Article by James Longshore Creator of James Bone
High Canada! My name is James Longshore, and I’m the creator of James Bong: Cannabis Crusader, the fun comic you’ll ind within the very pages of this magazine! I have been a cannabis crusader since I was 16, and have lived in al
l kinds of cannabis jurisdictions, from scoring as a teenager, to having a Dr.’s tell me why “weed” is a “bad drug”. In France, you are not allowed to depict the leaf visually, even though France actually has a higher per capita rate of consumption than the Netherlands, 43.5 to 35.6. You still smell it everywhere on the street and in parks.
So it was a pleasure and relief to experience what I call the Can-Can Scene, Canadian Cannabis, for the first time when High! Canada hosted me as a guest at the recent industry event LIFT in Toronto. This was my
first exposure to the Canadian Cannabis Community, which is quickly becoming the most progressive on the planet, and is being watched with rapt attention by the rest of the world as Canada moves toward full legalization. A market that is poised to explode.
So what did I see? What I saw was a lot of excitement, of people proud to be a part of the movement, and passionate about what they’re doing and excited to watch the community cultivate it’s harvest. People like John from Medtainer and Mary of Mary’s Wellness Infused Teas. These are motivated people! It completely disproves the stereotypical image of the useless stoner who gets the munchies and sinks into the couch, although I did hear a lot of “Yeahhh….let’s not smoke an indica right now.”
The casualness and respectful nature of the attitude towards the leaf is refreshing and necessary. I saw a lot of innovation in consumption and services, and a lot of compassion towards patients and their needs. Everybody was very careful to refer to their cannabis as their “meds”. Plus, so much sharing! Sharing Is Caring. And in Toronto, you have places like Planet Paradise Vape Lounge, that lives up to it’s name, and friendly budtender Spliffs Mackenzie, with healthy drinks and all the candy classics you could want and smoking utensils and a pleasant atmosphere. We don’t have places like this in California. I would never walk in a bar if I could just sit at vape lounges and smoke socially. It’s way preferable to finding a dark corner, shady tree, or just walking around.
But we still have a long fight, an uphill battle. For example, one colleague and new friend of mine was ejected from a bar for having his meds with him. I heard a lot of the debate between freedom and regulation, and heard the stories of the raids and corruption. While taxing and creating a restricted market much like alcohol and tobacco is a good business model, we still fundamentally need to change the stigma, with informed education about the benefits of the plant and the
proper application of it’s effects, and that functioning while under its effects is a personal responsibility. I believe in the freedom of the individual, from home grower to boutique cultivator to make his o
wn choices about his distribution and consumption, and as long as we have the stigma attached to it, we will never truly be free. That’s why if the government doesn’t do it, we the people must. This is
why I make James Bong, inspired by stories from the legalization movement, because I still believe in the power of story telling and that showing his adventures in a fun, mainstream format like comic books, with relatable characters, could go a long way towards changing the perceptions.
Remember, Nietzche said there are no universal values. I am reminded of how a police officer in France responded to my wife when my wife was defending a suspected hash dealer, w
ho was a neighbor of ours, as a nice guy. The officer said “Well, even nice people can do bad things.“ It’s like, but bad in whose estimation, because in some places it’s not bad, it’s perfectly legal. So it just goes to show that it is just a matter of choice and agreement and respect. This is how I hope The Canadian Cannabis Community will move forward as we march towards legalization.
We also have to remember that legalization will affect many things politically and socially and there is chaos ahead, especially with each province calling their own shots. It will affect things from population movement to funding for services to the environment, and we must maintain personal responsibility and stay cool as infused cucumbers, especially to honor our fallen heroes, like M.E. Woodside, devoted member of the HIGHCanada Team, who sadly left us shortly after I had just met her at LIFT!
I would like to Thank everyone who helped get me there, like Cy Williams and Randy McBride of Potlinks, and John from Medtainer and Sensi Seeds, and welcomed me with open arms, like everyone at the HIGH !Canada Team – Rick, Simone, Janine, Kai Turriic of The Session, Eva of Eva’s Delicacies, and of course our dearly beloved M.E. I hope to return soon and cantribute what I cannabis to this historical paradise.
If you would like to contribute to The James Bong Crusade and receive perks like limited edition posters or full comics, go to www.tipeee.com/james-bong
Also, to learn more about the James Bong Universe, go to www.wayofthebong.com
Finding a dark corner, shady tree, or walking
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