Monday, 25 July 2016

The Squeaky Wheel



I've been emailing and blogging to my parliamentary reps
and my mayor for months now.

I wasn't sure if they were reading,
I wasn't sure if they were annoyed.

But I'm an over-communicator so that's what I do.
Well guess what?  That's what they want us to do!

I just got off the horn with my MPP Sophie Kiwala's office.
She appreciates my input and is asking for more.

If you're not in the cannabis law reform movement, it may as
well be a cult.  Media separates the users as though we're a different
people.

But we're not. We are one. Unite!

Our reps love, feel loss, hope for the future too.

It would truly suck to be the leader hearing silence behind you.

This symbiotic relationship needs both of us to come to work,
to listen and learn, and to feel what each of us feels.

We are all crucial spokes in the wheel of legalization.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease ....

Raise your squeak, we can't hear you yet!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Cannabinology: A New Medical Specialty?



There's some bitterness towards the white coats of late,
I have felt it, written about it, let it burn in my gut.

But these days I've been assessing things a bit more.  I've been
looking at things through their eyes, and I've been lucky
enough to meet a few docs who are as thirsty for knowledge
as I am.

For instance, my prescribing doctor asked me how to turn buds into oil.

He asked me the entire process of decarboxylating the THC, the temps,
the times, the oils I use .... this all happened AFTER he legalized me for
one full year at 3 grams a day.

He then asked about ABV cannabis (abv=already been vaped).

He said he had just been at a conference where they were
discussing it.  So there I went on a shpeal about using every
bit that you can, in tree-hugging waste-not-want-not fashion.

That one doctor, and my own GP who said "he thinks he'll learn a
lot from me", have instilled hope in me that healers do still exist.

I have three healers now. One is green and two are not.  But
that doesn't make them any less awesomely shamanic to me.

And I now completely understand why my young general practitioner
"wasn't comfortable recommending medical marijuana to me at this time".

He knows NOTHING about cannabis other than what yours truly has printed
out and given to him to read.

Him signing for me would have been like the plumber signing my electrical
ticket on my word alone.

Most white-coats work a lot of hours.  They got a lotta bills.
That white coat wasn't cheap.

So when are they supposed to learn about cannabinoid medicine?

Maybe they don't need to after all.

Maybe we just need specialists and to give an overall knowledge course
on the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid medicine in med school.

Not every doc knows how to treat cancer, there are oncologists.
Not every doc knows how to treat the digestive system, there are gastroenterologists.
Not every doc knows how (or should even try) to treat mental illness, there is psychiatry
and psychotherapists.

See what I mean?

Do we want to muddie the knowledge?

I think Cannabinoid Therapy deserves its own specialty.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Canada Post Strike Profits Street Dealers



Many thousands of Canadians get their medicinal cannabis through the mail these days, and this
Canada Post strike has been a hot-topic.  My experience with CP has been shitty to say the least and so I really didn't think Purolator could be much worse.  But I spoke too soon.

I sit today, day three of waiting for my cannabis to be delivered by Purolator.  I ordered Saturday and the shipping label was created Monday.  My sweet buds of medicine have been "In Transit" since mid-Monday.  It's now late Wednesday.

Here's the issue:  Purolator, unlike Canada Post offers seven levels of priority that you can request and of course pay extra for.  That's seven choices above the standard shipping choice I chose on Saturday.  At that time, I could have raised my shipping rate from $10 to $30 for a package weighing less than a pound.  But I didn't because I didn't know I had to.  None of us did.

Of course Purolator has a handy tracking system that for me and my order, is stuck at "In Transit" and the last time it was logged in was Monday when it "arrived at sort facility" in Toronto.  My big fear is that it sits there with all of its buddies waiting for a ride home.  I bet they stink up the place too, stinky little trichome-coated flowers.  I'm afraid that these packages of factory-grown cannabis have been set aside as low-priority and will stay that way until Purolator gets caught up.

I feel that once again medicinal cannabis users have been left in the dark.

I wonder when the great minds at Health Canada considered the impact of the Canada Post strike on patients in the MMPR, did they consider how those seven priority shipping levels would effect us? That means that seven other groups of packages are taking priority over ours.  Likely Am@zon orders for all we know, while orders carrying medicinal cannabis sit and wait like hopeful passengers on the last-minute seat-sale list.

All they told us was to expect delays.  What did that mean?  Stock up?  How are we supposed to legally stock up to avoid delays in delivery when our medicine is only legal when delivered by mail?

This is medicine!!!  This is REPLACING pharmaceuticals for almost every one in the program.  If we all had to buy our meds online, I would imagine Health Canada would be forewarning patients to priority post their orders so they don't miss any doses.  At least that would have been the responsible thing to do.

