An Open Letter To Jacquie Miller And The Ottawa Citizen/Sun Editorial Board Regarding Marijuana Dispensaries

Judging by the underlying tone and general approach of your ongoing Marijuana Dispensary series, one can only reach the conclusion that you, Ms. Miller, are on a personal crusade to drum up as much fear and loathing against these establishments as you possibly can, in a deliberate effort to get them all shut down.
That isn’t journalism, Jacquie, it is propaganda, but you already knew that.

Your actions are causing operators – and more importantly, patients – to be fearful of dispensaries. I have little doubt that this is deliberate. I have little doubt that you are deliberately throwing any and all journalistic integrity to the wind in your effort to scandalize this topic for increased readership, and to get these places shut down. I also have deep suspicions that Tweed or some other Licensed Producer is behind this – egging you on – either financially or otherwise.

You know that the HC program is inaccessible to most people, and that these places are necessary.
You know that the HC programs have been struck down in court numerous times, leaving the prohibition that you so enthusiastically keep goading the police into enforcing as dead or mostly-dead… meaning these places are not “illegal” as you keep insisting.
You know that closing these places down will be an expensive and pointless game of whack-a-mole that this city simply cannot afford, and definitely cannot win.
You know that closing even one dispensary down can have serious and possibly even fatal consequences for the people who utilize them.

And yet, you continue to write article after article, demonizing the operators, humiliating their landlords, antagonizing police, and endangering their patrons.

You are unfathomably reprehensible, as are the entire editorial board of this dying kennel-liner of a publication. Absolutely beneath contempt. Unworthy even of the rotten, stinking, blood-tinged gunk that clogs your insides.

I would encourage you all to be ashamed of yourselves, but it was made clear by your first few articles and editorials that none of you are even capable of feeling shame.

For all of you, I wish nothing but sorrow, loneliness, poverty, misery, and suffering.

And since you are “journalists” – smug, smarmy, arrogant, and dismissive – I don’t have to reach very far to assume that you are smirking while you read this. Perhaps even reading it aloud to your compatriots in the newsroom over your buckets of coffee, having a good laugh at the misery and pain (and maybe even deaths) that you are causing some of Ottawa’s most-vulnerable people.

Russell Barth
Nov. 12, 2016

Posted in 420, Activism, Cancer, drug law, Harm Reduction, Justin Trudeau, Marijuana, Ottawa, Police, Politics and mental illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Marijuana Studies That Health Canada Says Don’t Exist

Health Canada claims to know a lot about Marijuana when they have bad things to say about it, but when asked about it’s efficacy, they claim there aren’t enough scientific studies to confirm that.

Also, every few days on Twitter, some idiot will challenge me when I say that Marijuana is safe and effective, or that it cures cancer. Then I have to spend ten minutes posting a bunch of links to articles explaining the science.

So I decided to just put them all in one link. Enjoy.


Neuroimmmune interactions of cannabinoids in neurogenesis: focus on interleukin-1β (IL-1β) signalling.

Study Finds Marijuana To Beat Current Alzheimer’s Drugs

Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say

Study finds marijuana has no effect on teen brain tissue, unlike alcohol use

Marijuana May Grow Neurons in the Brain

Scientists Discover That Cannabis May Reduce Brain Damage Caused By Alcohol

Study Finds Marijuana To Beat Current Alzheimer’s Drugs

Marijuana Does Not Harm the Human Brain

Four incredible ways marijuana is great for your brain

No, Marijuana Use Doesn’t Lower Your IQ


How Alan Park Cured His Cancer With Cannabis Oil


Cannabis Can Prevent Cancer Caused By Cigarette Use, According To New Study

Marijuana kills brain cancer, new study confirms

How Cannabis Cures Cancer (+30 Medical Researches)

44 medical studies that demonstrate cannabis can treat cancer

Scientists Discover That Marijuana Compound May Fight Lung Cancer

Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

Study Finds Cannabinoids Can Kill Gastric Cancer Cells

Study: Marijuana prevents spread of cancer

Cannabis Extract Fights ‘Incurable Form’ of Leukemia

Worth repeating: National Cancer Institute says pot fights cancer

Cannabis Oil Cures 8 Month Old Infant of Cancer, Dissolving Large Inoperable Tumor In 8 Months

Cannabis could cure cancer, US preventing marijuana research, study

Harvard Study says Marijuana Cures Cancer

The Top 4 Medical Studies That Prove Cannabis Can Cure Brain Cancer

New Research Shows Marijuana Compounds Do Fight Cancer

Cannabis Can Prevent Cancer Caused By Cigarette Use, According To New Study

Molecular Biologist Explains How THC Completely Kills Cancer Cells

34 Medical Studies for the Skeptic Confirming that Cannabis Can Cure Cancer

The endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, induces cell death in colorectal carcinoma cells: a possible role for cyclooxygenase 2

German Scientists Have Confirmed an Amazing Link between Cannabis and Cancer Suppression


Medical Marijuana and Muscle Spasms

Marijuana could actually cure HIV (we’re not making this up)!

60 Peer-Reviewed Studies on Medical Marijuana


Israel embraces the miracle of marijuana …

Cannabis Kills All Known Germs..Dead..Including MRSA Superbug

Marijuana Could Block H.I.V.’s Spread. No, Seriously.

Shocking Results: Woman Replaces 40 Medications With Raw Cannabis Juice

Study: Marijuana Less Likely to Cause Crash Than Other Drugs

Auto Insurance Site Says Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers

Marijuana terpenes and their effects

Posted in Cancer, drug law, epilepsy, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, marijuana and teens, Police, Politics and mental illness, seizures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Saying Goodbye


Sometime before the end of this year, I will probably have to say goodbye to my wife.

As most people know by now, my wife Christine Lowe has epilepsy. What most people don’t know is that for one third of people with seizure issues, pharmaceutical anticonvulsants are useless. Worse than useless, in fact, as they offer up a list of terrible side effects while also failing to prevent the seizures. Most of them don’t live long, and the lives they have are spent in hospitals or some other sort of care. Their lives are brutal, short, and sequestered.

