The BEAST - Buffalo's Best Fiend........www.buffalobeast.com.............Issue 59 9/30/04--10/14/04
The Straight Dope With Dr. Rotten
Interview with Dominic S. Cramer of Sacred Seeds
When did you get started selling seeds?
I started Sacred Seed in 2002. There was an overwhelming need and opportunity to provide seeds to medical patients. Those allowed to grow were given no legal access to seeds, were told by the government that they had no viable option for them, and even to seek what they needed on the internet. So, by medical necessity and the negligence of our government, Canada's legal climate effectively changed in such a way as to allow cannabis seed companies. The prohibition of cannabis seeds was always laughable, especially considering the comparison with opium poppy seeds, which are absolutely unrestricted.
Explain to our readers what the Toronto Hemp Company is, and what it is about?
Toronto Hemp Company (THC) is a retail store and resource center dedicated to an incredibly beneficial plant and its mistreated culture. Founded in 1994, we exist to provide information and products made of, and relating to, the cannabis plant.
Do you mail to U.S.?
We make sure that people who need our help are taken care of, although Sacred Seed doesn't ship into the States anything that is illegal down there. Sacred is primarily a walk-in retail store. We do keep in mind special circumstances such as State-recognized exemptions etc., and happily help to connect our American friends to the mail-order sources they might require, but we make efforts to avoid any activity that might irritate the genuinely terrifying war-mongering authorities y'all have to deal with down there.
Any strain you recommend?
Sure, lots. We love Shiva Skunk, Blueberry, Ultimate Indica, Afghani #1, Black Domina, some other Skunk crosses, and some Jack Herer crosses, for examples. But again there are considerations here - some strains such as a pure Sativa like Thai are extremely special to inhale/ingest, but are a total pain in the ass to grow, will all-too-likely self-pollinate, take forever and yield next to nothing.
Any tips for the readers?
I would encourage readers to be open to spending the extra few bucks for more reliable and higher quality seeds, shopping more by strain features than price because a little saving at the seed-buying stage often results in a big loss later on. Don't make price your main consideration if you can afford not to. I would also recommend against other shortcuts that are costly in the long run such as using a less than sufficient light and low quality nutrients.
Do think Toronto will be the next Amsterdam?
I think we're getting there and in ways even overtaking the Dutch pot paradise. As far as I know, there aren't any huge hemp stores like THC in Amsterdam. And Holland's right-wing government is cracking down on marijuana sales while Canada is discovering the potential of a regulated and taxed recreational pot industry - taking it out of the hands of criminals, the benefits to our health and our health-care system, the reduction in damages and costs associated not only with waging the war on drugs but also with the enormous societal problems that war causes. We're not talking about small improvements here; we're talking about billions of dollars being saved. Meanwhile, organs are being harvested from executed drug dealers in China. Millions of Americans are in prison for marijuana offenses. I sure hope we can all wake up from this insanity bloody soon.
Do you have hash bars there yet?
Yes, but most of Toronto's pot-friendly cafes are Bring-Your-Own-Bud. There are selling cafes here and across the country, and there's been a great deal of noise lately about one in particular going public in Vancouver, but most of the cafes across Canada are nice places where you're allowed to smoke but not allowed to buy and sell.
Lots. One of my favorites would have to be the recent [July 2004] Fill The Hill event, which was an outdoor conference/smoke-fest on the front lawn of our federal legislature buildings - somewhat akin to holding a huge pot rally in the White House's front yard. That was a truly incredible event with speakers from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy, Canadians for Safe Access, and the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy. I am honored to have served as Master of Ceremonies.
Compare Canada's politics to the U.S.
The main comparison that I'd make is that there's more of an "us versus them" mentality in your country, and lots more hypocrisy. Your leaders and enforcers exist less to serve the people, and more to serve themselves and the corporations that fund them. It's like that up here as well, but not to the same degree.
What do you think about the border impounding hemp fiber and hemp seeds for food?
I think the DEA is out of control. It's absolute insanity. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. There was a huge "Grow Hemp For the War" campaign and the plant was respected, appreciated and an American staple. George Washington grew hemp. And they weren't ignorant back then to the medical benefits either. A huge percentage of your medicines a hundred and fifty years ago contained cannabis. The crusade that your government is on, the campaigns of disinformation about the "Gateway Effect" and "this is not the marijuana you knew when you were young" and all the other lies; it's all so counterproductive and destructive for the entire population, except for those who are making huge money in the black market. Another thing that's sadly hilarious is that the US leadership insults Canada for our marijuana exports, which account for some 2% of your weed, while probably 80% of our cocaine and guns are coming up from the States.
Is Canada growing hemp?
Sure is, and Agriculture Canada isn't anywhere near as ignorant as Health Canada [the agencies tasked with taking care of the industrial and medical aspects of the plant, respectively]. Canada is known for growing some of the finest quality hemp in the world; farmers are being saved by it. You need a license and to undergo strict testing and certification procedures in order to be a hemp farmer, but it's working relatively well so far. The medical licensing, on the other hand, is a complete disaster.
What's a Dominizer?
For years we've only known of and sold vaporizers (also known as volatizers) that were based upon old technology and flawed principles. The problem is that traditional hot-plate vaporizers basically fry your herb in the hope that this harsh cooking will free up some of the good stuff in the process. Bad idea. The new way, the hot-air method, works by heating air and passing it through the herb, rather than heating the herb directly. This causes a very efficient transfer of active chemicals into the "vapor," and does not destroy the cannabinoids as flame or a hot-plate would. What you get is a much more efficient inhalation method that is healthier because it avoids the potentially damaging aspects of hot smoke. (More info at www.dominizer.com)
Tell us about the Toronto Compassion Centre.
Well, that's the non-profit side of what we do. It's an organization set up in 1997 to provide medical marijuana to seriously ill Canadians who need it, and also to serve as a medicinal cannabis information resource and political organization for all Canadians. We brought a Civil Court case, which we won at three levels of court, challenging the government's system and insisting that the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations and by extension the entire cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional. The Centre has over 1,400 members, and has been taking part in more and more research, legal actions, political efforts, provision of complementary therapies for our members, etc., etc.
Tell us about the museum.
I just opened a new store, a new concept - a Garden Supply store a.k.a. hydroponics shop combined with a Marijuana History Museum, a Glass Art Studio for exhibition and custom work, and what I call a 'Cannabis Community Centre' for education, meetings, screenings, and even including a Cannabis Clips video/media studio for our soon-to-be released online cannabis media network.
I've always wanted a museum. Aside from being a storehouse of cool things and important information, they also have an air of legitimacy and grant us access to more mainstream avenues such as attraction maps and tour groups. The museum covers the industrial hemp side of things, and our long history of the use of cannabis in all forms, as well as the recent history regarding medical/recreational use and the evolution of the laws here and abroad.
Sounds cool. Thanks for your time, man.
© 2004 The Beast