Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17, 2018 - Marijuana is Legal in Canada

I haven't blogged in eight months.  There have been many items I could have blogged about, but I didn't.  But marijuana becoming legal in Canada, that is a good topic.

With today (October 17, 2018) being the date, marijuana becomes legal, people who are recreational and medicianl users are rejoicing that it is becoming legal.  People who have used it for whatever reason, they have been waiting for it to become legal.  It's not like the United States that allow individual states to make the choice to make it legal or not.

The history of marijuana being illegal in Canada goes back to 1923 according to a CBC article.  Basically, it has been a 95 year wait for marijuana to become legal again.  Historians have tried to find any record of a debate, but they have found no such thing.  That seems odd.  You would think there would be records of it.  Apparently not.

When marijuana was added to the schedule of proscribed by Parliament,  Canada became one of the first countries to make it illegal.  The United States made it illegal 14 years later during the Great Depression.

In 1923, then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government introduced an Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs.  Henri Beland, who was the health minister at the time, said the bill was a consolidation of other legislation that had been passed over the previous few years, with some changes.Heroin, codeine and "cannabis indica (Indian hemp) or hasheesh" were also proscribed and added to the new bill.

Apparently the Hansard is the only recorded mention of the changes to schedule.  It happened on April 23rd
when Beland told the House of Commons, "There is a new drug in the schedule."

 There were three new drugs added to the schedule.  According to historian
Catherine Carstairs, Beland was probably referring to cannabis when he said there was this "new" drug because in the government's view, "the other two are extensions of other products that had already been added to the schedule."

Side note,
Carstairs is the author of Jailed for Possession: Illegal Drug Use, Regulation and Power in Canada, 1920-1961 and chair of the University of Guelph's history department.

Fast forward to May 3rd.  It was the Senate's turn to review to review the legislation.  Raoul Dandurand, the Liberal government's leader in the Senate, told his colleagues, "There is only one addition to the schedule: Cannabis Indica (Indian Hemp) or hasheesh."The 1991 book Panic and Indifference: The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws is the most detailed account of the events of 1923.  It states that the health department’s narcotic division's files contain a draft of the bill that does not include cannabis. There are also several carbon copies, and to one of them was added, "Cannabis Indica (Indian Hemp) or hasheesh."

Nobody knows who ordered it added to the schedule.  B
oth the House and the Senate agreed to the additions without any discussion.You might find it odd that nobody challenged the addition to the schedule.  There was little know about this "drug" in Canada and apparently, very few people were smoking it.

No newspapers made reference to marijuana and the first seizure of it by the police didn't come until 1932, nearly ten years later.

In 1922, a book entitled he Black Candle, by Emily Murphy, is frequently given as the reason for then Prime Minister King's government to make marijuana illegal.  Apparently there is no evidence that this book or Murphy influenced the government's decision outside of coincidence.

Panic and Indifference: The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws states that unlike drugs added to the schedule and proscribed, marijuana was criminalized before it was defined as a "social problem."  "Why this was so remains a mystery."

This was all during an era of prohibition and King was an advocate against opium which goes back to 1908.  Also,
Carstairs says that there's no record King was then keeping a close eye on the drug file and she has found no reference to marijuana in his diaries.

Trying to brief with the history of marijuana, you can see the full article in the link.  Fast forward to modern times, Canada failed with trying to decriminalize marijuana.  When Justin Trudeau was elected, he promised that marijuana would become legal.  With various dates being talked about including July 1, 2018; obviously marijuana becoming legal never happened on those dates.  There were still a number of steps to go through before ending the 95-year prohibition.  That's why July 1st never happened.

I don't know how things will work in other provinces, but the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is accepting applications for Wholesale Cannabis Permits/Licensed Producer Registration. Although, Quebec has their own cannabis/marijuana laws. One thing you can't do is sell items with the marijuana leaf on it unless it is government approved.  If you don't see the irony of this, that's on you.

A lot of people are complaining that if retailers sell it, it will be low quality and cheap thus the black market will still thrive for now.  Seems like they are just assuming based on what they think they know.  There will be dispensaries and shops that will open.  But will the various provincial and territorial governments regulate them like government owned liquor stores?  Will they tax it like alcohol?  Earlier this year, Manitoba announced multiple taxes on legal marijuana.


I am not a recreational user of marijuana at all.  Although I tried it once at a Halloween party as I was drunk.  It's like drinking or smoking.  Just because alcohol and cigarettes are legal, it doesn't mean you have to do it.  You don't have to do it.

There are lots of positives to it being legal even if you don't smoke it.  Everything from social, economical, and law enforcement reasons with the exception of driving while under the influence.  With it being legal and taxed, it will bring in extra money for the government to help possibly reduce debt.  If you look at California, marijuana sales top $14 billion annually.  Just think what that can do for Canada.

I could talk about medical marijuana, but that's another post for another time.