When Christine was 21, she was told by a renowned neurologist in Kingston that she had a rare and essentially untreatable form of epilepsy, that the rest of her life would be characterized by ongoing seizures, trying different medications which would likely work for a while then fail, and eventually death from the seizures, the drugs, secondary injuries, or organ failure. That is if suicide didn’t get her first. That is what he told her. That people with her condition rarely see 40.

She spent the next ten years suffering: taking one medication after another, slipping further into sickness and despair, losing job after job, all of which eventually led to a life of boozing and promiscuity in an effort to simply connect with someone.

We met in 1998 and began living together as room mates with benefits in March of 2001. The first morning she woke up at my place she seized hard and peed in my bed. An hour later, when she awoke and I told her what happened, she got up to leave. But I didn’t let her go.

Autumn 2001: Christine took a new medication combo – a low dose and safe combination that any doctor would be perfectly comfortable prescribing – and she died. Having raised chickens and rabbits for meat as a teen, I knew perfectly well what dead felt like, and her light was out. I brought her back with my approximation of CPR in about 25 seconds, and she later said she saw the tunnel of light and her dead grandpa and all that. She told me it was the second time she had been briefly dead from sedatives.

In 2002 she decided – quite on her own – to quit her pharmaceuticals and just use cannabis to fight her epilepsy. I told her that if we were to do this thing, we would have to a) change our diet and lifestyle so that it would be basically beyond reproach, eating only healthy foods, lest our doctors and families think we were just goofing around, and b) go public and become activists to avert any public or police misinterpretations about our pot use. She was already thinking that.

Her seizures dropped off steeply. From over 60 big and small seizures from Jan. 1 to May 5 of 2002 she had just 13 the rest of that year. In 2003, she had fewer. 2004 – fewer still. Eventually, 2007 she had just one, or maybe 2, but they were 276 days apart or something. She had not had this level of seizure control ever in her entire life.

Christmas 2007: Her neurologist – quite reluctant, originally, to sign for her – said he was “astonished” and “stunned” and that she was having better seizure control than “people on a list of medications”. He was glad to sign the renewal.

March 24, 2008, 9:25am: Christine emerges, smiling, from the bedroom and prepares to start her daily routine of medicating with the Volcano vaporizer. Suddenly she goes into a big grand mal. I don’t panic, as it has been a long time since she had one. But then, not 20 minute later, a second came. 15 minutes later, a third.

I call the ambulance. They come, they shoot her full of ativan despite my warnings that she has an odd propensity for dying. “Better fire up the paddles first, guys.” I said. “She’ll flatline on you.” They did it anyway, because protocol.

She was taken to the Civic Hospital and it was a full-on TV-style hospital drama. People were sharply saying a bunch of medical stuff, tearing open packages, shoving tubes into her holes and tying her to the bed. I stood there, watching her urine collect on the floor, thinking: “This is it. She’s dying. Right here in front of me, my wife is going to die.”

But she didn’t. They gave her a “load-dose” of dilantin, she had several more seizures that day, and despite the assertions of the doctor who wanted to take her across town and give her more drugs, I brought her home the following morning. He and I both knew that if she went down that pharma road, she would die, but he was still acting like it was the right thing to do.

Since that day, I have barely left her side for more than a few minutes. She has anywhere from 3-6 “auras” or mild seizures, or beginnings-of-seizures per month, and one or two grand mals per month. We spend over 90% of our time at home. CCAC came in last year, and though the woman said we did – indeed – need some help around here, we fall just outside their boundaries of aid because Christine doesn’t need help getting dressed, eating, washing, going to the toilet or making food. Except when she does. We were handed a list of three services which provide adult babysitting, all of it costly, none of it covered by ODSP.

March of this past year, our MMAR growers informed us that they would not be risking arrest on the hopes of an injunction maybe happening, so they shut down production, and gave us what was left. We filed a $15.9 million suit against the government pointing out that the Allard Injunction fails to cover us as we cannot grow at home, cannot assign new growers, and can’t change addresses of the grow locations. Judge Phelan ignored this, so our suit goes nowhere, as we had expected.

We cannot sign on to MMPR because if we do, we relinquish any and all claims to our former growing rights under MMAR. Besides, MMPR is far too expensive for our needs.

In May we put out a press release announcing a press conference to discuss this issue, and a guy contacted us from some upstart compassion club, promising us 170 grams of free medicine per week. We cancelled the press conference thinking that the issue was solved or on it’s way to be. We did get 146 grams delivered, but nothing else since. Nor do we expect him to fulfill his very big and very public promise.

Since April, we received other charity from well-wishing friends that has bolstered our medicine supply, and we are rationing well below our prescribed doses, but as it stands now, we have no money, no medicine coming in, and no legal, or affordable supply line, and no options.

To add to this misery, we reach out to friends on facebook, and are given wildly impractical advice like “just grow at home”. When I point out that we have no money, no space, that the stress and space-consumption of an illegal grow would make her condition worse, and that even if we put seed into soil today, the first crop would not come until January or later, long after we run completely out of medicine in the last week of September… I get insulted. Called “difficult” “lazy” and “pessimistic”.

Not all my friends, mind you, but some.

So as it stands now, we are rationing our medicine well below the prescribed daily dose, we sit outside the law and the Health Canada regulations with our use of concentrates (instead of only using dried bud), and at this rate – we estimate we will run out sometime in late September or early October. Then the seizures will come. And with no cannabis to alleviate them, she risks not only injury and continued brain damage, but death.

We ask no pity.
We ask no sympathy.
We ask for no charity, though, if any comes, it will be greatly appreciated.

This was just to inform you that this happened to Canadians.

Posted in Activism, drug law, epilepsy, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, Police, seizures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Was This Proposed Marijuana Policy Written By Cops?

