Article by Debi Facey, High! Canada
Embracing who we are; what we stand for and the changes that need to happen. Every individual involved in making a change is in some way affected by their beliefs, morals and/or ethics.
The LGBTQ community has been creating their pathway in the world especially in Toronto for the last 36 years from “Operation Soap” in 1981, the right to marry in 2005 to representing the world in 2014, and finally receiving an apology from Mark Saunders on behalf of the Toronto Police in 2016. The community will continue to educate, advocate and celebrate their culture, rights, acknowledgement and future.
When it comes to the Cannabis community, it was unfortunately given a title or better yet class that never suited its purpose. For the last 19 years, we have grown from the miniature rally at Queens Park to being known to have one of the largest Cannabis Parade/Event in Canada in 2010, to the present day of recovering from the project Claudia raid in 2016, to now being awaiting our legalization. Our education, advocating and our continuation to celebrate endorses our future success. As different as we are on paper, we have traits that we share. Our communities intertwine with our choice to stand out, to be proud and to conquer the obstacles that stand in our way. We challenge the governments with the facts; we prove our individuality through expression and will always respect the respected. Every July, Toronto breaks out in rainbows, laughter and harmony through exhibitions, events, conferences, marches and a parade finally. In 1982, the first pride picnic was organized; it was to de-confuse the residents of the neighbourhood which in their minds, thought their “presence” were “confusing their children”.
In 1991, the first parade we held was proclaimed by the city. In 1995, the parade grew to the extent of being not only the largest ever or having politicians/public figures show up but it was the children of all ages who began to become exposed and supporting.
The Cannabis community in Toronto has had its up’s and down’s and continues to hope to finally be taken seriously. From being banned in 1923, to regulated cannabis becoming legal in 2001; it was almost decriminalized, but failed in 2003. Stephan Harper announced his “anti-drug strategy “in 2007 which ended dying in 2009. Currently, we are getting ready for the big July 1st legalization Justin Trudeau announced on April 13th. As we wait, the industry has expanded with connecting licensed producers to local clinics creating easier access for patients to obtain, expanded by hosting a variety of educational conferences, expos and events while the planning and organizing the annual global marijuana march the May 1st weekend.
Coming out, transitioning and questioning are phases that some may go through before their completely whole. Its amazing how far the acceptance has come from others but for one coming out has been but, it may not be so easy themselves. The services the LGBTQ community has truly focused on is their mental health and well being. Reducing the number of self- inflicted fatalities within the community has been a battle due the lack of outside support, acceptance and guidance. Currently, Toronto provides a variety of services and resources to help with the process and ensures that help will be provided in any way possible.
Cannabis and mental health are practically best friends. Medication has been the solution when it comes to most of our mental health issues to date. To struggle with a mental illness is hard. The services provided in our city allows for many to be able to seek immediate help and or counselling.
Cannabis has been proven to assist in depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction. Both communities have members who suffer from a struggle and where their prior solutions weren’t working nor healthy. Our medical professionals haven’t been convinced enough for it to be used as an alternative to medication but with our strive to take care of one another, we are obtaining greater ways to assist with both our personal shames and stability.
Our communities tend to accept the unchangeable laws in the system but only end up striving to create new appropriate ones to add. Our city demonstrates the will to keep on trend with the pace of our steps as we venture for greater, better and more successful ways to extend our growth.