Opening Statement



Thursday, 14 June 2018

My Visit To The Cuban Schools!

Coming: Photos y More Links ...

Spring 2018

Disembarking from my Toronto flight is like walking into a blast furnace. I step off the shiny, new aircraft onto the creaky, old, metal steps. Stop to wipe the steady stream of sweat from my eyes. 

The heavy air is almost too hot to breath. Lowering my sunglasses in place, I gaze out at the formidable, Sierra Maestra mountains towering around me. Out to the shining, sparkling Caribbean Sea.

Here I am, back in Santiago de Cuba, to visit the Toronto Friendship School. Meet with my colleague, Professor Jose Tejaro, to discuss printing more copies of "Ingles Para Ti/ English For You", our Cuban School Project teacher and student English instruction workbook.

My thoughts drift back. I began the Cuban School Project after a class trip here in 1992. As a Canadian teacher, I was only too happy to assist in providing some educational relief work during the Special Period throughout the nineties, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Socialist block. 

Back then, the island was teetering on the brink of near chaos and total economic collapse. Overnight the peso became worthless. Jobs disappeared. Hunger and sickness were the order of the day. 

Unlike the United States, Canada has maintained a policy of constructive engagement with the beleaguered socialist nation, from the 1959 revolution through until today.
Often during my frequent trips back then, I was the only English speaking person from the outside world most of the Cuban teachers and students had ever meet. 

I'm a strong believer in social justice, a still relevant takeaway from my strict, now long abandoned, religious upbringing a lifetime or two ago, as a young man. The Cubans were eager to learn how to speak English. Acquire some basic business skills. Make contact with the world beyond their tightly shut and embargoed borders. It seemed a perfect fit.

I donated what I could to the cause, mostly my time and effort. With donations from the Ontario Teacher Federation, OSSTF public secondary and the OECTA Catholic teachers, we set out to build a small two room rooftop school house in the hillside barrios of Santiago de Cuba. Also, a instruction booklet that was specifically adapted to meet their quite different social, culture, and economic needs. 

Having retired 5 years ago, I've continued work on "Ingles Para Ti" with my good friend and colleague Professor y Jose Luis, from the Oriente Pedagogical Institute. Last year, I once again decided to drop by the Toronto Friendship School after a few years absence, happily surprised to find it was still there.

A flood of memories hit me, as I climbed up the wrought iron steps to the rooftop school, in the unforgiving sun. The tired, creaky, old fans feebly rotated back and forth in a last ditch effort at desperate relief from the stifling heat. From the street below, the mad cacophony of old beat up cars, trucks, donkey carts and wagons, echoed off the school's brick and mortar walls. Still, the classroom was packed with students of all ages. Also, a new teacher. There was nobody whom I recognized, or for that matter whom recognized me.

Of course, it was 25 years later. Everybody whom I once knew and worked with there, was now long gone. But, as I saw for myself, the teaching and learning was still going on. Plus, it was a happy place, with a very dedicated teacher. Enthusiastic students. All eager to learn. Nobody putting on any airs. At best now mildly intrigued, by an old white haired stranger from far away, visiting their crowded classroom. 

Sitting there quietly, watching and thinking back to much more desperate times, I could have cried. Amazingly, everything had worked out just as we had once hoped, so very long ago! How often in life do our deepest, collective hopes and dreams actually come true? And after all Is said and done, do they really make a difference? 

I long ago gave up any hope of saving the world from itself. Thinking that perhaps, if we just tried to help out in the little corner of it where we find ourselves, one might yet still somehow make a difference. 

As a teacher, I've started up a lot of school programs and taught a lot of Special Education classes over the years, mostly in Toronto's Jane Finch corridor. Usually been confronted by our first world malaise. Ultimately, everything ends up on the chopping block of economic efficiencies and blatant indifference for the human cost of those whom are poorer, weaker, and get left behind. Not so in Cuba!

In my old age, I'm not religious anymore, but this was definitely a very spiritual moment, realizing that perhaps, in some very small way, here in the barrios of Santiago de Cuba, the Cuba School Project had actually helped make a very big difference. Quite frankly, back in the nineties, I really wasn't very certain if anyone we worked with or taught there would even survive under the added weight of the crippling US economic embargo, as it kicked into overdrive. But they have.

After class, Professor Omara told me that her students enjoy many job advantages nowadays in learning English and some basic economic skills as Cuba works to integrate itself back into the international community. Basic English is now also taught in the public schools, but they are keen to learn much more, even if it is just to dream and discover more about life outside Cuba. Perhaps the Toronto Friendship School is even a victim of it's own success. There are now so many English language schools, that her own student numbers are down. 

As I talked with Professor Omara on the sidewalk outside the school, a neighbour walked by. He recognized me with great surprise, claiming that I was one of the "founding fathers" of the Toronto Friendship School. Omara was quite shocked, not knowing what to say. I myself was quite embarrassed. Soon the whole street knew. Folks started leaning out their window, waving, checking me out. Very unreal. I don't want to sound vain, nor overestimate my own importance in the greater scheme of things in our life and times, but it was a truly a homecoming of sorts that I will never forget.

This spring, I came back to volunteer and teach at the school. It's the only "formal" teaching I still do. Nothing too laborious, I helped with the reading, discussions, and to happily serve as more of a language resource than anything else, to Professor Omara and her 3 classes of about 60 students. 

It's quite different now. Books and school supplies remain in short supply but the students have more food and medicine now. Cruise ships come and go from the harbour. There is much hope, as always, that perhaps soon the US embargo will be lifted. Like the battered, old clock on the classroom wall, life does not miss a beat. It still ticks on in the now long forgotten, little barrio school that we once built.

After class, I relaxed in my room at a century old Spanish hotel in the city centre, frequently enjoying the live traditional "sons", "bolero's" and "salsa" music at the Casa De Trova/ House of Music, across from the cathedral in Cespedes Parque, the town square. Everybody at the school wants me to come over to visit. For lunch, dinner, or just to watch TV. 