When ever any party sets out a plan to address any policy, they are, in effect, trying to predict the future and/or influence the outcome. No one can actually know what the future will bring, but if a ball is hit with a bat and it heads towards a house, everyone watching can make pretty good predictions about whether the ball will hit the roof, the lawn, a window, the door, or go over the house entirely. Some predictions will be wrong, but none would be crazy to have made them.

By setting up a plan of “If we do this, then this, then this next thing… well, the result, we hope, will be this.”, we try to predict and control the outcome of future events.
And that is ok. That is how roads and buildings and meals get made.

To be fair, this is just a proposed policy from the Liberal Party, (page 4) but I don’t think it would be wise for any party to follow this plan. Especially in Canada. Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 4.50.02 PM

I understand “the regulation and taxation of its production” to mean corporatizing (extending the mandate of MMPR) and implementing onerous pricing and taxation (as with current MMPR). This will basically turn pot into Tobacco 2.0. This, to me, is a lateral move at best, because Tobacco 1 is failing miserably.

I take “while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking” to mean, well, again: much like tobacco is now, only people don’t grow tobacco at home and sell to some friends to spread the cost and/or work around like they currently do with pot. Were any government to follow this agenda, I think it would be a mistake, as this policy promises to fail, just as the Tobacco model is failing now. It would fail to deter kids from using, and fail to deter their suppliers. It does, in fact create an incentive to sell to kids, as it does now with both pot and tobacco. It would still be the “naughty” and therefore “cool” thing to do.

Also, the marijuana laws as they stand now are enforced and prosecuted disproportionately along racial and economic lines (white and/or rich ≠ poor and/or non-white), so one could easily expect the same to happen under this program.

I take “invest significant resources in prevention and education programs designed to promote awareness of the health risks and consequences of marijuana use and dependency, especially amongst youth” to mean all the D.A.R.E.-style “mental illness, gateway drug, worse than tobacco, driving impairment” balderdash that we have heard for decades, none of which is actually true. Some in the Liberal Party are thinking that the “be honest about drugs”-approach coming from Educators For Sensible Drug Policy is the best way to go, and I wholeheartedly agree. But I think the RCMP will fight tooth and nail to keep the government-funded lie-filled hate-crime that is the D.A.R.E. program going. I don’t see the cops giving up their ongoing practice of entering schools to scare, bully, cajole, and lie to grade five students.
And shame on every teacher who has ever allowed their classes’ minds to be thus polluted.

Most kids have internet access, so they can easily find out out about the toddler treating his epilepsy with cannabis oil, the people curing their incurable mega-cancers with the cannabis oil, vaping pens that take cannabis concentrates and that are easy to conceal, driving studies that show pot users drive slower and more cautiously, how teens who use pot actually do better than those who don’t, and all the rest. Being lied to also tends to not only stir mistrust and resentment towards parents, police, teachers, the government, and society itself for allowing such hypocritical nonsense to continue, it entices them to go do the forbidden thing. Is that really what Canadian parents want?

I take “extend amnesty to all Canadians previously convicted of simple and minimal marijuana possession, and ensure the elimination of all criminal records related thereto” to mean exactly what it says, and I applaud it. Sadly, if the administration of the MMAR under the previous Liberal governments is any indication, that will mean a long wait for a lot of people. The police will also do a lot of huffing about this as well, insisting that Stoner Joe is going to do terrible things if he doesn’t stay in that damp cage for that extra year or two.

One assumes that “work with governments of Canada on a coordinated regulatory approach to marijuana” means handing a lot of this responsibility over to the provinces. This I also applaud, because the provinces are constitutionally-mandated to handle all medical issues. The problem with this approach is that some provincial governments have different views on how to allow people to utilize their Charter Rights. Ontario has one third of the country’s population, so how will their polices differ from the more culturally-backwater provinces like Saskatchewan or P.E.I.?

But I feel that the “which maintains significant federal responsibility for marijuana control while respecting provincial health jurisdiction and particular regional concerns and practices” part is very disconcerting. This, to me, is evidence that the Liberal Party want to keep Marijuana on the Controlled Drugs And Substances Act so that the RCMP still have national jurisdiction over people’s bodies and actions. This essentially ignores a number of court rulings, and one can easily predict that this policy, if implemented, would face immediate, lengthly, and costly Constitutional Challenges.

To me, this policy attempts to pander to both the adult marijuana enthusiasts who would like a toke after work, and the wine-infused soccer moms who are fed up with Junior coming home all red-eyed and giggling after school. It also keeps cops happy.

But I expect (… “predict”…) that it will fail to accomplish it’s proposed goals, in that teens will still have just as much access to pot as they do now, they will still resent the idea that what is ok for one person is not ok for another, and they will still be encouraged to seek “forbidden” pleasures.

More importantly, the police will still have the right to randomly detain and search people based on the flimsiest of “probable causes”, and likely be given more powers of intrusion and coercion with drivers. This, to me, is of questionable constitutionality and is certainly not based on the latest science.

We have already seen one incident where an MMPR-licensed patient was detained and charged with marijuana possession at Canada’s Wonderland, so we can easily expect the police to voice confusion over who and which pot is “legal” or not, just as even the patients themselves currently are.

If this policy – a policy that some in the legalization community and media are calling a “step in the right direction” – were to be implemented, the police could easily come forward a year or two later and insist that it is an abject failure, citing the legal status for adults and all this medical use is actually making pot more attractive for kids. They’ll likely assert that the contraband market is flourishing, that both contraband and the “legal” marijuana are finding it’s way to the kids (just as kids pilfer booze and smokes and pills from dozy parents today), and how it is wreaking havoc on Canadians roadways. They won’t offer much proof, of course. They never do, nor do the media or legislators ever press them to. They will just do like they have been doing for over 80 years: dismissing science, making assertions with no proof, bald-faced lying, and demanding even more money, men, toys, and powers. They will finish it off with a dire insistence that this whole thing was a failure and that we need to go back to full-on prohibition like the good old days.

