The start of 2015 my energy and drive are in fifth gear. I had launched my organisation for northern Ontario, and I was ready to get to work.
Soon after I launched NOCER, I was contacted by a gentleman in Kirkland Lake. He told me the local headshop was raided by police a few weeks earlier and asked if I could help. Darren Delaney owned The Tripping Daisy which was raided by the OPP under section 462.2 of the criminal code. An outdated obscure law prohibiting cannabis paraphernalia including pipes, bongs, and magazines from being sold. Now this was something I could sink my teeth into, and it was regional! I had met Dana Larsen, a prominent Canadian activist in BC, a few months earlier and he became my guide to hands on activism and protesting, so I gave him a call.
After getting some guidance, I embarked on an advertising campaign to get support for the shop and northern Ontario from the cannabis community down in southern Ontario. I contacted grassroots media including Matt Mernagh in Toronto from POT TV and a few others to get Darren a spot to tell his story. We went on tour one weekend to appear on a few shows to drum up support and raise awareness about the obscure law still being used in rural Ontario.
NOCER hosted our first protest rally in Kirkland Lake Ontario on March 3, 2015 with national activists Dana Larsen as well as Lisa Campbell joining us. We marched onto OPP Headquarters from the shop’s location through the snow in -12c temps with a group of about 30 people, most local. We were carrying signs and chanting all the way, and even got some mainstream media coverage. The event was a success.
Riding on the energy from organising the protest march, I decided to see if I could get support to hold the regions first 420 event that year. I did some advertising to float the idea on social media and picked up some volunteers. Then a few people from second city in the region contacted me and wanted to participate as well. NOCER would be organising and hosting the first 420 events ever held in Northern Ontario, one in Temiskaming Shores, the other in North Bay. Since then we have hosted 420 events in five cities, including Smooth Rock Falls, Timmins, and Val Gagne. Several others have now started independently as well.
I had been following the case on extracts involving Owen Smith, and Ted Smith of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, and after several years in lower courts it was headed to the Supreme Court of Canada with lawyer Kirk Tousaw leading the legal team. I was extracting my oil from my plants, so this was an important case to me as well. I had to be a part of this history making case, somehow! I contacted a friend who lived in the Ottawa Valley, Patricia Peters, and we planned to attend the hearing together. I found some space we could share in a suite near the courthouse with 4 other female patients and 1 man, Garry Pallister. Gary shared one of the rooms with me and Pat and gave us our first dabs.
We attended a pre-trial bash hosted by activists who rented the local legion and we smoked it out! The day of the case the courthouse was packed with cannabis patients’ activists and entrepreneurs. The court officer had to set up an overflow room for the spectators. I used my NOCER platform to relay the information as it happened on social media, taking pictures, and speaking to many in attendance. I was participating in making history! Of course, Kirk Tousaw won the case for Owen and The VCBC, and extracts are legal in Canada today because of it.
I was off all the pills, but still on Fentanyl and I was working to cut my doses down. I was ramping up my consumption with edibles and extracts, to get the levels I needed, and experimenting with new strains to find the one that would work. Meeting the patients during the trial in Ottawa and seeing so many getting relief for pain with cannabis gave me hope it would work for me too. But I was nervous, still. It would take me an additional 4 years to completely rid myself of them.
A short time after the trial, I was contacted by a fellow by the name of Al Graham. He offered me a spot as a “Joint Host” on a radio program called The PACE Radio Show. PACE stood for “People Advocating Cannabis Education”. I was shocked, and hesitant at first, I had never done anything like that before! After some discussion with my hubby, and with Al, I accepted a position on The PACE Radio Show, and this would set me on a path into cannabis media. After accepting the position, I found out another joint host on the show was Debbie Stultz-Giffen, one of the women from the room in Ottawa.
In July 2015, I did an interview with Debbie and Al on PACE, they welcomed me to the show, and we discussed a bit of my background. The shows were aired on the “Time for Hemp” Network with producer Casper Leitch back then, they were pre-recorded, and the producer chose the air date.
In February 2016, the show found a new home at a new station. We signed up with Lifestyle Radio and were moving into LIVE broadcasts for the first time. We remained at Lifestyle for just over three years, until the content we were contributing to the station warranted our own platform. We parted ways with the station in April 2019 and planned our launch of the PACE Radio Network.
PACE Radio network was launched in May 2019, with 3 weekly shows as well as “On The Road” coverage of events, and the planning began to expand our content. We have worked vigorously since our launch to add new shows, more joint hosts, and engaging content focussed on cannabis to expand our platform and spread the education. Al Graham & I were now a solid team, and we worked well together. I learned how to operate the tech, with Al’s patient guidance, and I advanced into the producer’s chair for a few shows. Our collaboration, now into our sixth year, has been one of the most engaging and exciting things I have ever been a part of, and there is no end in sight. The station now has multiple shows with many joint hosts covering cannabis content including news shows, interviews, events, music and more, and we are still growing. I will always be grateful to Al for reaching out all those years ago, I have learned so much and come so far, Thanx to Al.
Today I am Pharmaceutical free. I was able to replace every prescribed medication I was on with cannabis, in one form or another. I live a natural life and utilize cannabis in all its forms for all my conditions. I suffer from major gut health issues now from all the pills I took for so many years prescribed by the Doctor. I continue the work I do to spread the education in hopes that it could help someone else out there, going through a similar situation.
I have a lifetime of stories, information, and education that I would like to share, and I could go on and on. So, I will keep going with a new format from here. Future entries will focus on specific events, milestones, and situations, with a deeper look at some of the things I have experienced in the last five decades during “My Life With Cannabis”
Stay tuned for more, Blogging About My Journey Through Life with Cannabis
Many Thanx to Al Graham and Kim Saltarski who helped me with editing and formatting throughout this blog. I would like to dedicate this blog to my husband Steve. Without your love, patience, strength, support, and encouragement, I would not be the person I am today.
Kim "Northern Ontario" Cooper CEO NOCER Org./ Northern Ontario Cannabis Education & Resources Joint Host On The P.A.C.E. Radio Show & Reefer Reporters Associate Producer at PACE Radio Network