We sit in battered old chairs, watching Cuban soaps, old subtitled movies and pirated North American TV shows, on ancient, beat up tube sets. Lost among our reverie of Cuba and the night in the ancient decaying grandeur of this crumbling, 500 year old city. A very simple evening joy in any language, in a world so very far removed from our own.

I'll keep going back, even for just a few weeks here and there. I have found my place in the sun.

LINKS

I've written a lot about Cuba and the Cuban School Project over the years. A lot of these true stories are now gathered here on my blogsite. You'll find some of the links below, which will lead you to many more. They are all true. Real life. They happened. I was there:

The Cuban School Project Story: Here's how it got started in the 90's @ HERE!

The Cuban School Projects: The two key initiatives that I continue today, the Toronto Friendship School and "Ingles Para Ti" are outlined in greater detail @ HERE!

Toronto Friendship School: Join me for an early visit to the school during desperate times -the "Special Period" @ THERE!

Rumours of War: A day in class with the students back when everyone at the school feared that a US invasion was imminent. A US fleet was poised off the coast, with jet fighters taking low run practice flights over the school. Yikes! Lotsa learning, for me too @ HERE!

My Cuban School Project Links: More school links from back then @ HERE!

What the Heck is Going on? More links on the situation in Cuba @ THERE!

What Do They Think? The local view from my friends, students and colleagues now at the school and from others I still see from back in the day @ HERE!

VIDEO LINKS

Rush Hour in Santiago de Cuba: Yup. Lotsa folks still ride around in horse drawn wagons and buggies @ 

An Evening at The Casa De Trova, with Grammy award winning salsa band Trova Santaguero. Cover charge? Only $5 bucks! @ 

The Women Put On A Traditional Show: Live from the free downstairs stage @

Toronto Friendship School [2018]: A peak at the class, and the busy street life outside @

COMMENTS:

Thursday, 31 May 2018

No Toking: Cannabis y Condominiums?


No toking allowed! Think you'll be able to peacefully enjoy a toke in the privacy of your own home once Canada's legalization bill is passed? Think again! [NOW!]

The Canadian Senate votes on legalization June 7th. Meanwhile, OREA's [Ontario Real Estate Association] realtor's, developers, landlords, property managers and a lot of lackey condo boards are racing to ban smoking cannabis from their buildings. In some cases medical cannabis patients will be clearly exempt. In many others? Not!

Summer is almost upon us! Regretfully, I'm busy consulting lawyers, cannabis advocacy groups, activists, and other various sundry. Tied up with meetings, messages, you name it. Why? Because it almost happened at our building, and I'm not sure we've heard the last of this yet!

So how will you fare! Have you been looking forward to a nice, legal toke in the sanctity of your home? Be it a condo? A rental? Or even public housing?



Are you aware of OREA's nefarious and politically motivated conspiracy to make that go up in smoke asap before the 7th? Do you realize how little time there is to act? Or you'll face a lot of grief?

Surprise! Neo-conster Tim Hudak is back! As CEO of OREA! That's right! The very same Timbo! The former Ontario Conservative leader! Who's political career crashed and burned along with his parties huge 2014 election lead! The original Mr. "100,000-Public-Service-Cuts" who declared war on our schools, hospitals and other public services!

Yup! Timbo is still very busy! Wasting no time! Remember the hard "hate on" he had for lobbyists and special interest groups! Well, now he's leading one! "Big Brother" and "Nanny State" style! To target cannabis users right in the privacy and sanctity of our home!

Timbo's lobbying the Conservative senators in Ottawa. Also our new Ontario government, whomever that will be. Trying to get ahead of legalization, force hands and subvert the process against everyday folk like you and me. The phoenix is rising! You can even visit his OREA website in full blown glory with all it's bells y whistles @ [OREA]



Be careful! Very careful! Tim Hudak knows that legalization is going to be a total legal mess! So he's being REAL sneaky! It's usually very difficult to change condo "by-laws". They require proper notice, quorum at a meeting and an 80% vote. For good reason! Especially here!

Consider this -OREA's goal is to "grandfather" the smoking of tobacco and cannabis at home for the large number of everyday folk who own a condo or don't live in a house or apartment of your own! It's in the interests of his corporate clients, disguised with a trendy "Smoke Free" thrust. No matter that it's a huge civil liberty issue, setting a very bad precedent for years to come. Our medical or recreational cannabis community be damned! So what's the plan?

Meet reefer mad woman Denise Lash of Lash Condo Law, a so called "boutique" firm! Working with OREA she's gleefully singing their tune! Piling on heaps o' fear mongering, conjecture, and game playing to forward the OREA agenda for Ontario's landlords, property managers, developers and realtor's across the GTA before June 7th.

Imagine this if you can! I certainly can't! Cannabis is legalized June 7th! Crazed pot smokers over run the hallways of your building! Starting fires! Setting up grow ops of the devil's weed that waste huge amounts of  precious utility dollars while rendering the units unsaleable.

Get this! Lash Condo Law, probably like a lot of these boutique firms, knows how your condo board can pass OREA's toking ban as a "rule" instead of as a "by-law". That way, it passes within 30 days unless 15% of the condo owners organize and object. If  not?

Verboten -No discussion, debate or vote allowed!



How democratic, and community orientated eh? Who's interests are being served? Certainly not the lowly condo owner looking forward to a legal toke in the comfort of their home!

Yup! Lash Law's been busy, busy busy, feverishly whipping up public and condo board support for "the rule". Then it seems, spoon feeding Denise's shocked readers with the low down, nitty gritty on how to use it to meet OREA's goals.

See for yourself! Read her "news" interviews and law blogs @ [LCL] [LCL] and @ [PC].

