botwin limit her profit potential to only serving pot-heads?

I have friends in all categories.  I know what each of these drugs can do to a user.  I know what happens when they run out, the urgency of each is different, and similar.  It's a duck-duck-goose scenario without a doubt.  Coke and meth are the ducks;  Cannabis is the goose.  And, like the Canada Goose, this plant could be this country's hero.

You see, we pot-heads use every single day.  We use several times a day.  Unlike the antidepressant pills I used to take once daily, I use this antidepressant approximately every two to five hours.  And, as someone who has spent many years following the orders of a 'white-coat', swallowing pills made for the masses, I can tell you that the lack of negative side-effects associated with cannabis as my antidepressant, is a big reason why I use the plant and not pills.

People who use every day ensure that they have supply.  They don't like to run out, so as a business person, they're not likely to waste your time or come knocking at your door at 1 am on a Thursday night.  We pot-heads have some choices depending on where we live, but for years we've had one or two friends we have an agreement with, and we maintain that relationship like it's family.  As a business person, Nancy-Pants knows that slow and steady (and safe) wins the race.

If however, she were into making some quick fast cash, coke and meth would do that for her.  The return-business is quick and awake 24/7.  These are the buyers you don't make friends with or tell where you live.  Both of these drugs drives the user to lose all sense of social norms.  Their brains need the drug, and they need it now.

As a business person, and on a business-only level, selling weed and only weed is one of the few smart moves Nancy-Pants makes.  Poor Nanc .... I don't think she ever truly grieved Judah's death.

This is why we can't keep categorizing Cannabis in with other street drugs.  I mean, as far as I know, there are millions of illegal medical marijuana users in Canada alone.  And yet, we have a system that only allows the white-coats and a few lucky others to legally grow this perfectly safe and incredibly medicinal plant.  We have made a regulatory system of growing and providing this medicine so complex and costly that only those already successful in the pharmaceutical industry can even afford to join in.  It's truly gross when you consider the fact that the factories that make Oxycontin, Fentanyl Patches, and W-19 (100 times stronger than fentanyl) don't even require the same ridiculously stringent security requirements as the LP system does.

I believe that from day one, the MMPR was planned out to be what we see today.  It was but a spark in Harper's eye, and capitalism and a drunk nanny, have allowed this baby to grow into a monster. They saw the scary black market and thought they had to lock this poor plant down, when all they had to do to remove the criminal element, was to allow us to grow our own.

C'mon Canada, it's not too late.  You have to take your head out of your beautiful ass and see this plant as what it truly is, a gift from Mother Nature.  Let us grow our own and heal ourselves so we can live and play and work and make Canada even greater than she is.  Let us take part in this industry.  Open the Craft Cannabis industry to the small business-owner and see our country thrive. We have Craft Beer and Craft Wine ... why not Craft Cannabis?

When Cannabis is finally legalized, the amount used and sold is going to increase dramatically. Turning flowers into concentrates or oils is not unlike that other Canadian industry we love, the Maple Syrup Industry.  Like Maple Syrup, Cannabis concentrates take a lot of product to make the sweet gift we see at the end.  It's no longer only about smoking.

Cannabis ... the safe business venture.  And that says something about we 'Pot-heads' doesn't it?