Thanks Health Canada for misinforming us all again.  Thanks for allowing the Licensed Producers to decide on their own which courier companies they'll use, effectively creating such a huge increase of volume for some, that this headache occurs.  Thanks for not recognizing this as medicine though you allow LP's to export to countries who do.

The MMPR is an effort at control without the foresight of effective construct or regulation.  I sit here at 4 pm wondering if the big red and white truck will come to my building before 5 pm.  Or will I have to step once again into my criminal skin and call my buddy to help me out?  This strike is going to profit the street dealers, the very people regulation is supposed to starve.

Safe access?   Try no access or .... lost in the mail.

Shipping Review: Bedrocan vs. MedReleaf



Last week I received my first order of medical cannabis from Medreleaf out of Markham, Ontario. My previous and first licensed producer was bedrocan out of Toronto.  The switch was quite easy .  I became legal with the help of a cannabis clinic called Canna Connect, and both Medreleaf and Bedrocan are sponsors of that clinic.  All I had to do was email head office and request the change, and it was taken care of for me.

One of the main issues I have with this mail-order medicine program is security.  How do these LP's ensure that your medicine is secure while it's being shipped to you?  Is the packaging discreet?  Is the packaging scent-proof?  Is the sender info visual?  How durable is the packaging?  And finally, how durable are the actual bottles that the cannabis comes in?  These are all valid questions and I'd like to compare these two LP's in hopes of finding best practices for future shipments across the board.

Discretion:

Bedrocan:  boxes were in a thick Canada Post shipping bag, so there were no visual indicators as to what was inside.

MedReleaf:  packaged in a sturdy, generic-looking cardboard box, so there were also no visual indicators as to what was inside.

Scent-Proof:

Bedrocan:  the first time I picked up my Bedrocan order and jumped in the car, my hubby could smell the Cannabis through the plastic jars with foil seal, heavy stock paper boxes, and the shipping bag over top.

MedReleaf:  today's order from MedReleaf had no odor whatsoever.

Sender Info:

Bedrocan:  the shipping label clearly reads "Canopy" and anyone with access to google can learn who that is.  Canopy Growth Corp, formerly known as Tweed is a sister company to Bedrocan.  That is not very discreet.

MedReleaf: P.O. Box # as the return label.

Package Durability:

Bedrocan:  lovely aesthetically-pleasing heavy stock paper boxes, with little to no durability.  Many times in the five orders I received, there was a lot of room for the jars to knock together.  This resulted in a lot of shake in the bottom of the jars.  It wouldn't be difficult to crush the bottles within if the package were to fall off a cart in the sorting station and were run over.

MedReleaf:  jars were inside a clear, thick plastic bag, inside a heavy durable card-board box surrounded by large sized bubble wrap to avoid any movement.  That box had security tape around all openings.  It would be very difficult to crush the bottles within.

Security of Bottles:

Bedrocan:  Plastic #1 bottles with a foil seal and a child-proof lid.

MedReleaf:  Plastic #5 bottles with no inside seal but with plastic seal wrap around edges, and
a child-proof lid.



All-in-all, I'm blown away by the superior shipping quality of MedReleaf vs. Bedrocan.  It seems that looks are more important to Bedrocan than durability.  I can tell you from a patient's view, I don't much care what the box looks like, as long as it's recyclable.  I get that marketing is important, but getting the product to us and into our vaporizers, crock pots, or doobies should really be everyone's first priority.


ADDED AS PROOF IN RESPONDING TO COMMENT BELOW:



UPDATE:   Since the writing of this blog, bedrocan has started shipping in the identical 'Uniline' box as MedReleaf and they now only state "47 Upton Rd., Scarborough ON". They have also improved the seals on their bottles as I assume mine wasn't the only order to smell. So good on them.  I'm just comparing in hopes of best practices in this program.  Many many boxes have gone missing in sorting stations and on delivery routes. So far, the LP's have been good to cover the loss. But even "47 upton rd" isn't unknown to someone in the know.




Tuesday, 12 July 2016

My Mail-Order Cannabis is Lost in the Mail .... Again.



We really need storefronts, even ones selling LP cannabis.

Soon I hope, it will be just another way to buy your plant.

My legal medicinal cannabis is sweating its trichs off as we speak,
jostling around in the back of the courier truck.

I ordered Saturday. I thought I had enough time.
I always think I have enough . . . . . .

This has to stop guys.

Hey, all you current and past antidepressant users:
imagine that you had to order your meds a few days in advance
and that you had to wait around all day for days afterwards just
to be sure you don't miss that delivery.

Imagine knowing that you're gonna get the dt's. That's a great
feeling, isn't it? Like waiting for the nightmare to begin.
Cuz we all know what happens when you miss a dose
or a day of doses of any medication.