Alas! The boutique firm somehow left something very important out of the "Smoke Free Environment Rules", and the owner's "Notice of the Rule" that they drafted for our property manager to bring to our condo board for a vote. There wasn't any mention whatsoever of medical cannabis patient rights or accommodation at all!

Welcome to Prohibition 2.0 -condo style! Fortunately, as a board director, medical cannabis activist and patient I noticed right away. Raised the red flag of human rights violations. Made sure the rush "rule" got shot down at an emergency board meeting called for a week later. Sure it took a lot of time and effort. But if I hadn't?

Should your board pass "the rule", it could face a very expensive legal challenge and hike in your maintenance fees! While OREA sits twiddling their thumbs waiting to see how it all works out!

Regretfully, I for one, would immediately hand it over to any number of interested parties to run with as a human rights complaint at the drop of a hat! This is just so plain, terribly wrong!


Think about it! Under our new "rule", even medical cannabis patients "must sign" and identify themselves to the board of directors and by association, our property manager and building superintendant, as smokers. Same with recreational tokers, even though smoking weed is still an illegal activity.

The condo board then also has "sole and absolute discretion" to decide if we 're being an "annoyance or nuisance" and what to do, should anyone object to the smoke or odour from our medical cannabis, while indemnifying the board and holding it harmless! As a medical cannabis patient, I only vape at home, and always try to be reasonable, but this, of course, is totally unacceptable. On these issues the rule is silent. Very unclear for the layman/ woman, at least, among all the legal jargon. Probably our average neighbour, building superintendent, or board member who might act on it too!

No cultivation is allowed either. Hello ACMPR ........

The list goes on and on ....



For shame! Medical cannabis users have been waiting since 2001 at the very least for legalization to end the stigma and discrimination we face daily. We need safe, reliable, hassle free access to our medication, just like any other patient. We await further direction from Ottawa and the province. But not so OREA it seems, even though there will surely be plenty of human right challenges indeed.

Nor would we medical cannabis patients likely be alone! Are you young? Do you belong to a visible minority group? Are you a white collar professional with a legal reputation to uphold? Or just an everyday recreational toker? Or perhaps just someone who might want to try cannabis after it's legalized? You could face arrest for having to go outside for a toke instead. Yes! Under Ontario's Cannabis Act, that'll still be illegal! Hello, police .....? [VICE] [IPol]

Welcome to the new wrath, stigma and discrimination of Prohibition 2.0, courtesy OREA and "boutique" law!

My advice? Act now or get ready for a lot of grief and a big fight ahead! Best contact your condo board or tenants association! ASAP! It's high time to nip any such "rules" in the bud, right now where you live, before it's too late! 



COMMENTS:

No Toking: Cannabis y Condominiums?

Moved due to technical difficulties! Now @ ABOVE!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Oh Cannabis Spring 2018 News y Views!

Read "Oh Cannabis News Y View" @ Winter 2 @ Winter 1 @ Fall 2 Fall1 Summer @ May-June @ Spring 2 @ Spring 1 @ Jan-Feb @ December -Inhale! Hold! Exhale! Smile!


Twitter Feed @ Twitter!

HEADLINES

Premier Ford: Election win opens new possibilities for free market weed in Ontario, but don't hold your breath. More below ....

June 7th Senate Vote: C-45, Canada's legalization bill, passes a crucial senate vote by 56-30 but with 46 questionable Conservative appointee amendments, 19 of which our elected House of Commons then overturns, resulting in more delays. See "Oh Canada".

Home Cultivation remains a contentious issue! More at "Oh Canada" and "Green Marketing"

Cannabis Amnesty: With legalization, pardons, amnesty and perhaps even some reparations are in order, for justice to be truly served. Learn more below, and sign the petition! See "Oh Canada".

Fake News Attack: Tragically, 3 of our leading cannabis activists battle it out among themselves, over a "joke" news piece, as it turns out, about Trump opening a "hemp café" in Toronto's Kensington Market! See "Oh Canada".

The High Life: Check out the inside scoop on toking around the world, from Toronto to North Korea and more! See "High Times".

Craft Cannabis verses the Licensed Producers: The quality of their weed is beyond compare, but can the little guy survive legalization? See "Green Marketing" Below!

Canada's First Nation assert their right to independently grow and sell weed on treaty land. The Mohawks also host the first, inaugural, indigenous Cannabis Cup at the Tyendinaga reserve. More at "Oh Canada" and "Green Marketing" below.

Major 420 celebration festivals enthusiastically proceed across Canada with much success, despite stiff opposition from the local Canadian authorities, mere months before "legalization"! See Below!

Cannabis activists take note "420 Toronto 2018" festivities will proceed out front of Toronto City Hall, despite the set backs! Under Prohibition 2.0, no permit's been forthcoming, "legalization" be damned. [More!] So expect some peaceful civil disobedience! Speakers include the Cannabis Culture 5's Chris y Erin Goodwin, the Hotboxes Abi Roach and many, many others! Lotsa live music and green vendors too! Follow @ 420! @ Facebook! 

More on 420 Toronto across the GTA this year @ Toke Of The Town!

ONTARIO ELECTION TIME:



Wynne Libs Smoked: Now Say High 2 Dougie y Andrea!

