Opening Statement



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Oh Cannabis Culture: On LGBTQ + Inclusivity!



It’s high noon! I’m at Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture 461 Church St. dispensary and lounge in Toronto Canada’s historical “gay village”.

Not even the nitty, gritty bluster of a cold, wet, miserable Toronto winter day can keep us away! Hardly! Come lunch hour? The crowds are already eagerly lining up seeking a high time respite from it's cruel ravages.
It’s a decidedly downtown crowd. It's a mad, happy mix of Ryerson university students, construction workers, tired shoppers and the office crowd from surrounding downtown Skyscraper National Park. Everyone gladly rubbing shoulders with Cannabis Culture’s LGBTQ Church Street regulars.

We're here for some good vibes, great times and a lot of potent, mind expanding and most excellent weed. Cannabis Culture’s latest offerings, for all tastes and budgets, greet us from the large sign posted overhead on the shop wall:
 
 
Since last fall, Canada’s High Prince o’ Pot and Cannabis activist Marc Emery has been busy breaking new ground here in Canada's largest city. He'd proudly opened Cannabis Culture’s first Church Street digs in October. I reported it here on my blog. So did a lot of other more mainstream Canadian media sources. [See "Links" below]

In the finest spirit of political activism and "in your face" civil disobedience, Marc has since succeeded in creating a very successful and vibrant LGBTQ user friendly dispensary and safe Cannabis lounge and dispensary. It's smack dab downtown, a short hop from the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square, a ground zero of downtown Toronto life!
Toronto’s Cannabis movement knows the wrath of  City Mayor and "Reefer Madman"John Tory. We've suffered a Toronto Wild West of his creation, while we await a federal legalization bill promised by Ottawa this spring. The Toronto Police “Project Claudia” dispensary raids continue unabated.


In the news and in the courts, Marc is continuing the good fight with his goal of opening 200 Cannabis Culture dispensaries across Canada in 2017. At Cannabis Culture Church Street, he's created a lively and gay downtown weed shopping and party hot spot landmark. It's a bright light on Toronto's progressive landscape, deserving our political and business support!

Mark the Doorman [with a “k”] directs traffic and provides security at the front door. He’s also quick to supply friendly cannabis culture etiquette tips. Which line up? How to take pictures? Or wiggle in to talk with Marc? Cannabis Culture is most decidedly a LGBTQ2 positive, safe and 4/20 friendly space! One with a very mixed but comfortable crowd, in a relaxed downtown Toronto setting.


As one makes our way through the dispensary, our eyes are diverted to the collage of news photos and articles lining the walls. They provide a fascinating insight into the history of Toronto’s gay community; a story of police harassment, bathhouse raids, and decisive protests that created change.

Others highlight the good fight to legalize cannabis. There's “gay” protest soldier in arm's Allan Ginsberg [“Pot is Fun!”], and the Le Dain report. An iconic image of a handcuffed but undaunted Cannabiz Culture Battle Grrrrrl Erin Goodwin. In the finest of protest style, she's being lead away undaunted by Toronto Police, during Mayor John Tory's current, ongoing “Project Claudia” dispensary raids.

 
Further along the walls towards the back lounge, are many more posters, highlighting the entertainment night schedules. There's live music on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month. Comedy nights. Also the monthly, free “Ganga Queen’s” drag show. A bright, colourful, new poster informs us that the next one's March 10th, from 9-11pm.
The lounge is very kool and laid back. As a “straight” toker, I never feel uncomfortable. I like the lively chatter which is friendly, inclusive, and progressively orientated. Much moreso than what we often find in other more seemingly “respectable” downtown clubs, bars and hangouts in the dark, mean streets of any big city, downtown Toronto included!

Truly, Cannabis Culture, Church Street lives up to the one and only “warning sign”  on it’s walls. This is, “No place for homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism or hate. We have zero tolerance for intolerance.”


Marc also re-directs receipts from the shop's growing sales to various LGBTQ and two spirited charities and groups. Further donations are also being used to help with Syrian refugee relief, and the worldwide human right efforts of Amnesty International. It's a profit driven but politically progressive and viable business model that vibrantly reflects Toronto's sense of inclusivity and tolerance with our LGBTQ community. It provides a fitting gathering place our cities progressives can heartily embrace!

 
LINKS:
 
On Cannabis Culture and Toronto's Wild West: My blog on the Toronto Police "raid" at  Marc Emery's first Church Street location is @ Here!
 
On Marc Emery and Ontario's Dispensary Raids: The Peterborough Cannabis Culture bust. Covers a speech by Marc outlining his views and philosophy on legalization and the police dispensary raids @ Here!
 
Oh Cannabis Winter News y Views: More recent Marc Emery links. Also a lot of other stoner news links from Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the US is @ Here!
 
Oh Cannabis December News y Views: More news links. Includes exclusive audio video clips about the Montreal Cannabis Culture dispensary raids. A lot of other cool weed news stories too @ There!
 
My Statement on Medical Cannabis is @ Youtube!
 
Project Claudia: Toronto City Hall: A backgrounder @ There!
 
Note: "Oh Cannabis" is glad to highlight progressive Cannabiz initiatives. However, a "blogger" walking into your locale to take pictures and ask questions, rarely goes over well. So kindly forward me an invite, and let's see what we can do!
 
 
Next Show: March 10th, same time, place ....
 
COMMENTS

1 comment:

Adrian D'Cruz said...

Thanks for the information and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative!
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