Article by Scott Johnstone, Lift News
The road to legalization has been long, winding, and fraught with roadblocks, potholes, and the occasional downed tree. In honour of Canada Day 150, the folks at Lift recently decided it was high time to revisit the adventure with a cross-Canada road map of landmarks and milestones, from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia.
The first stop in our virtual road-trip:
Sunshine Coast, BC
In 1969 the United States government started conscripting random Americans by draft lottery, forcing them overseas to fight in the Vietnam War. With anti-war sentiments running high, many of those random Americans opted instead to rebuke their conscription orders and to seek refuge in other countries.
The result for Canada was an influx of progressive thinkers, freshly influenced by the social movements of the ‘60s. Many settled along the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia and, like any rational person starting a new life incognito would, started growing massive amounts of weed.
It’s widely held that the proliferation of cannabis we enjoy today is owed largely to the draft dodgers who revolutionized the reefer farming industry in western Canada during the ‘70s, making the Sunshine Coast a perfect first stop on the pilgrimage.
Home to the Lift Cannabis headquarters, Toronto also boasts the first public storefront dispensary in all of Canada, C.A.L.M., which first opened its doors in 1996. Although it has opened and closed many times since then, including a recent move to a secret location known only to its members, its original location in Church Street Village makes for a fundamental stop in any historic cannabis road trip.
Before heading to the coast, the first stop in the Maritimes is the Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, which is working with licensed producer Organigram to establish cannabis farming courses in community colleges in Moncton and Campbellton. The program promises to be the first of its kind to specialize in training for enterprise-scale production environments, and hopes to provide a labour force to help producers meet the demand in Canada’s upcoming legal recreational market.
Annapolis Royal, NS
The entire history of cannabis in Canada is rooted in Nova Scotia.
In the year 1606 the very first hemp crops in North America were planted in Annapolis Royal, then known as ‘Port Royal, Acadia’, by French botanist Louis Hebert. (Thanks, Louis! Sorry our forebears made such a mess of it…)