Doug Ford Wins: It's not quite a silver lining! The Ontario election is over but now, instead of reefer madwoman Kathleen Wynne, we've got an ex hash dealer as Premier of the province. Yep! During the election "Doug the Thug" mused about allowing free market pot to compete with the outgoing Wynne Liberal's corporate government weed retail monopoly. [Blog] But that was before he di$covered the huge tax windfall that lay in wait. Flippity-flop goe$ Doug! And as far as permitting weed lounges go? Our Dougie's been hesitant to tie the Ontario Smoke Free Act to Ontario's Cannabis Act, perhaps opening the way ..... Still! Beware! Nonstop chaos, scandal and shameless carpetbagging were the only true hallmarks of Doug's reign of error as Toronto councillor. Also, don't forget Douglas' was the "brains", so to speak, behind brother Rob's term as mayor. Enquiring minds need to know; Can he at least get the cannabis retailing issue right?!? Alas! As with all his other election promises, we are very short on any and all details of what he might do next. More @ 420 @ Lift and @ Now

The Thug Life: As a hash dealer, the young Doug Ford wasn't exactly one of the nice guys! Far from it! Nor is he a shining light for our cannabis community now as Ontario's newly elected Conservative Premier. Get ready for lotsa nasty BS! Check it out: Here's the inside poop on Dougie's shady drug dealing history; the early daze @ Reddit



Horwath's NDP: Feeling hopeful? Think our new apparently "progressive" opposition party might start to light a few fires under the outgoing Wynne Neo Lib's government retail weed monopoly at Queen's Park? Sigh! Alas! The party did little but play dodgeball during the election, mostly just dodging any and all questions about weed. True, they've got some good, cannabis friendly advocates on their team. Occasionally, raising some excellent questions, if not very low key, about cannabis impaired driving, licence consumption spaces and the inability of the Wynne retail model to meet the upcoming demand for legal weed .... So what next? They've got four years to prove their mettle before the next provincial election. Hope beats eternal, but don't hold yer breath @ Macs



Ontario Election: Time 4 A roll of the dice on Andrea Horwath y The NDP!

What About Weed? Ontario goes to the polls June 7th. So what are the different party platforms on cannabis? Let's cut to the quick -What platforms on weed?!? At best, they are an after thought; a one off joke.

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals remain terribly unpopular. They are sticking to their awful, government controlled, corporate cannabis sales and distribution model. They've tanked badly. The Premier's already conceded defeat. Need I say more?

Sadly, Ford's Conservatives have totally flip flopped on "Doug the Thug's" promise of free market weed. It lacked any details anyway. No matter, legalization remains very unpopular among the inner party ranks, except for Doug and south eastern Ontario PC MPP cowboy Randy Hillier. However, the party faithful have finally figured out that the tax windfall from Wynne$ model would al$o mean more dollar$ and $ense to line their own pocket$ if they win. So now they're planning to stick with Wynne's monopoly weed model, policy wise, so to speak, despite all the huffing and puffing about Kathleen Wynne, big government and Liberal corruption. 



The Young Dougie: Would you buy hash off this dude? Elect him premier?!?

Please. Please. Please. Don't vote for this fool and his party. I live next door to "Ford Nation". He's just plain bad news! Bad, bad news! A Grade A, Numbero 1 asshole! A total shit storm deluxe! Mark my word -we will rue the day he becomes Premier!

Meanwhile, the Green's and Libertarians have the most progressive stand on cannabis issues. Also very little chance of getting an MPP elected. Zero chance of forming the next government. Either is perhaps your best bet, if you just want to take a principled stand, but .... but ... but ...

That leaves Andrea Horwath's wishy-washy-whichever-way-the-wind-blows NDP as possibly the most reasonable and receptive to positive change, at least among the Big 3 parties. There's plenty of support among their ranks. But alas! So far they aren't saying boo. Seems they don't want to risk their election chances by rocking the boat. They speak about their cannabis platform as little as they can. 

Too bad for us. It's not exactly reassuring, but maybe an NDP vote is the cannabis communities best shot in a roll of the election dice on June 7th! I think so. 

You decide! More @ Spec

OH CANADA



The bottom line 4 Canada's thriving cannabis community!

Ottawa's Parliamentary Drug War: Canada's elected House of Commons continues to battle our appointed Senate over the details of the C-45 legalization bill. The bill passes 56 to 30 but with 46 mostly sucky amendments. They include raising the age limit, setting fines for giving weed to minors, allowing the provinces to limit personal cultivation, outlawing swag, and some accommodations for better consulting with Canada's indigenous peoples concerning weed sales on treaty lands. The dull witted, mostly Conservative opposition's mean spirited reefer madness mentality shows just how out of the loop they really are. Get this -they're even demanding that low levels of THC be set for government weed. There's definitely a big medical cannabis fight brewing here for those of us legally requiring something a little bit stronger. Thankfully, it won't exactly kill our thriving, top quality, underground, recreational weed market either. Far from it. Duh. More @ GStraight and @ MM

First Nation Senate Vote: Canada's indigenous senators are back onside with the C-45 legalization vote, after the Trudeau government offers them some key concession to address their health, consultation and licensing concerns @ CTV

Constitutional Crisis -Legalization Delayed: The House of Common's rejects some of the unelected Conservative senators' demands but don't get too excited. Yes, they concern provincial limits on cultivation. Otherwise? Swag is okay! And they're  eliminating a investor registry for the corporate big boys! How nice, eh? As a result, legalization is delayed well into this summer at least, as the bill goes back to the Harper appointed Conservative Senators. Ummm ... sounds like a constitutional crisis to me, as they continue to obstruct our elected governments legalization mandate, but since we're just pot heads, who cares?!? More @ CTV

What Me Worry!?! Trudeau, the Senate and our government licensed producers can go fuck themselves! Consider the low government THC limits, their high price point, and uncompetitive retail sales and home delivery models! Plus the plain, basic, everyday question of supply and demand! What's the grass root view of Canada's legalization follies? Truth be told, Canada's underground Cannabiz entrepreneurs aren't losing much sleep over any of this, unlike their politico and corporate counterparts in Ottawa. Quite the opposite! So what next? Declare a war on drugs? Wait! The big boys already tried that! Lost! Big time! Here's the word from the street @ G


420 Toronto 2018, as organized by Cannabis Culture [CC] alumni Chris y Erin Goodwin successfully rocks Toronto City Hall! No permit? No problem! Police and City Officials are busy all day to no avail trying to curtail festivities. Only succeed in shutting down green venders from operating openly. Med Pot activists speak out against pot tax in no uncertain terms! Nathan Phillips Square is packed as thousands of eager tokers continue to arrive, pouring in after work, until late in the day! Stay tuned for my blog! Also see @ City @ BlogTo 

Read my 420 Toronto 2018 exclusive blog @ HERE! and  on "Toke Of The Town Spring 2018 @ THERE!

