Pubdate: Thu, 13 Dec 2012
Source: Martlet (CN BC Edu)
Copyright: 2012 Martlet Publishing Society
Author: Karlie Banville


Pot Advocate Ted Smith Has High Hopes For The Future

Shortly after his 16th birthday, Leon (Ted) Smith smoked his first
joint. He was on a family vacation in Ontario and joined his cousin
and some of his cousin's friends at a rented fishing cabin. "I
remember feeling quite intoxicated and being intimidated that I had to
go back to supper with my parents completely out of sorts," recalls
Smith in a telephone interview.

Smith was born in the farming community of Monkton, Ont. - population
approximately 540. It was 1985 when Smith smoked his first joint. His
parents didn't approve or partake themselves, although they had close
friends who did.

Smith relocated to Vancouver in 1994, bringing with him his
undergraduate Philosophy degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. He
had written a number of manuscripts that he hoped to publish -
everything from poetry to a philosophy of pessimism. But after seeing
a massive clearcut in Clayoquot Sound, B.C., Smith was pained that
these books would be written on trees that once grew from the ground
in front of him. He discovered shortly thereafter that hemp was an
eco-friendly alternative to tree-based paper, and then learned that
was only one of hemp's many uses.

"And then I went to my first Hempology meeting in Vancouver . . . and
it just seemed to me that someone had to tell the story of this
plant," he says.

In 1995, Smith moved for a final time to Victoria. He lived in his van
and spent his time trying to strike up conversations about hemp and
marijuana reform. While hosting meetings downtown, Smith met Leslie
Davies. Davies volunteered within the AIDS community by baking
brownies and cookies that contained marijuana. Ted observed that
Davies' marijuana cookies did more than just give people the munchies.

"[Those people] stabilized, they felt better, they put on weight, they
went back to work." says Smith. In collaboration with Davies, Smith
established the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada in 1996.

The club is a non-profit organization that provides marijuana to
approximately 4 500 people with various ailments and disabilities.
Smith says the club has saved, extended and improved the lives of many.

Smith also established Hempology 101, a not-for-credit course at UVic,
in 2005. Between 150-200 students have gone through the lecture series
since its inception. Smith now has a textbook to accompany his
lectures that came out this past summer - one that he says was 17
years in the making.

Hempology 101: The History and Uses of Cannabis Sativa comprehensively
outlines marijuana and hemp use in the past and details the plant's
place in our future.

Smith believes that Canada could see legalization soon after the next
election, provided the Conservative Party loses. Smith believes a
possible private member's bill from Elizabeth May, along with the
support of other left and centre parties, will bring the end of
marijuana prohibition to Canada.

The recent legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado brings
hope to Smith. He says America no longer has the moral authority, and
there's no reason for them to lock up the border if Canada legalizes
marijuana. Smith asserts we will see the end of prohibition in his
lifetime. "And likely a lot sooner," he says. 
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