Toronto Chronicles: The Easter Sunday of the Potheads

Easter Sunday It was Easter Sunday in Toronto (April 20th, 2014) and thousands of potheads took to the streets, gathering at Yonge and Dundas, for a pro-cannabis demonstration. In the photo above, the misty cloud you see is not a sign of pollution, but the result of more than a thousand joints burning simultaneously (at 4:20, of course!). Canada was the first country in the world to legalize medicinal cannabis (in 2001) and hemp farming is also legal (since 1998). Even tough marijuana is still outlawed, the pressure from the streets is intense and is quite possible that soon Canada will become the second nation – after Uruguay – to legalize it. The disastrous policy known as The War on Drugs, with its racist underpinnings, its obscene rates of mass incarceration, its empowerment of criminal drug cartels and black markets, seems to be more than ever doomed to imminent collapse.  “If Canada legalized marijuana, the annual estimated revenue from taxing marijuana would be somewhere around $2 billion. And that’s not counting savings from enforcement…” [http://bit.ly/1i080ev]

See the whole album with lots of other photos

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Recently,  Toronto’s NOW Magazine published a cover-story about how are matters nowadays in Canada concerning hemp and cannabis. Here are some excerpts from this excellent survey, and also links to the full articles – enjoy!

“Although there are no federally regulated clinical trials involving medical marijuana, and Health Canada and the Canadian Medical Association don’t currently encourage doctors to prescribe the untested drug, CBD and medical marijuana have been used with success to treat epilepsy, autism, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, lupus, fibromyalgia and a host of other disorders including Tourette syndrome. Talk to the mother of an epileptic child and you’ll understand that medical marijuana is a lifesaver.”  [http://bit.ly/1teHZN4]

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“Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the 60 active, naturally occurring ingredients in marijuana that have more medical uses than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high. CBD has demonstrated anti-seizure and pain management properties and seems to have neuro-protective qualities – meaning it reduces the rate of neuron loss over time. A 2012 Israeli study also showed promising outcomes when CBD was used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.” [http://bit.ly/1eR3dMZ]

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“Arrest patterns tend to follow racial lines. The 1995 Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System identified a continued pattern of racism in drug enforcement, with blacks 27 times more likely to end up in jail awaiting trial on drug charges than whites.”  [http://bit.ly/1i080ev]

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 “It’s nearly impossible to overdose on weed. You’d have to smoke 800 joints in, like, 15 minutes.” [http://bit.ly/1i080ev]

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“Weed makes you smarter. Cannabinoids in pot increase the rate of nerve cell formation in the hippocampus, the part of brain associated with memory and learning, by a staggering 40 per cent.” [http://bit.ly/1i080ev]

[http://bit.ly/1i080ev]

“Hemp is an annual plant whose foot-long taproot helps stabilize soil and provides a vital ecosystem for microflora and fauna. Colorado’s first commercial hemp farmer, Ryan Loflin, comes from an experienced farm family. He told me hemp uses half the water his wheat crop did. Imagine the implications for drought-ravaged parts of the world like sub-Saharan Africa.” [Interview with journalist Doug Fine http://bit.ly/1i6GPdg]

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“Five times more – that’s the amount of climate-cooking CO2 hemp absorbs compared to trees, according to Agriculture Canada.” [http://bit.ly/1i6GPdg]

Easter Sunday 6

May 3rd is the day scheduled for the Global Marijuana March in Toronto. Awestruck Wanderer will be there and will report back with the news, images, videos and stories. Stay tuned!

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You might also enjoy:

 “THE UNION – THE BUSINESS BEHIND GETTING HIGH” [http://youtu.be/0YWaCTjX94U]
One of the greatest docs ever made about Hemp in Canada

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The Union – Business Behind Getting High (Full Documentary)

the union

The Union – Business Behind Getting High

Canada, 2007, 105 min
Directed By: Brett Harvey
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1039647/

“Ever wonder what British Columbia’s most profitable industries are? Logging? Fishing? Tourism? Ever think to include marijuana? If you haven’t, think again. No longer a hobby for the stereotypical hippie culture of the ‘60s, BC’s illegal marijuana trade industry has evolved into an unstoppable business giant, dubbed by those involved as ‘The Union’. Commanding upwards of $7 billion Canadian dollars annually, The Union’s roots stretch far and wide. With up to 85% of all ‘BC Bud’ being exported to the United States, the BC marijuana trade has become an international issue with consequences that extend far beyond our borders. When record profits are to be made, who are the players, and when do their motives become questionable? Why is marijuana illegal? What health risks do we really face? Does prohibition work? What would happen if we taxed it? Medicine, paper, fuel, textiles, food… are we missing something?

Highly entertaining as well as informative, The Union takes a look at British Columbia’s ever-expanding marijuana industry. Beginning with a brief history of the use of marijuana in North America, director Brett Harvey takes us on a journey that includes interviews with growers, clippers, criminologists, politicians, doctors, police officers and pop culture icons to illuminate the business of BC bud and how it is that such a powerful industry can function so successfully while remaining illegal. With enormous profits to be made, he questions who benefits the most from the current state of affairs and comes up with some not-so-surprising answers.

In examining more closely the propaganda of the anti-marijuana lobby, some unexpected facts and figures surface regarding the health risks of marijuana as well as the economic, agricultural and societal benefits of growing hemp, and the current laws prohibiting such crops in North America. As an industry that brings in seven billion dollars annually, the business of growing and distributing marijuana is even more profitable for those involved on both sides of the law due to the prohibition. The Union is a fascinating and in-depth look at one of BC’s most profitable industries and the players involved, from the growers and dealers to pharmaceutical companies and builders of private prisons.”

Winner, Outstanding Documentary Feature, 2007 Winnipeg International Film Festival.

This film is nominated for the National Film Board’s Best Canadian Documentary Award.

Union

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You might also like:

In the official website of Canada’s government, Department of Agriculture, there’s a good report on the situation of hemp nowadays:

Canada’s Industrial Hemp

As the world’s premier renewable resource, hemp has been the source of food and fibre for the past 10,000 years. Hemp fibre has been used to make clothing, ropes, and paper; the grain has been stewed, roasted, and milled for food; and the oil derived from the grain has been used for cosmetics, lighting, paints, varnishes, and medicinal preparations.

Like the marijuana plant, industrial hemp belongs to the species Cannabis sativa L. However, unlike marijuana, it only contains small quantities of the psychoactive drug delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Nevertheless, the cultivation of both marijuana and industrial hemp were banned in Canada in 1938.

Since 1994, a small number of Canadian companies, as well as Canadian universities and provincial governments have researched industrial hemp production and processing. Due largely to their initiative, the 60-year ban was lifted and the commercial cultivation of hemp was authorized in Canada in 1998. The Industrial Hemp Regulations came into effect on March 12, 1998, and cover the cultivation, processing, transportation, sale, provision, import, and export of industrial hemp.

Since its legalization, hemp has sparked much interest among Canadian farmers. The Government of Canada has been very supportive of Canada’s re-emerging hemp industry through changes in legislation and regulations, and through market development funding. Today, hemp is enjoying a renaissance, with the global hemp market becoming a thriving, commercial success. More than 100 Canadian farmers are currently taking advantage of the vast market potential for hemp and are growing this crop in most provinces, primarily in central and western Canada.”

More here