Your view: Readers share stories from the days of pot prohibition

The Times Colonist asked readers to share their stories about the days of pot prohibition. Here are some of their responses. 

I came of age in the 1960s during a time when young and old were rebelling against the Vietnamese war, social mores surrounding sex and generally anything that had to do with succeeding in a capitalist society. 

Pot smoking in some segments of society became rampant and I witnessed first hand the greatest danger regarding its side effects. Many people I knew smoked pot on a regular basis and everyone of them became almost completely disinterested in anything to do with responsible living. Their work productivity was almost non existent and their interest in maintaining responsible attitudes to social responsibilities such as child care and looking after a place to live was badly and sadly lacking.

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Many of these people never recovered from the constant state of being high over several months and sometimes years and the loss of some great talent in our society simply faded away in a puff or two of smoke. They claimed that their senses were heightened and everything was clearer and more easily understood. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In reality they contributed nothing to society and wasted an entire life.

The good news for them is that they really didn’t and don’t to this day know it or care. That is what pot does to you and taken to extreme our society will decline into a nation of good natured zombies ripe for the picking by foreign powers. But don’t worry as if you are one of them you won’t care either just so long as you’ve got your dope and can be left alone to “do your own thing”.

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I was responsible for at least 2 news stories published in the TC. 1995 or 96, the headline was "There is green behind the Tweed Curtain", my grow show on Caddy bay road near Uplands that got busted. My idiot partners got arrested but no one was charged. The other one was summer 2005, when the Saanich Police surprised me loading a Uhaul with weed on my place on Old West Saanich. The headline was something like "they were like a deer in the headlights".

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The proliferation and social acceptance of legal cannabis in Canada will make us all less safe. It was and is a big mistake for Canada. On countless occasions, I have smelled pot smoke waft in from drivers on the road coming from vehicles ahead of me, even on major highways. I have also seen drivers smoking joints behind the wheel. Fatal DUI incidents skyrocketed in Washington state after voters approved the recreational use of the intoxicant.

 Moreover, people need to understand that just because a country or state says something is “legal” never means it is righteous, moral or a wise choice by any stretch of the imagination. Alcohol, tobacco, gambling, are among many activities and substances which are legal in Canada but are still typically not at all good for you. In fact, they can kill you or lead to serious wounds and reproach.

The government should be in the business of safety and the general health and well being of the public.

 

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1976 Beacon Hill Park...myself and some friends were hot boxing in a Ford Torino The city Police knocked on the window, we were told to exit the car and asked to hand over the weed, the Police scolded us and we were told that our parents would be contacted. The weed was dumped on the ground and ground into the gravel. The never asked our names...good Cops! lol

 

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I had guns pointed at my head by 20 police officers, my doors kicked in my house destroyed and lost my home due to growing plants in my basement. I was arrested, charged and deemed to be unemployable due to a criminal record. The strain on my wife and I was intolerable and our family became homeless. … The government of Canada has created a cartel. It was people like me that challenged laws and changed them to open up the cannabis industry only to be shut out while the cronies take it over. It's disgusting.

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I’ve always had a colourful past with Cannabis, starting in high school when I picked up some cultivation skills, my summer between Grade 11 and Grade 12 I successfully grew 300 plants behind Prospect Lake. As my Grade 12 year started, I had plenty of the fine organic to go around. I never sold a gram, but was always quick to share a plant with someone in need. I attempted to trade a plant one time in exchange for a wetsuit, but as I was driving with the Christmas tree in the back of the car, I got stopped at a road block, so after that encounter, I realized that making a gain off my cultivation stills was not in my cards.

After I graduated, I progressed in my cultivation passion and build a rather state of the art closed-loop hydroponic system in my father's basement. My dad was living in England at the time and we were suppose to be studying at university. As we where in school, we did have extracurricular activities that seem to take a president. We had the house flashed up and every penny we earned we put into our new hobby. It was beautiful, with 20 thousand watts, complete recirculation, advanced ozone air scrapping and even a bio filter that exhausted the air threw a compost pile with grass clippings. Our one down fall was we didn’t pay the phone bill and my dad couldn’t seem to get in touch with us, so he hopped on a plane unannounced and decided to pay a surprise visit.

Unlike us, he was not impressed with our hobbies and after seeing the surprise in the basement, his first reaction was to call the cops, however to our benifit, the phone was disconnected, so he raced off in a rage to the nearest pay phone up at the local pub. This gave us just enough time to clean up the basement and deposit our labor of hard work, several blocks away from the house in a storm drain. As the cops arrived, they couldn’t press charges and we managed to convince my dad we where worthy of staying in school. 

After that close call, I continued in school and graduated with a degree in horticulture. I settled down, traveled, worked in foreign countries, and stayed away from Cannabis until 6 years ago. I met a man that felt the industry was completely messed up, letter on doors that allowed people to legally cultivate, however there was theft, murders no health and safety for employees, standard operating procedures, recall procedures, all areas that are in legal businesses. I felt that he was onto something and he told me, he was heading to Health Canada to see if they liked his ideas. As it turned out, they like the idea of defining a medical indrustry, and on Dec. 14 2013, they announced the MMPR, the start of the federally licenced system.

And there it was, back into the industry, except this time on the right side of the law. Together we applied for a medical licences and received one of the first federal licenses in Canada. I have been in the industry ever since and it’s been a huge learning curve.

