cannabis-310x232Hmm, odd linkage perhaps? Here’s the connection: The intention driving the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference (Vancouver, Oct. 24, 25) is to provide a container and a community to deepen and extend knowledge and practice with entheogenic medicines for individual and collective healing and consciousness transformation. One of those medicines is cannabis. Although the herb is not being addressed directly by any of the presenters this year, its presence is there always.

More people coming to the conference have used cannabis—entheogenically or not—than any of the other sacramental medicines, and in each of the four past years of the conference there has been either a presentation or a panel discussion on the sacred herb.

So, conference and cannabis in the same title? No stretch. But Canada’s looming Federal Election? Maybe not so much on first glance.

However, something really big is going on in this country right now. Stephen Harper and his party must go! He is dangerous for Canada on almost every level: social, economic, environmental, spiritual. He is holding us back and undermining the foundations of a “just society,” as former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once labeled it. I honestly don’t see this as a matter of opinion. Stephen Harper’s record and statements are clear.ballot-going-into-a-box2

No matter what you think of politics, or even if you barely think of politics at all, what happens in this election will make a big and important difference in every Canadian’s life. I could go on at length about this but if nothing else, a change in government will bring dramatic revisions in cannabis policy.

Attitudes about cannabis are changing almost daily and the plant is gaining legal status in more and more jurisdictions. This process won’t be stopped, just temporarily obstructed in some places. Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has pledged to get to work “right away” on a policy to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has promised to decriminalize cannabis “the minute we form government.” Stephen Harper vilifies cannabis to appeal to his base for political gain. He recently stated that “Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse . . . ”

Many of us believe decriminalization will not be an effective solution, a much too cautious half-measure that won’t solve the production and distribution problems associated with cannabis’ illegal status. Only full legalization carefully designed will work.

So please dear brothers and sisters. No matter how estranged you feel from politics and this election, please vote, and vote for a party other than the Conservatives. We don’t expect miracles from politicians but there will be major changes for the better on crucial issues with either the Liberals or the NDP. (Apologies to Green Party supporters. They’re not going to have enough seats). It’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for all of us, it’s for Mother Earth.

The Spirit Plant Medicine Conference happens five days after the Federal Election. May we be able to meet each other on Oct. 24 in an atmosphere of possibility and hope for wiser governance.

From the heart,