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On November 10th, we had the honour of welcoming iconic cannabis activist Ted Smith to The State of Craft. We took a deep dive into his mission, vision, and motivation for continuing his work with the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club (VCBC), the last remaining compassion club in Canada.
You can find the replay and quick recap of the conversation below.
7:28 - Ted began his journey in the cannabis world when he moved west from Ontario and joined the Hempology 101 club at UBC. He wrote his first book Hempology 101, inspired to share the truth about cannabis since there was so much disinformation about it at the time, and advocate for the use of hemp in agriculture. He was also inspired to write it on behalf of farmers, like his family, who were taken advantage of by corporate industrialists. He then moved to Victoria and began the UVic chapter of Hempology 101 in 1995. Upon founding the club, he began meeting patients who used cannabis as medicine and learned about American compassion clubs that provided cannabis at a low cost to those who needed it. Inspired, Ted started Canada's first compassion club (VCBC) with a mission to do the same.
Arrests and the Previous Court Cases
10:55 - Ted shares his stories about the necessity of being arrested and going to court in order to make any changes to the law. He was first arrested in 2000 when he gave away 420 pot cookies in downtown Victoria in an attempt to get in front of a judge to bring awareness to the highly effective use of cannabis as an edible. He was also a part of the 2015 Owen Smith Supreme Court Case that made cannabis edibles and extracts legal in Canada. Owen Smith (no relation) was the baker for the VCBC at the time and was arrested for baking pot cookies for their patients.
VCBC's Current Lawsuit against the Government
29:44 - Ted and Sami discuss the current lawsuit Ted and the VCBC have filed against the government. The goal is to get an exception from Health Canada for the VCBC to have store-front medical cannabis access since the current medical framework is not sufficient. The VCBC also wants to be able to give medical cannabis advice without needing a pharmacist to do so and to remove the 10mg limit for edibles and suppositories. They hope their court case will pave the way for more medical store-fronts to open and do the same.
A Beautiful Vision for the Future
55:08 - Ted shares his vision for what medical cannabis patients deserve and need beyond his current lawsuit, including "integrated palliative care villages" that care for end-of-life patients in a holistic, community-oriented way.
If you're interested in learning more about cannabis and the law, check out this episode of The State of Craft with Kirk Tousaw, the same lawyer currently representing the VCBC.