The Liberal Party is trying to “predict” or at least influence the outcome of future events by proposing this policy. There is no shame in that, and I won’t scold them for attempting. So I should feel no shame or receive no scolding for “predicting” how I think it would fail.

My proposed plan of treating marijuana like chocolate and using education to deter and modulate teen marijuana use would, I think, do more to get the parents and teachers what they want and what they say is needed. I have been told by some that my idea is crazy, too radical, that “it is never going to happen, Russell”. But keep in mind that that is what most people said about all this progress we see in Colorado, Washington,  and many other US States, for decades; that is was “never going to happen”.

Teen Pot Use Shows No Effect On Brain Tissue, Unlike Alcohol

Posted in 420, Activism, drug law, Justin Trudeau, Marijuana, marijuana and teens, Military, Ottawa, parenting, parents, Police, Politics and mental illness, protest, teens and marijuana | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Outrageously Racist Double Standards Of Marijuana-Law Enforcement

This story of the toddler using cannabis for his epilepsy raises some interesting points about the nature of prohibition and the outrageously uneven way it is enforced.

Imagine if this family were not white people. Seriously: Do you think a non-white family would even consider going public with information like this? I don’t. In fact, I doubt most non-white people in Canada would even consider using medical marijuana because they know deep down that no permit or prescription would keep them from getting busted. Because most people of colour already know – or they should know – that laws in Canada are enforced along racial lines.

As I pointed out in previous posts, the Ottawa Police and RCMP are pretty fickle in the ways they enforce drug laws. They cherry-pick, and race is almost always a factor.

For example: Word around town is that OPS has an off-the-books Stop & Frisk policy, meaning the police routinely stop people who are less-than-white, and search them and bother them with zero provocation or probable cause. I have not seen this, but I have spoken to more than one person to whom it has happened. One friend of mine says he gets hassled quite often simply because he is black. Another friend who worked at the station in a civilian capacity told me that the Stacy Bonds case was not unusual because “…shit like that goes on every…. DAY in that place. And EVERYBODY knows about it. EV REE BUUUH DEEEEE……”. That is how he said it, too. Like; “Get it into your thick skull, man!”

The cops let teens smoke tobacco in public. They know it is illegal, and yet they do nothing. I know, because I asked them. They even let kids smoke tobacco on school property. It is illegal. They ignore it. If they caught a kid smoking a joint on school property, that kid might face charges. If that kid is afflicted with more melanin than, say… me… he will definitely face charges.

So… why should anyone have any respect for marijuana laws or the lazy fickle racist cowards who enforce them?


Posted in 420, Activism, drug law, Harm Reduction, Justin Trudeau, Marijuana, Ottawa, parenting, parents, Police, Politics and mental illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Dilemma For Cops


More and more, people are using vapour pens to use their tobacco products. I applaud this, not only because it is healthier for the user, but because it doesn’t stink up public spaces the way cigarettes and pipes do. Tobacco, to me, smells like burning dog poo. Some people think that because I use cannabis, I must also use tobacco, and I tell them “No, I don’t use tobacco because I don’t want to smell like a homeless person…”.

I have even seen people use these devices on OC Transpo bus platforms and buses.

But the best part about these devices is that they can be used for cannabis as well. My wife and I use the Two Hoot vaping pen, and it works great. Many of my wife’s seizures have been adverted because we can deliver a big dose of cannabis instantly. The only problem is finding the gunk to put in it.

So now police have an interesting choice: Do they simply ignore people using these devices, and just assume everyone is using tobacco? Or do they stop and search everyone that they see using them, assuming they might be using marijuana?

I expect they will continue with the policy that they know and love: Profiling the young, people of colour, and the poor…. searching random people with no probable cause. They are sure to catch enough stoners to justify their time and effort.

Since there is no smell – even from cannabis products – the police could decide “Well, I smell nothing, so I have no probable cause…”… Or they could decide “That guy looks like a stoner so I am going to assume it is pot and search him.”

Now… what do you think the cops are going to do? Be honest. Me? I think they will arbitrarily pull some new rule out of their asses to give them more powers of intrusion and coercion. I think they will see these devices as a major obstacle to whatever it is they think they are doing, and demand new bylaws to give them powers.

Or maybe they will do what they have been doing for years: break the law with impunity – searching and harassing people based on the flimsiest hunch.

But if they bother me or my wife, they can expect to have serious charges laid against them – against the officers personally – for reckless endangerment and even attempted murder.

I am not kidding. This is our medicine – the same kind of medicine that is curing people’s cancers and stopping little babies’ seizures. I urge the police to leave us and everyone else alone and go find some real crimes to thwart. Maybe check out the front lawn of any of the high schools in town – lots of teens using tobacco illegally there. That’s a crime. Go solve that crime.

Posted in 420, Activism, drug law, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Ottawa, Police, Politics and mental illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marijuana Should Be Sold To Kids Like Chocolate Or Cola

17-why-is-junk-food-so-damn-good-When we look at the science and history of cannabis, we see that it is safer than cola, coffee, or chocolate. When one considers that cola and chocolate products almost always have a lot of sugar in them, and coffee sometimes has sugar, we realize that cannabis is much safer. And when we factor in the myriad medical benefits of cannabis, we see that our public policy is downright absurd.

Anyone who says that sugar isn’t a drug has never seen a kid eat a lot of sugar. Same with caffeine. But then I guess it is ok to have kids jumping around high on sugar… but not lying around laughing because they are high on pot…? That is a weird culture you have there…

In my opinion, people should avoid sugar and caffeine like poison, but it is also reasonable to suggest that letting a kid have a can of Mountain Dew or an Aero bar once in a while is not a big deal. The problems come when the kid is doing it too often, and it leads to other problems like diabetes, obesity, dental decay, and stupidity.