Cannabis Activism: Here's a good summary of Katy Perry and Tracey Curleys riveting 420 speeches @ PPP

420 Toronto Police: How they tried to put a damper on this year's festivities @ Youtube!

420 Ottawa: 20,000 pot aficionados light up Parliament Hill! Cannabis activists denounce draconian Canadian Prohibition 2.0 restrictions of legalization Bill C-45 @ OM @ OC



Busy! Busy! Busy! Ottawa Cannabis Activist Ming Saad y Crew Help Rock Parliament Hill!

420 Vancouver: The nefarious park board attempts to discredit highly successful event at Sunset Beach! Blame volunteer organizers with heap of bogus reefer madness damage claims. Veteran cannabis activists Jodie Emery and Dana Larsen, along with local local social media, set the record straight. See how the Park board lies go up in smoke @ G-Straight

420 Montreal: Thousands ring la belle for Quebec's cannabis counter culture @ CBC

Toronto 20th Annual Global Cannabis March: This year the focus was on criminal pardons, and on leveling the field for our indie, cannabiz entrepreneurs @ CBC

Legalization Canada: Policies for sales, distribution and consumption will vary across Canada. Here's a handy province by province guide @ Leafly

Canuck Legalization Woes: Bill C-45 is poorly thought out and fraught with peril. Here's 5 everyday ways in which it will turn out to be a big disaster for tokers @ CD

"Cannabis Amnesty" or "Righting History's Wrongs": Prohibition 1.0 and the "War on Drugs", destroyed many tokers' lives and left them with criminal records. With legalization, certainly a pardon and amnesty at the very least, is in order. Learn more! Sign the petition @ CA

Prohibition 2:0! The CCLA [Canadian Civil Liberties Association] has warned the senate that legalization will be a "minefield of criminalization" as far as our civil rights go @ LD

Home Grown Senate Woes: Canada's unelected senate continues to parse, review and amend our Bill-45 legalization bill prior to the final June 7th vote. To allow home cultivation or not? The issue will now be left up to the individual provinces, leaving us with the prospect of many legal challenges ahead. More @ Global and @ Global 

Senate Vote: Bill C-45, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's legalization bill, passes second reading in the unelected Canadian senate by a 44 to 29 vote. The Conservative senators remain adamantly opposed. Alas! Not much good old fashioned business sense. Just lots of reefer madness ignorance, and fear mongering instead. Delays continue, with the bill now scheduled to pass into law after third reading on June 7th. Regretfully, legal sales and distribution for those who still obey Canada's unjust cannabis laws, will now occur much later on this summer, well after Canada Day, July 1st. As for the rest of us, well .... @ Global



Party Positions: Trudeau's Neo Liberal's continue to push forward Bill C-45; a very restrictive Prohibition 2.0 style Corporate Cannabis style legalization law, as documented on "Oh Cannabis" at great length. But what's up with our other 2 main national political parties? 

Basically, Canada's Neo Con-ster Canadian Conservative Party [CPC] remain hyper fixated very negatively on the bill's policing, public health and safety clauses, trying to block it every step of the way. With no thought given to a free market approach, they best they can do is agree that possession should be a ticket able, rather than a criminal offence. Sounds an awful lot like decriminalization, but the details get very sketchy from here! 

Of course, decriminalization was the Centre Leftish New Democratic Party's [NDP] platform in the 2015 Federal election [READ]. Sadly, that crashed and burned along with the party at the polls, as on the weed front, the Trudeau Lib's shamelessly stole the issue right out from right beneath them, with all the deceptive bells, whistles and smoke screen of their sham legalization plans. 

Still, the NDP's now passed a resolution at their recent party convention to decriminalize all drugs, not just weed. Unlike the other 2 main parties, the focus is on social justice and health care, rather than a punitive, policing approach to public health and safety. 

Be that as it may, our truncated NDP "Dippers" are now relegated to the peanut gallery in our House of Commons. Whatever else ails the party, and the concerns are legion, it's too bad the NDP's very level headed approach to cannabis is mostly lost amongst all the noise of corporate legalization rigging in Ottawa to date.

Here's a fairly decent summary of the main three party's positions @ Globe

FYI: All but one separatist Bloc Quebecois MP voted with the Conservatives [RM] against legalization. Party Leader Elizabeth May, the only elected Green Party MP in the House of Commons, supported C-45 [IPol] after proposing a number of progressive policing, health and safety amendments, also a criminal pardon [Green]. Neither party has a sitting member in the Canadian Senate.

Pardon Us: You'll also find an NDP petition to provide a still allusive pardon for any of our citizens whom have been convicted for criminal possession of pot @ NDP


Canadian Pot Tax: The Canadian Federal government only projects a $35 million cannabis tax windfall for 2018. That's after weed is legalized this summer. Then they expect $100 mil in 2019, the first full year of regulation. Or so they say! 

Are the sneaky Trudeau Libs low balling the dollar figures? Well, there are the start up costs. But let's not forget, a flourishing underground market, which has hardly been eradicated, whether they want to officially acknowledge it's huge, ongoing tax bite or not. 

But what if the revenue is actually somehow surprisingly a whole lot more? Mightn't it also give them a lot of wiggle room to .... Guess what?!? Help balance the budget! More @ Buzzfeed

New BC Cannabis Bill: Read British Columbia's "Bill 30: Cannabis Control y Licensing Act" @ LINK and "Bill 31: Cannabis Distribution Act" @ LINK!