Now, missing doses of cannabis doesn't really leave us with
dt's. But it's the moments without that show you how valuable
this plant's medicine is.

Stress and worry brings the negative bias out.
Stress and worry brings the stomach juices out.
Stress and worry brings the krakken out.

If Medreleaf had a storefront in town, I could walk over right now.

This is not safe access.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Non-Adherence to Employment Standards Harms the Economy


I'm a call-taker at a local taxi company.  I get 32 hours every weekend.  Last Friday, I woke to a spinning room and called in to see if anyone could cover that shift.  The acting office manager returned my call saying she covered that shift and covered my Saturday and Sunday shifts as well. Apparently, my employer feels that they have the right to do this, though employment standards disagrees.  I begged for those hours back, guaranteeing I would be able to come in, to no avail.

Because of this, my pay was short.  Because of that my rent was short.  Now I'm sure one late tenant will not bankrupt Homestead, but as you can see, an employer's non-adherence to the labor laws affects more than just the employees.

Ontario's Employment Standards operate on a complaint basis.  There is no oversight to ensure hard-working employees are treated fairly and lawfully.  Instead, adherence is only enforced if and when an employee files a complaint.  The complaint process is anything but simple and almost always ends with the employee being fired, though the law disagrees with that as well.

The problems are many, and like many other problems, they are due to lack of education.  Most employees don't know the standards, most managers don't know the standards, and most employers don't know that the standards apply to them.  Labor laws are what separate Canada from countries where employees have no rights, and yet they seem to be optional here.

One would assume that upon starting a business, a person would have to educate themselves on all things lawful in business.  But they don't.  It seems that anyone can be a manager these days.  It takes no training to manage others day in and day out?

So why is the employer more important to law-makers than the employee?  We are the many.  We are the front line of their business responsible for the day-to-day transactions with their loyal patrons. We're not important enough for oversight?

What happens is a lot like parenting.  As an employee you choose your battles.  I work 12 hour shifts and I should by law get two un-paid half hour breaks and two paid 15 minute breaks.  But I don't.  I get one paid half hour break and the ability to get up and go to the loo when I want.  And that's it.
I choose my battles because it could be worse elsewhere.  Isn't that a sad state of affairs?

So while many of us stretch paychecks to make ends meet, we're too often faced with less than we're due.  How many rent or mortgage payments are late or low because of broken employment standards?  How much credit card interest is tacked on because we can't make the full payment each month?  How many medications are rationed because we can't afford the whole month's pills?  How many purchases are not made because employers are breaking laws and effecting your income to build up their own?  The answer is, "far too many".  Far too many of us have employers who don't know the law and if they do know it, they don't follow it.  And the ministry has no idea.  The only way they'd know, is if I or YOU voice these facts.  The shunning of employment law is hindering our precious economy.  And we're letting it happen.

Is employment standards a worthlessly inefficient and ineffective ministry?  Yes in my opinion it is. The entire program relies on self-regulation, and we all know how well that works for the people.  In true blog form, I have no answers to give, I'm only hear to tell my tale.  But as I sit here and mentally prepare myself to go to into this hell-hole, I just keep thinking . . . . . . .

....this is Canada ... we are more than this!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Thoughts on Police Shootings



Melancholy flows through me today, leaking down my cheeks.

It's that feeling of defeat.
. . . . that feeling of helplessness.
 . . . . . . . . . . . that feeling of giving in.

Powerlessness is my kryptonite, the one thing that keeps me down.

From here, I feel impotent to act.
I can only post hashtags of #peace ... hashtags of #equality.

In full transparency, I feel it all.

I feel the rage that pulled those triggers,
I feel the angst that fueled that wrath.

But from here in Canada, I also feel like hiding, like ignoring, like waiting for it to be over.

And I could do that.  I still could.   But I can't.

My family watched "The Help" at Xmas with my 12 year old niece.

We paused it many times to explain this racism thing, explaining it in full and honest detail.

We felt we could be direct with her because racism is a part of our past.

We've once again proven that it's very much alive in 2016.

New hashtag . . . .  #PrayingForPeace


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

My Request to My MPP to Announce Bill 12: Protecting Employees' Tips Act


Attn Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands:

Hi there,

Below is a link to the announcement of a very important bill that effects servers and bartenders in our awesome city.  A friend of mine has worked at a very popular and long-standing restaurant on Princess street for many years.  According to my friend and others who have worked there, every single server agrees to pay 1% of total sales in cash to the owner each shift.  Cash means there's no record of that transaction.  My friend estimates she's given up thousands of dollars to her employer over the years.  The reason given is as insurance for possible dine & dash incidents and for breakage of plates and glasses.  This is a VERY common practice all over Kingston and all over Ontario and has been for years and years.

As of June 10th, this practice is illegal.  They can require you tip-out to co-workers, but they can
no longer take money from you for what is deemed as 'business expenses'.

