It’s hard to fathom, for many, the loss of your right to have a garden. I never thought when I was first licensed under the MMAR program that it would change so much that we wouldn’t be able to grow our own plants. For some the reality of this change is still hanging in the balance because of the Allard Injunction, which at this time means anyone who held a valid MMAR licence as of September of 2013 continues to have it unless they move.
Well, through no fault of our own we were put in that situation when in May of 2014 we were illegally evicted by new landlords. With no fight in me at the time, we moved and shut down our garden. I was devastated over losing the home that I had made for our family over three years, losing my plants too really put a nail in the coffin. With my garden I had been able to help people: I could make my own cannabutter and tinctures, and also bake, and give away as much as my heart desired.
The therapeutic hobby that I put a lot of my time and energy into was gone. And medical marijuana now cost money that we didn’t have — life circumstances at that time had left us both unemployed. The only thing we had going for us was that we had landlords that were kind and let us work off the rent. When they sold the property we lost that too and we were put into a situation that kept us apart for a year and half. In financial distress we had no choices left: Hubby went off to work in the oil fields and I moved to BC to live in my grandparents’ home, ‘cuz it was something we could afford.
Hubby too was licensed for medical — for his knee — yet even with him working a good-paying job, after bills and expenses there was little to nothing left to pay for any form of medication. Never mind that the benefits we had through his job did not, and still would not, cover medical cannabis. So even though we were legally allowed to consume medical marijuana, we couldn’t legally access it.
I know that we are just one family that the Conservative government has put into this situation by claiming, falsely, that there is no medical research to prove that cannabis is a medicine — a claim Rona Ambrose made outright to the media along with her ‘outrage’ at the Smith win allowing patients to consume cannabis in all forms — but since moving to BC I have found many patients in the same boat. We are either not able to find a doctor in the area, or just not one that will sign up patients for medical cannabis.
The closest dispensary here is only twenty-five kilometres away but they still don’t have an available doctor. Patients have to travel to a clinic in Kelowna — a seven hour drive away — and hope to find an available GP there to get a diagnosis.
The lack of health care in Canada overall is appalling, never mind the lack of doctors educated on cannabis —I was lucky enough to meet Dr Kamermans when I flew out to Ontario. And then really lucky when I found my doctor here in Hanna. I was so shocked: he believed in quality of life! My hubby found Dr Jan Engelbrecht in a different province — another great cannabis doctor that we have since lost, rest his soul.
Dr Kamermans has been charged under the criminal code and his medical licence limited. It’s criminal of them to go after one of the only compassionate doctors that we have for a governmentally-accepted medication. There are very few physicians willing to even listen; More times, I hear that attempts to speak to family doctors are ignored, they’re told ‘no way’ with hands in the air, or doctors walk out of rooms. I don’t get it, how many more years of ‘Reefer Madness’ do we have to endure? From our own doctors no less! They have our health and lives in their hands, yet they still refuse to do what is best for their patients.
I was here in BC for almost six months before I was blessed to find a compassionate gardener that was willing to give me some material to bake and make tinctures with. Then I was able to start giving away what I could.
I have a few people here that can’t find a compassionate doctor, that can’t afford to travel physically or financially to get the proper paperwork they need to be able to use a dispensary or LP, that live on nothing. These are the people that I reach out to and help. I give them baking or whatever it is they need. For no cost … no price…. Others that can afford small amounts cover the cost of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. When and if you can help others, that is something that is more rewarding than anything else you will ever do.
I can’t eat my own baking because my colitis makes it very hard for me to eat anything. However, hard candy is something I can handle and I had a friend that was making them who was kind enough to send me some. And that was my inspiration to make my own.
I never had any intention of entering cannabis cups or being in competition with anyone; but when Debbie Stultz-Giffin mentioned me entering the John Cook Memorial Cup I took up the challenge, filled out my entry, and sent it all out with glee. I made that candy never once expecting to place or win … just wanting to help out my friend. Oh sure, it would have been thrilling to win, but when I was told that I wasn’t last, and that there were happy people enjoying my candy all the way out in Nova Scotia, that feeling was priceless. Congratulations to everyone that entered and those that won: Marcel Gignac took both first and third place in edibles, and Cheryl A Maclean took second. The competition was stiff!
So while the drug war is not fun and has made us all victims in one way or another, it’s not over. We need to be a united force against the government and not against each other. Personalities aside, we all have one goal and that is to free the plant that has given something to all of us in one way or another. I am happy to see many other women stepping out and making a real difference with their compassion, with speaking out, with baking — with holding each other up instead of tearing each other down. It’s time to really see change and I can feel it coming. I will have my garden back … and so will others. And together we can sustainably change the future for our children.
I am just one soldier in this war, and arm in arm with my sisters we will win this!