BC Prohibition 2.0: These controversial pieces of legislation will certainly need a lot of revision and debate, to say the least. Talk about restrictive and uptight! They will no doubt prove a total legal mess; are highly discretionary, discriminatory and near impossible to enforce. For example, it will be illegal to be "intoxicated on cannabis" in public, whatever that means -what about the lowly medical pot patient?!? News story @ G-Straight @ CBC 

Driving On Weed in BC: The faulty bill passes even though it promises to create a legal mess @ VSun



Dana Verses BC Bill 30/31 -4 "illicit seeds" = a $5000 fine?!?

BC Cannabis Bluez:  More to come, but for a good, ongoing critique follow BC cannabis activist Dana LarsenTwitter

Ontario "Cannabis" Budget Time: Premier Kathleen Wynne's Neo Libs expect a provincial budget loss for the first year of legalization at least. Start up costs will apparently require extra $$$ for policing and municipal expenses, to help them get onboard with the province's newest, corporate, monopoly program. Not to mention, stomping out all those darn, pesky cannabis activist-free enterprise entrepreneurs too! 

One supposes that we medical cannabis heads are supposed to jump for joy at the 8% tax rebate from the HST on our prescription weed! Hmmmmmm! 

Our First Nation status bands might not be pleased either with the province again treading on their treaty rights. Seems the $13 HST will apply to any and all "off reserve" [non indigenous consumer] purchases. No word on how much of that goes back to status council.

More on the budget @ Global



Legalization: Chief Isadore Day Speaks Out!

First Nation Rising: Our indigenous people across Canada continue the good fight to assert their economic and treaty rights in the legalization struggle. They want to set their own cannbais laws, rather than let the Canadian government simply do so. It's really quite paternal and opportunistic, but what else is now? Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day helps explain @ Herb

Decolonizing Cannabis: Weed has long been an indigenous homeopathic, folk medicine. Now it could provide a much needed economic engine to help create jobs and prosperity on our troubled, treaty lands. But will the Canadian government relent in it's patronizing ways? If not, what next? More @ Now!



Legal Weed Sucks: Bottom line is that there's all ready a thriving cannabiz industry in Canada. It's long been successfully turning out an excellent quality, high grade product, free enterprise style, legalization be damned! All that's changed is than now, having lost their "War on Drugs" the government wants to cash in too with their own dodgy, corporate licensed boo. Bleech! @ Now

Corporate Weed Update: Mega Canuck licensed producers [LP] "Aurora" and "MedReleaf" are looking to merge into the world's largest cannabis producer. Investors might be pleased but you can get many smaller, craft cannabis growers are worried! Watch for more of a lot more of this, as the herb is legalized in Canada @ CBC and @ Leafly

Oh Cannabis, eh? Seems Canuck dispensary weed is 30% cheaper up our way that down south stateside @ GStraight

Legalization Will Be A Legal Mess: Cannabis Activists-Entrepreneurs Lisa Campbell and Abi Roach outline a whack of other very troubling reasons why the fight against government "prohibition" will also hardly be over come "legalization" in Canada @ CTV



No Toking Allowed: Some Ontario apartment landlords and condo boards are quietly moving to ban smoking cannabis from their buildings as legalization approaches. Will medical users be exempt? It's very difficult to change condo by-laws either allowing or prohibiting the smoking of tobacco or weed, once they're passed. Will you be able to even toke recreational weed at home without getting hassled? Best get involved with your condo board or tenants association now! It's time to nip any such restriction in the bud, where you live, before it's too late @ Now!

No Toking: Cannabis y Condominiums: Lots more! Read my blog @ HERE!

No Grow Yer OwnTheir bullshit reefer madness concerns over Bill C-45 are many, but note well: Canada's Conservative Senators in Ottawa are specifically targeting your right to grow weed at home @ GC


It's Election Time: Don't forget the candidates from the other parties too!


Sensible Ontario -Where 2 Toke?!? As the June 7th Ontario election quickly approaches, the cannabis friendly lobby group continues to actively lead the charge to allow licensed cannabis lounges and private storefront dispensaries in our province come legalization. Hotbox cannabis activist-entrepreneur Abi Roach explains the challenges @ Leafly Lisa Campbell @ Now! Follow Sensible Ontario @ B Sensible!

Fake News Attack: Three of "Oh Cannabis's" fave leading activists, Lisa Campbell, Jodie Emery, and Abi Roach get in a fight over a fake news story that claims the Trump organization is planning to open a "hemp café" in Toronto's Kensington Market. "Jodie's Place", a decidedly non-Trump addition to the great, local scene gets caught in the crossfire, crashes and burns. What next? I'm not going to rehash the dirt, it's too divisive, and just plain wrong. You can go check their tweets on your own, if so inclined. Suffice to say; "United we stand, divided we fall". Can't we all get abong? Love all of you! Let's hope kooler minds ultimately prevail! Original story @ Verp



Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization in Canada: Download a FCM [Federation of Canadian Municipalities] PDF file for the work ahead on both policy and regulations, as they pertain to the planning, business licensing and public consumption etc. etc. etc. of our favourite weed! It's very important to get involved with this now!!! @ FCM

Political Flip Flop: Alas! Ontario Progressive Conservative [PC] Party Leader Doug Ford seems to be quietly walking back his much ballyhoo'ed support for free market cannabis in the run up to the June 7th provincial election. The parties ultra social conservative wing is definitely not on board. Plus, except for wild card MPP Randy Hillier, most of the party is overwhelmingly opposed to legalization, period! @ PM Also, see below ...