If you are recreational user of marijuana, congrats.  Go enjoy marijuana freely as this was a long time coming.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Song of the Day #59

Here is a song from the Calgary rock band Crooked Spies.  I seen them at Vangelis which is now being re-branded and renamed to Black Cat Pizza.  Crooked Spies are so tight.  They are very good.  This song is one of my favourites from them.  I listened all their stuff on Spotify.  I recommend checking them out.


"Full Moon Rising" by Crooked Spies
YouTube link


Friday, February 16, 2018

Lent 2018 - Doing What I've Done Before

Lent 2018 is in full swing.  It started on Valentine's Day.  I haven't done anything for Lent in a few years or so.  It's mainly because I don't know when it starts.  But this year I made the conscious decision to know when it started.  I was debating on if should do something.  Each time I did Lent, I gave up the same thing.  I gave up junk food (pop, chips, candy, ice cream, and even dessert).  I know with me being diabetic, I should not be partaking in these items.  Old habits are hard to break.

I was doing well not eating or drinking these items when I first became diabetic in 2015.  I need to get back to how good I was doing.  I was doing well.  But we all have something we could consider a weakness.  If you say you don't have a weakness, I call bullshit on that.  I got past the first two days.  Although, Valentine's Day, I had some major cravings.  But I've didn't give in.  I found some alternatives in terms of drink options.  Popcorn, whether it is air popped or microwave popcorn, is a great alternative to other snacks.  I'm allowing myself  that.

In these modern times of Christianity, giving up something for Lent is similar to fasting.  It is also a time to reconnect with God.  Or so they say.  I admit I'm bad for connecting with God.  That doesn't make me a bad Christian.  Just because you are more  with God during Lent doesn't make you better than me.  I'm not the perfect Christian and I admit it.  But that will not take away from what I'm doing.

With other people being off social media for the duration of Lent, I have thought to myself that it is cliche.  One could say that what I am doing is cliche.  But if it is for the purpose of riding ourselves of worldly vices or distractions and turning ourselves towards God, than who am I to say anything?  But if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, than maybe you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it.  It seems hollow otherwise.  Sure there are Christians who do it for the wrong reasons.  Not only that, but people who practice "secular Lent" do it for the wrong reasons.  They use Lent or "secular Lent" as a time for self-improvement.  A recent Vox article on "secular Lent" makes great points and explains it well.  It's not about self-improvement.  A lot of people who practice "secular Lent" don't get that.

Sure it's about giving up vices and distractions and connecting with God, but it is also about suffering, mortality, and death.  But the latter three are not as focused on by a lot of people, myself included.  I focus on not trying to give in to my vices.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It would help if you could keep me accountable and not give in to vices.  Temptations are real and even though I've never given into them in the past, that doesn't mean I couldn't lapse and give in this time.  I am human after all.  Those who are giving up a vice or distraction to give up during this season, we are all in this together.  Help keep your fellow Christian accountable if need be.  I wish you well and the best of luck on your journey through Lent.  Godspeed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Day and Single People

Valentine's Day is tomorrow.  Once again, I don't care.  You might call me a hypocrite because I am talking about it.  That's true I guess and I am okay with that.  With that being said, it's not about why people have to do things on Valentine's Day.  I've talked about that in a previous post which you see here.  I am not talking about myself being alone on Valentine's.  I don't care about that.  But as the title of this post says, it's about single people and Valentine's Day.

This post was sparked by my friend, Mark, one day.  I've mentioned him before.  We were talking about relationships and related topics as we do frequently.  He mentioned about being single and Valentine's Day.  It got me thinking that a lot of single people are obsessed with the fact they are alone or hate being alone on Valentine's Day.  Why?  Why is the need to be with someone on Valentine's Day such a big deal for some people?  Do they think they are a loser for being a lone on Valentine's Day?

I've seen posts from people on social media in the past, when they were single or are still single, complaining about being single on Valentine's Day.  I feel like telling them to "STFU."  Sure it's their right to bitch and complain.  It is not going to get you someone any quicker.  But on the off chance you have someone for Valentine's Day, speaking about the chronically single and those who bitch about it, it's not going to make you happier.  I wish I could say it would, but I can't.  You're only temporarily happy because you managed to get a date for Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day is not some cure for being chronically single, loneliness, being unhappy, etc..  You need to fix that stuff yourself.  But the fact you're bothered to the point of obsessing over being alone on Valentine's Day proves you have other issues to work out than this particular day can't fix.

Why is being single any other time of the year not such a bad thing?  Is it the fact you are not getting love and romance?  Is it the fact you don't have someone showering you with gifts?  That's all fine and well I guess.  If that's the only reason you don't like being single on Valentine's Day, you do need to take a hard look at yourself and realize you can get all those things anytime of the year.  There shouldn't be a sense of urgency because society has deemed you need to be with someone on that day and need to exchange gifts.

