This entry opens on a somber notice, and then moves up in degrees of positivity and uplifting news. Hang in there.
Is Canada about to Decriminalize Drugs?
Opioid Poisoning Crisis in Toronto – Update [NOVEMBER 5, 2020]
While there has been a decrease in calls to Toronto Paramedic Services during the pandemic, there has been an overall increase in calls resulting in fatalities. Paramedic data reveals that 132 people died of suspected opioid overdoses between April 1 and September 30, 2020, a near doubling of deaths compared to a two-year average of 67 fatal suspected opioid overdoses for the same period in 2018/2019. July and September 2020 also both saw the highest monthly number of fatal calls (27) attended by paramedics since September 2017. Read the full notice here.
The statistics above are frightening, and our health care system doesn’t have solutions for the increase in overdoses and deaths related to substance use. Bolstered by a growing body of research and a greater acceptance of cannabis for recreation and medicine, psychedelics are experiencing a renaissance as voters and lawmakers rethink the so-called war on drugs.
When voters in Washington, D.C., passed Initiative 81 on Nov. 3, their counterparts in Oregon approved a ballot initiative to legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in therapeutic settings and decriminalize all drugs.
Canada may not be far behind. The Canadian Minister of Health recently granted permission to six terminally ill patients to use psilocybin to treat end-of-life anxiety, but this week the first non-palliative patient got that same exemption to treat depression.
Early Monday morning, we read the news that Toronto’s board of health is recommending that the federal government decriminalize all drugs in hopes that this will help curb the death toll. Later in the week, Vancouver. In the spirit of working towards a more sensible, compassionate and people-first approach to drug policy, these are the stories we will be following closely in the coming weeks.
A Visit to Agripharm : Go Slow to Go Fast
This week, we were treated to a mid-week visit to Agripharm in Creemore, Ontario. Amazing what a laugh-filled drive to the country does for one’s mental health.
Agripharm is a licenced manufacturer of consumer cannabis products with expertise in both cultivation and processing. Since 2013, Agripharm has been on the frontier of the Canadian cannabis industry, producing a range of products using various practices and technologies. Owner and CEO, Peter Miller tells us that he still has the first bud from Agripharm’s first harvest. It moves with him each time he shifts offices in Agripharm’s impressive shipping container complex.
The modular block of shipping container is contained within a larger building that still features the ultimate in Canadian cannabis history: the first ever cannabis vault. The walls are still seismically activated (“Don’t knock too hard, Alex”) but now that the regulations don’t require cannabis stores to be held in high-security vaults, Argipharm’s holds C-Vaults full of distillates, plus the company’s servers. Musing about the decision to build a reasonable-sized vault, compared to the $1M vaults competitors built, Miller, who seems to have a notable quote for everything, simply says “Go slow to go fast.” And the tour moves on.
Would you believe that behind each door of this structure, there is a different job being performed? Behind door number one, we have Lemon Skunk being grown. Behind door number two, a CO2 extractor. Open door number three is a team assembling pre-roll packaging. Another has the excise stamp team, and one more with some hash coins. We could have spent all day exploring like this, but we had to let Peter go eventually.
Thankfully, not before he regaled us with an amazing story of cannabis persecution (not his!) in the US that led to a beautiful business partnership for which Agripharm is currently creating CBD distillate for a collaboration with an upcoming kombucha beverage—another thing we got to sneak a peek at! One thing this trip really impressed upon us is the importance of creating long-lasting strategic relationships in any heavily regulated and quickly changing landscape.
It was a pleasure to see such a passionate and involved CEO speak so modestly and yet confidently about his company’s accomplishments… refreshing and truly inspiring change from the office-bound CEOs. Peter isn’t afraid to touch plants! His intuition, along with his amazing, long-standing business relationships is the secret sauce that keeps Agripharm on the cutting edge. The product that got really got our mouths watering were these golden medallions of rosin hash.
While we were at Agripharm, we saw the wonderful Mika Untermann, who we have actually been talking to on a weekly basis, working semi-clandestinely on a non-profit collaborative initiative that we are ready to debut—Diversiphy.
JEDI Warriors Amplifying Diversity in Psychedelic Spaces
Diversiphy is a group of like-minded folks dedicated to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the psychedelics movement. Check out the brand new website created for us by our friends at Boomer Brand Management.
Our mission is to amplify voices and experiences of systematically discriminated against individuals and groups in the Psychedelics space.
We hope to be one of several exemplary (non-performative) groups upholding the values of community, inclusivity and equity in psychedelic spaces. We’re here for the story, not for the glory! 🔊
In keeping with the mycelial-esque networking style of the psychedelics community, we invite reciprocal participation and learning. We’re keen to have others involved in our mission:
1: Visit the Diversiphy.ca website to learn about what we are doing
2: Get involved with one of our community-building activities such as:
- Roundtable Discussions
- Sign up for our Speakers Database or nominate your peers
- Community to CEO discussions
- Tell us about upcoming events that could use a hand with getting diversified
Learn more and see how you can get in touch to get involved.