Originally published on Canlio

These are without question exciting times to be in the cannabis industry in Canada. Actually, it is beyond exciting. It is nerve wracking, roller-coaster riding, nail biting and downright heart attack inducing for past, present, and future cannabis folks. For some it is change they thought would never come and it is celebratory. For some this change is scary. For others it is the beginning of a new chapter where dreams could be fulfilled or destroyed. It will require nerves of steel and the will of giants.

It is more important now than ever that we tell our stories: who we are, what we are doing and why we are doing it. I have long believed that cannabis farmers were the last pioneers, aside from space travellers. I think most would agree with me. The reasons we need to tell these stories are many.

Firstly, we need to communicate to the policy makers and politicians who we are, and how the changes might impact our lives.

Secondly, we need to put faces to the industry, as this humanizes something that most Canadians are not familiar with at all. I know there are some incredibly beautiful, good people currently working with cannabis. Canadians need to meet you.

This leads me to the third reason. If Canadians do not know your stories, your stories are told for you. In other words, when the media gets the facts wrong or skews them or sensationalizes them, this is what Canadians will believe, as they know no different. In the same vein, it is important to speak truthfully and with integrity. When falsehoods are shared, when sensational quotes are repeated, when media darlings spout overblown pontifications for the sake of their own media darlingishness, we lose credibility.

I occasionally run into a local photographer who is on staff for a newspaper that has a seriously negative view of all things cannabis. We always talk about the angle the newspaper takes and how we could overcome some of their reefer madness. He has repeatedly said to me he needs the pictures to show the real stories. I hope in the near future we will be able to make that happen.

Finally I would like to relate a story some of you might be familiar with that illustrates the power of personal testament. In her speech to the UNGASS Assembly at the United Nations on April 20, 2015, Health Minister Jane Philpott said the following:

“A few weeks ago, in preparation for this event, I met with a group of NGOs in Ottawa. There were lawyers, doctors and highly articulate activists. But the most powerful voice of all belonged to a mother. She was there to tell the story of her young daughter, who lost her life due to complications of substance use. She described watching her daughter slip away as she struggled to access the treatment and services that may have saved a beautiful, fragile life.”

This story was in reference to the meeting my friend Donna D May had with Minister Philpott. Donna’s daughter died of an opiate overdose. Donna is one of the bravest and most wonderful women I know. Telling her story will save lives in the future.

So it is time to tell our stories, in our own words, with integrity and truth and the hearts of lions. A handwritten letter carries more weight and is more likely to be read than any other form of correspondence to decision makers, which is why we are creating this unique presentation. It is also faster and much less expensive, and longer lasting than a twenty minute meeting. Please consider participating in the project, we don’t have a lot of time.

The Stories Project

The “Stories” project is launching and we would like to hear from as many of you as possible. Politicians and policy makers need to hear our stories, written by us. They need to hear how being in the cannabis industry as a medicine-maker, cultivator, trimmer, ancillary business-owner/employee, teacher, or advocate, has contributed to our lifestyle, well-being, financial security, and sense of self. The priority would be to show that if the new regulations might exclude people such as ourselves, how that might impact your life. A sincere, hand-written, one to three page letter with or without your name would be very impactful. We will be compiling and sharing these “Stories” with many of the politicians and policy makers who are going to be making the decisions that will impact our lives in the future.

I am hopeful many of you will participate in this project. These are incredibly important times and your stories are more important now than ever.

Please mail to:
c/o The Green Ceiling
1625 Quadra St.
Victoria, B.C.
V8W 2L5
Deadline is July 30th 2015

Republished with permission from Canlio.