For myself I don't need gifts even though it's a nice gesture.  I don't need love and romance because it's Valentine's Day.  There are 364 other days for that to happen.  Why is it so hard to treat Valentine's Day as another day if you are single?  I've treated Valentine's as another day for long time.  That won't change when I'm in a relationship.

Mark D. White Ph.D. wrote a piece on PsychologyToday.com in 2012 which confirms what I am thinking and writing about.  You can read the article here.  Basically, the gist of what he is saying is to use the fact you don't have anyone on Valentine's to re-evaluate and reassess how you would go about finding love.  He also said you're not failure for not being with someone on Valentine's Day.

Kristen Mark, Ph.D., M.P.H wrote an article on PsychologyToday.com and has another take.  It's the opposite of wanting to be with someone on Valentine's Day.  You can read the article here.  She says single people shouldn't be pitied because they are single on Valentine's Day.  Although, that might make things worse some people if they are.  She goes on to say she conducted a study that showed that no matter the circumstances surrounding you being single, most of the people that participated in the study don't mind being alone on Valentine's Day.

Regardless, don't dwell on being single on Valentine's Day.  You're not doing yourself any favours.  Just doing you like and again treat it like any other day.

Friday, February 02, 2018

"In All of Us Command" - The Revert of the Canadian National Anthem

Nearly eights ago, I talked about changing a line in the Canadian national anthem.  You can see the post here.  I was against the idea because I saw no point.  As well I thought Stephen Harper was wasting taxpayers money studying the idea.  According to some research, I mistakenly attributed it to Harper, but it was then Governor General Michaëlle Jean who announced a plan in her speech from the throne to have Parliament review the “original gender-neutral wording of the national anthem.”

While doing some research, I found out that the original French version has always remained gender neutral.  It was written and released over 130 years ago in 1880 by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier and and composer Calixa Lavallée and originally entitled "Chant National."  Even the versions by Thomas B. Richardson, Mercy E. Powell McCulloch; Wilfred Campbell, Augustus Bridle, and Ewing Buchan; Robert Stanley Weir, and the other versions written were all gender-neutral.

The version by Weir; a lawyer, recorder, and later a judge wrote his version in 1908.  It was written to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Quebec City.  In 1913, 1914, and 1916; changes were made to the song.  Nobody knows why it was changed to a non-gender neutral version as there is no evidence.  I came across an editorial published on National Post's website in 2016 and penned by Robert Cushman.  You can see it here.  Cushman breaks down the "in all thy sons command" line of the anthem.  He theorizes that Weir made the revision to be with the times.

Thinking about it, why would you need to change it?  Theories aside, was there a point to doing so?  We'll never know as again, there is no evidence to why the change was made.

Even though Weir's version became the official anthem in 1980 as it was widely sung as the main anthem.  After 1939, it became one of the two defacto anthems alongside "God Save the Queen."  It was done so because it was sung in French Canada and the music was heard everywhere else that was English in Canada.

Why has it taken over 110 years to change it back?  But why did it take at 35-40 years for discussion on the discriminatory aspects to start taking place?  According to what I've researched, this discussion came about in the 1950s.  Basically we've had this discussion for at least 60 years.

When Jean announced the review on March 3rd, the public sentiment, myself included, was strongly against changing it back, that two days later they dropped it.  Ironically, my post was two days later.  My ignorance attributed the proposed review to Harper.  I usually try to be thorough and correct with my information.  But even I have moments of slipping up.  Looking back, I feel bad for her.

It has been said that things can change over time.  It is true as I'm okay with the change.  Reverting back to the original words is not such a bad thing.  People have been trying for decades to get it changed back.  Many politicians have tried to introduce similar bills in the past with no such luck.  But with a lot of things, people complain.  Senator Denise Batters is one of them.  Here is her tweet with said complaining.

Here is an awesome response to her that I couldn't have said better myself.


Why does there need to be any discussion?  If you actually look at the original words of any versions including Weir's unrevised original version, you'd know it is gender-neutral.  French Canada, Quebec specifically, is the butt of a lot jokes, but they got this right.  Yes, I again admit I was against changing it the last time it was brought up.  People can change their stance over time.  That's exactly what I did.  If you don't like that's it has been reverted back than too bad.

I get that it will take time to get used to as singing "in all thy sons command" is out of habit.  But if Weir's version that became the official anthem in 1980 wasn't revised than we wouldn't have had at least 60 years of discussions.  This post wouldn't exist.  But the fact is it was.

If you are bitching about parliamentary procedure not happening.  Get over it.  If you're bitching about the fact it's been reverted.  Get over it.  Think about this.  The gender-neutral versions were written during a time when laws were limiting for women.  Revising Weir's gender-neutral version to be gender-specific could be seen as a step back.  Reverting could be seen as the only way to continue to progress forward.