Sadly, Canadian parents have dropped the ball over the past 30 years. With about one third of Canadians (of all ages) being obese, and another third being merely overweight, Canadian parents have – in my view – lost all of their “Hey, you can’t let kids have that!” privileges. I see them in the food courts and grocery stores, feeding their families garbage. I see their chubby, whiny brats as they have their sugar-crash in the department store or on the bus. I see them buying giant chocolate bunnies at Easter. The worst part is – they know what they are doing. It isn’t like parents think McDonald’s is real food, they know perfectly well that they are doing at least some harm.
Now, obviously no sane person wants to see little kids (or teens) lying around stoned on the lawn, all red-eyed and giggling… any more than we would want to see them all fat and lazy from junk food, or bouncing off the walls from too much caffeine. Responsible parents would teach and monitor their kids so that they would know how much chocolate, cola, or marijuana was enough, or too much.

As it stands now, we could literally sell pot from corner stores to any kid of any age, and they could not possibly have any more access than they do already. Just about any kid of any age can find pot in Canada in under a day. There is a glut on the market. The more clever ones can even buy it on line.

Further, we are only talking about 15-20% (of the 10-18-year-old population) who are using pot more than once in a while, with maybe 3-4% who are using it weekly or daily, and a fraction of 1% who are doing it too much and having problems at home or at school.

That is nothing compared to the fifty to sixty percent of Canadian kids who currently have weight issues. The notion that allowing pot to be sold next to Hershey bars is somehow going to endanger the public is pretty absurd. Kids who want pot, get pot. No one has obeyed the law in decades. The kids who don’t use pot now, will probably not start if the rules changed.

This raises an important question: If kids have ubiquitous access to pot now, and selling it in stores would not increase their access or the danger posed to them, then why bother? Why not just make it 18 and over like tobacco and booze?

Well, for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that if Old Man Corner Store doesn’t sell your kid a clean pot cookie or a clean and bar-coded 2-gram baggie, some 20-something creepo will sell him something outside. jay and sb

That guy deserves no customers. His product will likely come from some gang-grow, or his own crappy indoor or outdoor shwagg, and he will overcharge your kids, taking your hard-earned money and giving it to people who possibly also deal in who-knows-what?

Secondly, kids can smell hypocrisy a mile away, so telling them pot is too dangerous for them, while adults use it like the health supplement that it is, will not sit well with them. Whether they want to use marijuana or not, they will resent being lied to, and especially so badly!

Third, having police not bother with pot use at all will help restore some public faith in law enforcement. People of all ages have lost respect for police and even police work as a whole, because the police not only waste endless time and resources trying to stop pot from being grown and sold and used, but because they lie about it. They lie about marijuana, they lie about their busts, they lie about the merits of prohibition. They no longer deserve any say in marijuana policy, period. They lost all their privileges too. The only time a cop should be involved in a marijuana issue, is if someone stole some pot.

This raises another important question: If, in the future, kids have ubiquitous access to pot in corner stores like chocolate, how do we keep them from using it?

You don’t. You teach them the facts, you instil in them a sense of moderation and humility and grace, and you monitor their behaviour so they don’t get the chance to abuse pot any more than they would chocolate or cola. Keep them busy. Get involved in their lives. Give teachers the tools to teach to these issues honestly, and begin public information campaigns urging sensible use.

And no, you don’t need to be a parent to figure that out. ______________________________________________________________

Teens who smoke marijuana do better in school than cigarette smokers, study shows

The myth of cannabis and teens

Junk Food Roundup: Everything is Absurdly Unhealthy

Professors say we should ban all soft drinks

Posted in 420, Activism, drug law, Marijuana, parenting, parents, Police, protest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Coy Ploy Being Played On The Pot Nation


Given that the Harper Regime sitting in power now is an illegal and illegitimately-implanted government and their policies are all based in acrimony and madness, and given that their rigging of elections pretty much guarantees their majority rule for another decade at least, let’s talk about the hypothetical future, and the Liberal Party’s proposed plan to “legalize” marijuana.

To be fair, the LPC is a third-place party and they are not really obliged to come up with a marijuana policy at all, yet. But they opened up this can of worms, so here we go.

Their proposed draft plan looks more like “Tobacco 2.0” than actual “legalization”, but that hasn’t stopped the media or the CPC from suggesting that that is exactly what Justin Trudeau is proposing. In fact, even Marc and Jodie Emery seem to have been taken in by Justin’s coy ploy.

People say things like “baby steps” and “step in the right direction” and then accuse me of being “negative” because I point out that a known public liar is publicly lying once again. Or, if he is not lying, then the plan he offers is nothing like the “legalization” we have collectively envisioned for decades.

One example that makes me wary is Marc Emery’s assertion that he smoked pot with Justin Trudeau many years ago – an assertion that Trudeau flatly denies. I believe Emery was telling the truth, and that Trudeau is lying. Now they are teaming up? I don’t get it.

I do agree that people should vote Liberal or strategically in the (ostensibly) coming federal election for no other reason than to get Harper out, but to suggest that Justin Trudeau is actually going to legalize marijuana is – in my opinion – a bald-faced lie. No matter who’s mouth it comes out of, I cannot look at the past forty years of LPC shenanigans and still be credulous about this marijuana issue. Nor, I think, should anyone else.

Jodie Emery and others point out that having a federal leader speak like this is a huge positive, and, I would agree if I thought he were actually telling the truth. But I don’t. I believe Elizabeth May when she says it, and sort-of believed Jack layton when he said it, but I simply cannot believe anything that comes out of Justin’s mouth.

In fact, I seriously doubt Justin Trudeau has any real intention to even table a marijuana-legalizing legislation. I think it is merely political expediency to distance himself from Old Mean Dad Harper on this issue. I expect Trudeau will keep promising and promising, right through the election, and if he actually gets elected PM (what with low voter turnout and CPC-rigged elections), “legalization” will be repeatedly shelved. The promises will continue, however, as busts and incarcerations continue to increase every year. 