But does anyone know this?  Have the servers been paying this every shift since June 10th?  Do the restaurant owners who do this, know that it's now illegal?  Or is the entire thing at the discretion of the employee to report any incidents to employment standards, risking their job status?

Here is an announcement from a group called "Restaurants Canada", but does anyone really
read those announcements let alone follow them?  Were business-owners notified by any governmental agencies about this huge change?

I think you should make an announcement Sophie.  Our city thrives because of our servers and bartenders ... the heart of our incredible and world-renowned food and beverage industry.  They
work incredibly hard serving the every whim of tourists and locals, solidifying Kingston's reputation as a great place to vacation on Lake O.  They deserve our support and they deserve every penny of gratuity that they receive.

In my opinion, it's shameful that servers and bartenders get paid less than minimum wage.  Being paid a fair wage should not be dependent on the customer.  So, the fact that some also have to give up a portion to pay for the "business needs" of their place of employment is asinine to me.

I hope you consider making an announcement to inform all of those involved.  In reality, informing the business-owners now will prevent the on-flux of employment standards claims we're surely going to see.

Thanks for hearing me out Sophie ... Kingston and area is lucky to have you!

Friday, 1 July 2016

TD Bank Funds Assault Rifle Manufacturers


Around the time of the Wall Street protests, there began a big push all over social media to leave your bank and join a credit union.  I was with TD at the time.  When I got to the counter and told the smiling clerk that I wanted to close my account, she just nodded and punched the keyboard.  I was so nervous.  I almost lost my courage to give her the shpeal, until an older man beside me asked to close his account as well.  I took that as a sign, and, with shaking voice I told the poor teller something like "I am closing down my account in protest of the poor practices and gross capitalism of TD."  I had rehearsed it as I walked across the field to the bank that day, feeling like maybe I could be a droplet in the ocean who's tiny waves push change.

The next day I joined a local credit union where a portion of my initial deposit purchased a certain number of stocks therein.  I now own a wee minuscule portion of my bank.  My fees are about a third what they were.  I was given overdraft of $500, and they helped me re-establish my credit rating.

I knew TD was evil like the others, pissing and moaning about potential losses and then suddenly posting massive profits.  I knew that they all profit from our need.  Our monthly shortfalls becoming their bread n' butter.  One transaction fee at a time.  But I had no idea that they were this evil.

I learned this today with my niece when we walked downtown.  There was one lone man educating people about this in front of the TD Bank.  (Brave~ you'd never do that in the U.S.)  My niece is a curious 13 and a nosey people watcher so she wanted to know what it was about too.  It seems that Toronto Dominion Bank led the pack in a June 2015 deal that gave up to $280 million in loans to the gun-maker Smith & Wesson.  These maniacs and feeders to the NRA, are the same gun maker that supplied far too many of the recent mass shootings.  And for those of you who believe some of those were staged, that matters none.  These rifles were used, means nothing to me who uses them.

And I'm not here to demand that any of you surrender your weapons.  I know there's a purpose for guns.  I grew up in a major hunting community.  My father owned guns, though he didn't use them much.  I had horses and believe you me, if any animal had threatened them I would not have hesitated to act.  I don't even have a problem with handguns when they're purchased properly.  But there is no purpose for any citizen to own or need an assault rifle in my opinion.  Their entire purpose is to annihilate their target.  These guns were made for war.  Regulation has to tighten in my opinion, and for my American readers, I know your 2nd Amendment is in your DNA and I respect that.  But even that mentions a "well regulated militia".

Here's the thing with me, you may be like this too.  There are very few things that I can control nowadays.  My word, my actions, and how I spend my money.  Our dollar is our voice.  For instance, I refuse to buy anything apple because of how they treat their employees.  I refuse to buy anything JoeFresh because of the poor Bangledeshi women who were crushed to death a few years ago, who's family got zero compensation.  I now refuse to drink Starbucks after they recently came out in full support of Mons*nto's fight against GMO labeling.  If I had time, I'd give you all links for these examples, but I don't have time.  My point is, where you bank is included in that little bit of power you have.  Use it.  Own stocks in your bank! Pay fewer frikken fees!  All credit unions offer similar products as banks and all report to credit bureaus so it's truly a win-win for you.  I just find that at my credit union, my detriment is their concern, not how they profit.

As the fellow activist I met today implied with his hand-made sign, TD is a BLOODBANK.
When I mentioned the possibility of blogging about this he looked skeptical.  Not all do this for fun I guess :-)  I gave him a card so he can check me out though and perhaps he would oblige us with even more info about this disgusting revelation in the comments below.

You put your hard earned money into a big bank and they use it for whatever purpose they see fit.  If
that matters to you, switch to a credit union.  Your dollar is your voice.