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Three years ago when my teenage grandson was living with me, I went to pick him up from his friend's house. They had baked some cookies and he had a paper bag full. They smelled really good and he gave me one. Tasted good, too, but strangely different.

A half hour or so later I started to feel quite light headed, and since I had had a health issue recently, light headed, faint and after a trip to emergency ended up the recipient of a brand new pacemaker

I felt as I described it to the nurse, "As though my brains were leaking out of my ears" I had suspected the cookies but my Grandson assured me there was nothing wrong with them, but he seemed to be quite scared.

A blood test quickly revealed the truth the cookies had pot in them. The nurse remarked that a surprising number of patients arrive at emergency after eating cookies their kids had left in the fridge.

A stern warning to my grandson that if in future if he was gong to spike anything I was gong to eat with pot, to advise me first so that I could more fully enjoy the experience.

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My story is like so many others — back injury, severe pain and a cocktail of drugs to deal with pain and inflammation. Fortunately mine has a happy ending (so far).

After having to spend 10 days on my feet, unable to sleep or lie down or sit, and a few more weeks glued to my bed, a friend brought me a bag of cannabis and suggested I make some butter. I laughed thinking about high school days and pot brownies but I was willing to try anything. After watching a few YouTube videos and bracing myself with walking poles, I set off for the kitchen and made what turned out to be really disgusting tasting butter. Without the strength to use the butter to cook brownies or cookies, that night I spread some butter on a cracker and had the most relaxed and restful sleep in over 2 months. I thought, “Now I can start healing.” The next morning hope for a better future gave me the energy to carry on and thus began my exploration into medical marijuana.

I began extracting into various oils, trying strains with different amounts of CBD and THC to figure out what worked for me. Preferring titration (micro dosing), I started to get the pain under control enough to function and after a year signed myself up for a 4-day intensive in all aspects of cannabis at Oaksterdam University, an icon of the medical marijuana movement centered in Oakland, California. Armed with knowledge and confidence I refined my methods and began to share my knowledge with others who suffer from debilitating pain.

Doing things legally was important to me so I went to my family doctor who has known me for over 15 years. He was caring but unwilling to provide me with access to legal medical marijuana. Several months later after undergoing an unsuccessful back injection (and ending up in the hospital) and weaning myself off all pharmaceutical drugs, he still refused. Although not my preference, I went to a clinic where a doctor on Skype reviewed my inch-thick medical files and provided the necessary paperwork to get my access card.

It’s been over 3 years now since that morning I got up from bed and fell to the ground in excruciating pain. I’m a better person now, more compassionate for others’ challenges, and definitely more inclined to stop and smell the roses. My pain still ebbs and flows although it’s really more of a discomfort than pain these days, and I still use my own extracted cannabis oil to allow me to keep functioning and keep a sustained sense of well-being.

With cannabis legalization so many more people will be willing to shed their fear and explore the many benefits this plant has to offer. It will take some time to straighten out supply and quality and educate the public on responsible consumption. There will be issues along the way we will need to solve as a society, but so many more people will now have legal access and the rich benefits that cannabis offers. This is a good thing.

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My story: in 1989 I was playing a gig with my band at the old Banana Moon Cabaret that was located at Yates and Blanchard.

In between sets a couple of friends asked if I wanted to go smoke a joint , so we slipped in to the alley in behind the club and were just finishing smoking when we saw a couple of cops approaching, so I swallowed the remainder of the joint and said, "Sorry, nothing going on here," to which one of the cops said, "Well, lets see if you have anything else on you," and started to check me over and found in the ripped inner lining of an old Harris tweed jacket I was wearing an ancient drum tobacco pouch that I was not even aware of, that had a hash pipe and the smallest chunk of hash you could imagine.

I was stunned — I had no idea. I told the officers I was working at the club and they could not have cared less — an absolute travesty of justice by a crew of rookie, inexperienced cops that should have just left well enough alone. I was handcuffed and put in the back of the car. I asked the girls I was smoking with to let the band know I would be back as soon as possible to finish the gig.

I hired Peter Firestone to represent me, and given that I have never before or after had any problems with the law, I received a conditional discharge after a one year probation. I just chalked it up to "one of those things" and moved on with life.

I used to regularly go down to the States, and in 2004 I was going to meet a buddy to purchase a Martin guitar back that I had sold him a few years prior. I was with my buddy Mike, who was a UPS driver. We got flagged for some reason, and after after about an hour of the border guy searching on the internet, discovered my conditional discharge and he started berating me for not informing him of it. I, of course, replied that I was discharged from the crime and had nothing to declare.

He informed me that the States has no such convention — you are either guilty or innocent, they have no grey area that a discharge falls into. I was turned away and told that if I ever again attempted to cross into the States, I would be arrested as an illegal alien. Anyone with me would be as well, and my vehicle would be seized.

I am aware I could get a waver and actually started down that road, but decided that the States was such a quagmire of everything I detest, that I decided I could not be bothered and immediately halted the quite expensive process.

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Would you like to share your story? Fill out the form below. Stories will be considered for publication in the Times Colonist and timescolonist.com. Submissions can also be made by email to localnews@timescolonist.com. Please put "cannabis" in the subject line.

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