But even if Justin himself is sincere about this issue – which I find impossible to believe – I doubt his party will let him do it. About half the party still thinks that pot should remain illegal, and because individual MPs have personal loyalties to police and other “shareholders” in their constituencies, I expect Justin we be fighting his own party on this issue just as hard as he has to fight the public, the media, the opposition, or the Tory-stacked Senate.

If Justin manages to win, and if he does actually table a legislation that he will call “legalization”, what can we expect? Well, based on their proposed draft platform, and things The (um) Great (like) Orator has said publicly, this is what I see coming:

– Strictly-limited home-growing, for medical use only, but the cops will be all up in your business often to “regulate” it. The long wait times and paperwork screw-ups that Medical Marijuana users have endured for more than a decade will continue, of course.

– Arbitrary restrictions on carry-around amounts, plant numbers, and home storage limits will be enacted and enforced heavily. Your neighbour can still store up enough booze for 20 years if he likes, but pot users will be limited to an ounce or something ridiculous.

– Police lies about marijuana and prohibition will continue unabated, and unchallenged by the media.

– Arbitrary and non-scientific driving restrictions that will face Charter Challenges the first day they are used.

– Limited large-scale growing. Limited to corporations, I mean. Onerous taxes, security protocols, inspectors, cops… and people growing tons of seedy, twiggy, chemical-rich weed that will likely be weaker and more expensive than the extra-legal products sold on “the street”. 

– Commercial sales to adults in stores, with huge markup and onerous taxation that will, like the tobacco situation now, facilitate increased contraband production and sales, especially to minors. The pot will be lacking in potency and purity, driving people to the extra-legal market.

– Arbitrary new restrictions and rules against dabbing wax, hash, tinctures, high-concentrate oils, and pretty much anything other than “dried marihuana”…. will be subject to busts and sanctions.

– Cops will be granted new, broader, Charter-ignoring powers of intrusion and coercion – especially when it comes to driving, and they will get corresponding budget increases “to fight the added dangers” of marijuana “legalization”. “Stop and Frisk” – which is already unofficially standard operating procedure in every single police department in Canada, will become official.

– Stiffer penalties for people who sell pot to kids. Even teens will still face jail time under Justin’s “legalization” scheme. Which means it isn’t legal at all, is it. Because if one person can go to jail for pot possession or growing, then it isn’t legal. It isn’t.

– Dealers continuing to sell to kids outside corner stores and in schools and in playgrounds because the kids won’t be able to buy it at the store themselves.

teen justin

– Endless DARE and MADD-generated science-free propaganda aimed at kids, telling them how evil and dangerous marijuana is and what a gigantic danger it presents to road safety.

– Increased teen pot abuse, and by “abuse” I don’t mean “use”, or even getting high often… I mean kids using their pot-use as an excuse to ditch school or not exercise or not participate in life like a non-stoner. The message (under the LPC plan) that pot is legal for adults and totally not for kids will further entice them to use it.

– Zero advertising of the medical program. Sick people will have to hope they get lucky enough to hear about it on social media. You won’t see any “Health Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program Is Here To Help You” posters in bus shelters, but you will likely see a lot more DARE and MADD posters. And commercials. 

– Increased hassle and scrutiny for doctors who prescribe marijuana – far more onerous than what other doctors who prescribe Oxycontin will face. The Liberals, I expect, will do like the CPC have done, and just keep letting police write their public health policy, and all the canoes full of science will do nothing to sway them.

– Taxpayer-funded, forced-rehab based in abstinence teachings will be inflicted on teens. Any and all under-age pot use will be considered “abuse” and subjected to jail or “treatment”. If the past is any indication, the “treatment” will be what is has always been: pharmaceuticals and indoctrination. The kid eating 17 Slim Jims and a 2L bottle of Coke at lunch will continue to be free to do as he pleases.

Then, after a few years of this ridiculous mess, the police will say it is “no longer feasible” and we all “need to go back” to prohibition. They will go out of their way to bust every single teen pot user they see, then use those increased bust-numbers to justify their balderdash propaganda about how “legalization” is making their job too complicated. Then Justin will smile and shrug and say “Um, well, like, y’know, um, I, like, um, tried….”

Anyone with even half a brain can see where this plan is going to end up. There will be pot sold in stores to wealthy people, but black people will get pulled over and charged even more often than they are now. Pot-using teens will face even more hassle and scrutiny from school and police, and school suspensions and criminal charges will be given to pot users – for doing something safer than the kids who are illegally smoking contraband tobacco on school property. Police corruption will continue to increase. The disproportionate sentencing – where a native or black kid gets sent to jail for the same “crime” that gets the white kid a “rehab” stay – will remain in place, of course, because the courts cannot be trusted to dispense justice.

To my astonishment and disappointment, The Prince and Princess Of Pot seem ok with this plan, calling it “a step in the right direction”. But it isn’t. It is, at best, a lateral move, and at worst, a complete bamboozle. If Justin wins, and if this policy is implemented, marijuana users will still be treated as second class citizens, stigmatized, and forced to deal with police officers in ways that coffee-drinking and tobacco-smoking teens won’t.

Now maybe the Emerys can convince Trudeau to draft a sensible legislation, but to me, that is like someone walking into a pig barn in a white suit, declaring that they will not only clean the barn, but emerge without a single smudge of pig faeces on them.

Yeah, well, Obama seemed pretty awesome before he became President, and look how that turned out.


Posted in 420, Activism, Harm Reduction, Justin Trudeau, Marijuana, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, Police, Politics and mental illness, protest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Breaking The Law To Save Our Lives


Christine and I have informed our doctors (in writing) that we would not be signing on to the MMPR, for the following reasons:

1) It is outrageously expensive. The help we have been receiving over the years was able to keep us going because of the MMAR. Without the MMAR, the same level of help – which would still be offered – won’t take us even 1/20th the distance we need to go each month.