Ontario Pot Election: Ontario Progressive Conservative [PC] leader Doug Ford has surprised everybody by promising free market pot if he's elected Premier of our province on June 7th. It's an obvious ploy by the Neo Conster populist to snatch leftie votes from our often quite hapless provincial NDP, who so far seem too afraid to say boo too loudly! Let alone cannabis .... or hash .... or ... or ... or ..... 

Anyway, Conservatives take note -ever the business man, Dougie is to be complimented. He's actually presenting us all with a real free enterprise alternative! Instead of the Wynne Corporate Neo Liberal's plan for an Ontario government controlled weed monopoly! It's capitalism at it's most basic, grass root level. Also, a free enterprise truism the party faithful, so far at least, just don't seem to get!

So will the Ontario PC's now become Ontario's free enterprise pot party? Or is Dougie making empty promises? Doomed to go up in smoke on a house vote? Can you see his rambunctious, social conservative flank getting on side with weed?

I attended Doug Ford's Unity Rally here in Toronto on March 19th to find out more details. The devil, as we well know, is always hidden in the details. Quite frankly, as far as PC is concerned there are none. The new emperor has no clothes. Nope. None. There were no details on any of his polices, let alone weed, with the provincial election less than 2 months away. Anyway, you can read my blog The Doug Ford Unity Rally!

Doug alone spoke. Did his stock "Wynne's worst nightmare" speech. I cornered outspoken PC Social Conservative critic Tanya Grenic Allen, afterwards, at the media scrum. Ostensibly, she was there to show her support for Ford's "Unity" rally, I guess. Asked her whether she'd support Doug's position on free market cannabis. Listen to what she said @ Tanya Granic Allen On Weed?

Whoa! Smooth, but I don't think so! Doug will decide the policies? With no word on whether she will go along! It sure sounds like we'll have a veeeeeery interesting pot election debate ahead! 

The match is lit. Anybody could go up in smoke. Please, let's get questioning and apply a little pressure to any and all of the candidates on where they stand; Liberal, NDP and of course, Doug Fords PC's. 

How often do they and the teams come knocking at your door? At the very least, this is an excellent chance to make sure our cannabis counter culture concerns are really heard! Face to face!

Hey -it's called democracy.

More on Doug Ford @ Macleans 



Let's All Get Abong?

Why Reinvent the Pot Wheel?!? Around and around the arguments go! Cannabis Culture's Jodie Emery explains why she agrees with PC Doug Ford's free market approach option to the Wynne Lib's government run weed monopoly. Jodie knows the score @ Sun

Political Tactic's 101: Local Hotbox cannabis activist-entrepreneur Abi Roach discusses how Ford's free market weed could well just prove to be a PC election tactic, aimed at little more than siphoning off votes from the left to the conservative fold. Lift writer Kate Robinson doubts his intentions too. She also wonders how many of us will actually follow through and vote for the Ford PC's come election day. 

Let's face it -Doug Ford is a well known local Neo Con huckster across the GTA. Like him or not, he's the Party Leader who's introduced our concerns about Wynne's weed monopoly into the provincial election debate! Leaving many progressives wondering; whither too the NDP?!? More @ Macleans



Prohibition 2.0: Premier Kathleen Wynne fights back! Real quick! Free market cannabis is reckless! She flails at Ford! Punching at him time and again with the same, old, tired corporate reefer madness arguments! About policing! Health! Public safety! The same as we hear all the time from Justin T! 

What fools we mortals be. If Ford can only sweat the details, so to speak -know them well, then the Neo Lib prayer songbook might well go flying! It's not too hard to rip that BS to shreds! 

Kathleen would be down for the election count on pot, that's for sure. Plus, a whole lot of us of all political stripes would be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Inhaling deeply, if need be, as we decide whom to vote for, on election day. 

Then again; by going out short on details to fight the cannabis good fight, our clownish Doug Ford might well just make pot matters a whole lot worse. Make no mistake; like her or not -Kathleen Wynne is no dummy! Don't think a few, good sucker punches couldn't knock out Dougie's dim pot lights? Make his arguments look absolutely stupid and foolish? Sigh! Alas! We lose out too! More @ Star



Marc Emery -Cannabis Culture Rocks On!

Cannabis Kulture: Our Prince O' Pot Marc Emery's Montreal trial has been pushed back to May 30th. So far, the other 6 activist-entrepreneur's charged have received unconditional discharges. In total 6 dispensaries were closed and 18 kilos of weed seized. Marc's still away on his winter South American and Europe tour of sorts, but is expected back any day now @ MG

TSX Stock Ticker: Will the Toronto Stock Exchange smoke bubble go burst? How sustainable is it's up and down, in and out love affair with cannabis anyway? Supply? Demand? Capacity? The black market? Legalization? Just what what makes the Canuck pot stocks tick? Some speculation @ Now

IN THE NEWS



Does He Or Doesn't He? US President Donald Trump claims he "really" supports new senate legislation lifting weed banking restrictions and federal interference in state weed rights. Of course, who's to believe anything he says. Hope beats eternal @ MM

US 420 State of The Union: Activists, advocates and opponents of cannabis speak out across the states, 30 of which have legalized or are moving towards the legalization of medical or recreational weed SMR

420 High Times Cannabis Cup SoCal: It's been cancelled by San Bernardino authorities, even though recreational weed is legal in California. However, permit or not, as with 420 Toronto 2018, organizers say the show must go on @ Q

How 2 Get Charged For Pot in New York City? Simply being born black or Hispanic is usually your best bet @ NYT

420 Racism: This 420, whether they live in a legal state or not, black people still have a far greater chance of getting arrested on a cannabis related charge, in the high charged, racially divided US @ Vox



US Reefer Madness: There's growing, widespread opposition to President Donald Trump's prohibition policies stateside. His own polling now shows less than 1 in 5 of Trump's hardcore MAGA supporters still believe that cannabis should be illegal. But is the Donald listening? More @ MM

Reefer Madman Gets Lit: Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner has stepped up to become the US cannabis industries latest spokesman @ Fortune