2) The regulations limit the users to 150 grams per month, each, or roughly 5 grams per day. That is less than half of Christine’s prescribed dose and about half of what she uses now. It it less than one third of mine, so even if we signed on, and even if we could afford it, we can no longer manage on doses that low. Nor should we even be asked to. In fact – due to certain issues – I only get 12 of the 16/day I’m been prescribed!

3) If we signed on, we would have to commit to one grower (like being told you can only shop at one grocery store). We cannot trust that the company we sign on with will even still be in existence in a few months. The program is so onerous – for growers and patients alike – that many closures and bankruptcies are expected. Then what? Wait weeks or months for paperwork to clear before we can buy from the next grower?

4) We can trust the extralegal growers to produce better, cheaper product for us. Some growers might even donate some for free (or have before). MMPR growers are not allowed to offer price reductions for bulk purchases, and they must charge tax. We calculated the monthly cost under the MMPR would be $1500-2000, each. Or $75,000 – 82,000 per year, depending where we purchased.

5) The medicine these companies produce promises to be second-rate, at best. If Prairie Plant Systems’s “product” is any indication of what the other MMPR growers are likely to produce, thanks anyway.

6) Principle: Our right to grow our own medicine or have a designated person grow it for us has been taken away and handed to corporations! Some of them aren’t even in Canada! So even if we could afford it (and only needed five per day), we would still boycott it, because a) the prohibition of marijuana us unjust and absurd, and b) the regulations are nonsensical and unjust. We simply cannot bring ourselves to participate in absurd and unjust things, and obeying laws pertaining to plants is like…. well, convincing ourselves that Santa Claus is actually real. It is beyond absurd. Juvenile and ridiculous.

Breaking unjust laws to get the medicine we need feels more sensible, to us, than obeying stupid laws designed to harm us. It is as simple as that.

We still have some medicine saved, enough to last us until about the first week of May, and other people have offered to get “care packages” to us, but we fully expect the RCMP to come search our home on – or shortly after – April 1st to make sure we are complying with the new regulations. Or intercept our mail to stop the medicine getting to us.

No – really. We are literally expecting to be arrested sometime in April or May, even with our MMAR possession permits lasting until April (for Christine) and June (for me), we still expect an arrest and confiscation of medicine. We doubt the OPS would bother, but we do expect the RCMP are pretty chuffed about the fact that they get to go tearing out people’s hard work and making sick people cry.

The only hope, at this point, is that the judge in John Conroy’s court challenge can extend the MMAR program for a while, allowing us the possibility of continuing to survive. Or – even better – force modifications to the MMPR allowing for more than 5 grams per day, and adding a DIN# so that ODSP can pay Company X for the pot they send us. Then we could maybe sign on. But as the MMPR regs stand now… no way. We are screwed.

Frankly, we have both resigned ourselves to the idea that this is how it will all end. Because there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. We will run out of medicine eventually, the seizures will come, and I will buckle under the weight of that horror and start drinking again. And then we will both fade out. That is what we expect for this coming summer/fall. No hyperbole, no joke.

We will accept charity, but ask for none. We bring this to your attention, because if this could happen to us – if our rights can be arbitrarily modified or taken away at the whim of a government minister – then no one in Canada is safe.

Russell Barth & Christine Lowe


Ok… so, according to Chris Goodwin of Vapor Central, I am wrong about a number of things.

“Hey Russell Barth, Im only a few points in your blog, and they are all wrong so far…

1)  $3 to $6 a gram, it’s half the price of compassion clubs in Canada, which is odd to me.

2) The regulations limit the users to 150 grams per month, WRONG, the limit is 150g per order…

3) If we signed on, we would have to commit to one grower, WRONG, You can sign on to all 8 current companies if you want.

4) MMPR growers are not allowed to offer price reductions for bulk purchases, and they must charge tax. WRONG, LP’s can charge bulk rates, and there is NO Tax.

5) The medicine these companies produce promises to be second-rate, at best. WRONG… Do I even need to explain this one…

6) Principle: Our right to grow our own medicine or have a designated person grow it for us has been taken away and handed to corporations! WRONG, there was no right to grow, only a permit to do so, and you can still grow, the regulations dont disregard court decisions. And your DG was a corporation, and can now grow for all 400K patients, instead of just you and Christine.”


Well….. still, we can’t afford it, and my our grower was not a corporation.

So, despite my many glaring mistakes, the fact remains: we can’t afford this, period.

Posted in Activism, Marijuana, protest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Marijuana, Tickets, and The Trouble With Finding Good Hired Help These Days

On the morning of August 21st, 2013 I awoke to the news that The Canadian Association of Chiefs Of Police had suggested handing out tickets for marijuana users instead of laying charges or issuing warnings… and something inside me just popped.

I sent this open letter to the Association:

An Open Letter To The Canadian Association Of Police Chiefs,

Recently you suggested handing out tickets for marijuana users instead of laying charges. Here’s a better idea: Leave marijuana users alone and go do some real police work, you lazy cowards.

Seriously, women are being sexually assaulted and going missing, kids are living with monstrous villains, people are sick on the street because prohibition has made the cities awash with smack and meth and crack, human trafficking abounds, corporate criminals are destroying the planet and evading taxes, and you clowns walk around wasting almost 80% of your time handing out marijuana fines or charges or warnings. It is disgusting and embarrassing and you should all be deeply ashamed of yourselves.

On top of that, every grow you bust subsidizes the guys you DIDN’T bust. You know this. Your own data proves it. Any 8 year old could figure this out, but you continue to publicly lie and tout prohibition as the solution to all of the problems caused by prohibition. It is disgusting, and your lying should be illegal.

Meanwhile, little kids walk around drinking Red Bull and Monster, getting fat on junk food and often smoking tobacco right on school property, and you let that all go. Because it is legal. But someone smokes a joint in public and they suddenly have to deal with some officer who usually treats us like we are second class citizens.