Now It Can Be Told: Surprise! Not! Trump AG Reefer Madman Jeff Sessions has long been in the Big Tobacco lobbies back pocket. Hypocrisy be damned -money talks @ Herb

Pardon Us: US legal activists are demanding criminal pardons for possession in 8 states where cannabis is legalized or decriminalized. Sadly, they are also missing in action in Canada too! For shame -No justice! No peace! @ Intercept



Smile Jamaica: Kaya Farms has just harvested Jamaica's first legal medical cannabis crop. They look forward to using the economically challenged island's ganja "brand" to help Jamaica become the "flagship" location for the new "global wellness industry". Ya mon! Jah Bob would be proud @ J-Observer 

Burning: Jamaica is definitely helping lead the charge! It's legalized medical cannabis and decriminalized ganja's recreational use @ MJ

Ja Travel Blog: The legalized/ decriminalized cannabiz tourism industry in Jamaica is still in it's infancy but it looks very promising indeed. Considering the awful economic divide on the troubled Caribbean island nation, it'll hopefully prove very timely for the everyday local folk too. Here's some notes, tips and links from my recent March trip @ MY BLOG

Mexican Legalization: A lot of our North American pot use to come from sunny Mexico back before hydroponics took over. Potheads down that way seem keen to re-establish their brand. A novel approach is being taken to legalization, due to the sad lack of interest amongst Mexico's politicos. It's making it's way through the courts instead. Hey, it's a pretty smart move. Worked big time for the LGBTQ! Check it out @ Civilized

Much more 2 come .....

GREEN MARKET



Coffee y Weed: Cannabis activist Jodie Emery is moving ahead with "Jodie's Joint", a new "weed cafe" style addition to the bustling Toronto Kensington Market pot scene, despite some initial setbacks @ Star @ Narcity

The Pinking of Pot: Welcome to our new millennium! Nowadaze, Canada's cannabiz revolution is often lead by and for women. Meet but some of our many grrrrrl users and distributers whom are leading the charge @ Chat

Craft Cannabis Under Attack: If the current output from our licensed producers is any indication, Corporate Canada government weed will definately suck. We have a thriving underground, craft cannabis industry who's product totally puts the big biz boys to shame, but the government's been very busy trying trying to stomp out the competition, as legalization approaches. Can our small, craft cannabiz industry survive? Enquiring minds need to know @ Star

Women in Cannabis: Advocate Mz D chairs the panel discussion at the April 14th CannabisCon's Consumer Day in Edmonton, Alberta @ CCF



Mediblemania: You can bet both Corporate America and Canada are keeping a close eye on the booming underground medibles' market and will want to get in @ MJ

First Nation Weed Rules: The Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve outside Belleville Ontario hosts the first ever Indigenous Cannabis Cup. The weed is a big 2 thumbs up! No doubt our First Nations are about to give the government's sad sack licensed producers a real run for their money. Expect more Mohawk weed and dispensary reviews while I'm up that way over the summer. Lisa Campbell reports @ Now

Double Standards: Health Canada's packaging restrictions for legal weed will be much harsher than for booze. Why? Enquiring minds need to know @ G-Straight

Much, much more 2 come .....


HIGHER LEARNING



WHO's Next? Finally! There must be a god! The World health organization [WHO] has decided that medical cannabis isn't a health risk and it's safe to use @ USHT

Cannabis Catch 22: Cannabis was a DIY homeopathic cure for whatever ails, long before prohibition came along in the 1920's. Because it's been illegal, very little real scientific research into it's medicinal qualities has been possible, until now. Note well, whenever we hear that there "isn't enough research" to support the medical benefits of weed, that's why. However, with legalization, that's all changing now and the results are often very encouraging, to say the least @ Leaf

What's the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis? Learn more @ Leafly

What Are The Most Common Qualifying Conditions For Medical Cannabis? An overview is @ Leafly

How 2 Grow Weed In Your Apartment or Condo? Canada's new Cannabis bill will allow recreational users to grow up to 4 plants at home. Health Canada allows med pot patients to grow a lot more. We really must be reasonable about all this, but here's how @ Med Plus there's some good tips on strains, lighting, and ventilation @ Herb


Sex + Pot + Rock + Roll: Study shows that our lowly weed is actually a great aphrodisiac! To prick your interest, here's some scientific notes on the research methodology and results, for the .... ah ... academically reclined @ Hytiva

Medible Gummy Bears: Here's how to make these THC infused delights yourself @ Leafly

Much, much, much more 2 come .....

HIGH TIMES



Stoner Babes : In Katie Guin's new adult colouring book, each "stoner babe" is a picture of empowerment for our new cannabis age! Inhale deep n' get out yer crayons! All colours, textures and shades! @ KS

Kim Jong-Un Stoner?!? Seems the "rocket man" likes to fire them up, in more ways than one. So what's the inside scoop on getting high in North Korea? Check it out @ HT

Sarah Hanlon's Inside Guide to High Toronto: Sarah shows us how it's done. Listen, I'm pure Toronto born and bred. Lived here most my life. She's nailed it. Go grrrrrl, go! @ Leafly

No Pot Celebrities Allowed: Snoop Dog and the Trailer Park Boys beware! Trudeau pot point man Bill Blair says celebrity endorsements for any and all "legal cannabis products" won't be allowed under legalization @ Global

2 Unfair: Take another hit of Robert Klein's "Medical Marijuana" @ Youtube!

Oldie But Goodie: This "Pot Shop" rap video parody has all the right credentials; a kool tune, NORML references, and a direct attack on the corporate "reefer madness" lobby @ Youtube

COMMENTS:

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

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Please scratch my back.

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Have you seen them!

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And a broken nose.

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Here try this, it's very good!

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No. You have a bird face.

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You don't look well.

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Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

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Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

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The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!