 Well, we’re not second class. Actually, marijuana users are better than non-users: healthier, sexier, smarter, more creative, and longer-lived. History and science shows that. That isn’t an opinion, it is fact: we’re better than other people.

 So, on behalf of every pot user in Canada, I hereby reject your offer to lengthen our leash. We want equality with coffee drinkers, and we will not settle until we have it.

 Russell Barth
Federally Licensed Medical Marijuana User

I also sent it off to many editors across the country, and it was published in the Guelph Mercury.

I posted the letter on Facebook and linked to it with Twitter, and quickly started getting calls from the media for further comment.

On the morning of Sunday 25th, I found a message in my Facebook email from a guy named Patrick Smyth. Smyth is from Whistler BC, and apparently works with Olympic snowboard star and medical marijuana entrepreneur Ross Rebagliati. Smyth told me he was a pot grower and supplier, listed off a bunch of accomplishments and history from his family in the military and the RCMP, mentioned how I am so lucky to have freedom of speech and that if it wasn’t for the police I wouldn’t have it…. then made a veiled threat to come to my door in September.

I notified the local police but plan to follow it up with Whistler Police this week.

Monday, I got this email from a representative of the Association:

Russell – I have read your comments in various ‘comment sections’ of newspapers throughout Canada. You have made your points well known and it is positive we get to express our views in such ways. I will, however, take great exception to your characterization of police and I will not respond further other than to say that during our Winnipeg conference, I heard a detective describe his investigation into the rape of a 16 month old child and having to watch the video of the crime. “It haunts you 4 life, I will never forget the screams.” Think about that when you wish to promote your views not only about marijuana, but your obviously skewed vision of policing,

Timothy M. Smith
Government Relations and Strategic Communications
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police


I will admit that I am at a loss at this point. How this officer makes the mental leap from “leave pot smokers alone” to “our officers are busy trying to stop baby-rapers”, is a complete mystery.

I can see how dealing with that sort of heinous crime could damage a person. I can see that it takes a special kind of person to put themselves through poison like that more than once. I can see that I, personally, would not have the stomach for it, nor would I have the patience to wait for the courts to deal with the suspect in question. That is why I never considered police work: the first time I see an abused woman, child, or animal, I would be extremely likely to take the law into my own hands. I would probably be in cuffs before my first shift was over.

But I don’t see how real cops fighting real crime in any way justifies busting pot users. Are the police suggesting that these guys were high on pot when they raped children? Are they financing their child-porn with marijuana sales? Are pot growing-gangsters now involved in the making of child porn? Do they think that smoking pot makes you want to rape kids or view videos of kids being raped…?

If so, then they need to present evidence to support these assertions, otherwise, they all serve as valid reasons for taking marijuana out of the hands of gangsters and putting it into stores run by tax-paying citizens. If not, then this is all the more reason to think that police should forget about pot smokers entirely and go fight real crime.

Notice also that Mr. Smith pointed out that he has seen my comments around the net (suggesting that they have been watching me). Was this meant to frighten me? I expect so. Over the years, I have noticed that cops – and the families of cops – love to bring up freedom of speech whenever someone critiques their blunders or policies. I have had more than one “freedom of speech” finger wagging in my face for pointing out that cops are helping gangsters with prohibition, and lying to the public while doing so.

I honestly get the impression that police don’t like the fact that we all have freedom of speech, because that means “nobodies” like me are free to point out their lies. They love it when people praise them, but as soon as you critisize them, they become condescending, aloof, and occasionally threatening.

And boy oh boy, do cops like to lie when it comes to drugs. It is almost like they are incapable of telling the truth about drugs! They claim that needle exchanges and safe injection sites cause more addiction and crime. They say marijuana is addictive, more dangerous than booze or tobacco, and inevitably leads to hard drug use. When asked to show evidence to support such claims, the refuse. When confronted with evidence to prove them wrong, they ignore or dismiss it.

Meanwhile, the media – knowing that they won’t get access or comments or any co-operation from police if they report something that shows the police in a less-than-flattering light – simply let police say what they want, and almost never ever dare challenge it. Cops will say “we got a major amount of drugs off the street”, but no reporter will bring up the fact that the bust will have zero effect on the availability of drugs in the community, or that by busting one grow house or drug ring, all the police do is subsidize the ones they haven’t busted. If they did, they would never get a chance to ask a cop a question ever again.

So we, the public, are fed a daily diet of cop-sucking tripe, where Canadian police are referred to as “heroes” simply for putting on a badge every day. “The brave men and women of the police”, and all that. I scoff at this notion because statistically, police work is among the safest jobs around. When you compare the numbers (how many officers, how many man-hours they collectively do in a year, and how many deaths or injuries occur in any year), you see that police work is not that dangerous. Far less dangerous than most manual labor jobs, and, unlike manual-laborers, police have an assortment of weapons, special training, armored vests, super tough and fast cars, a radio to call a dozen heavily-armed friends at a moment’s notice, and a union that protects them whenever they break the law, which is often. Soon, they will get tazers, which terrifies me.

Police get better health care than the average citizen, and whenever they get into trouble for, say, killing an unarmed and cornered man in a street car or beating the crap out of a woman and cutting her bra off with scissors, they get to stay home and get paid. They also face far weaker penalties than any civilian would for similar or even lesser offenses.

Two more facts to consider: crime has been dropping every year for 30 years and we are now living with the lowest per-capita crime rate in 40 years. Meanwhile, busts for simple marijuana possession have increased 68%. So it should be obvious to even the dumbest kids in class that the police have very little to do with their time, in regards to fighting crimes like, say, searching for missing native women or stopping people who make baby-rape videos.

If the police are spending so much time busting marijuana smokers, while all of these other real crimes go unsolved or uninvestigated, then they must know something about prohibition that the rest of us don’t.

Posted in Activism, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Ottawa, Politics and mental illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment