CANNABIS CULTURE - It's really hard to decide what to do with your life. I remember the time when I was young and my parents asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up, Britney?"
Back then I wanted to serve and protect being a police officer. What a joke that is. By the time I was 14, stealing a bra from the mall, I quickly learned that venture would probably not happen. Fast forward three years, and there I was working at McDonald's. Now most people probably think McDonald's is a terrible place to work, but I loved it. I had a job with my best friend and I worked that Drive Thru like no one's business.
A few years later I was a frustrated waitress, unhappy with authority, and had no desire to work. I packed my bags for Vancouver with $500.00 and two suit cases filled with my most-prized possessions in search of something different. I remember getting on the plane very vividly. I was scared about leaving everything behind, wondering how I will pay rent, and what I was going to do for a living, but so excited about what B.C. had in store for me. I had never been to the West Coast and had barely traveled at all.
The first thing I noticed walking out of YVR airport had to be the smell. The fresh air was amazing. I had grown up in the Greater Toronto Area haze, so this smell was like being able to breathe for the first time. It was dark, and my friend Harry was patiently waiting for my arrival with a fat joint. I couldn't see all the beauty Vancouver had to offer because it was night time, but I knew as soon as I walked out of the airport doors that there was something out there for me.
A couple months, a few waitressing jobs and many more joints later, I found myself at The Vancouver Art Gallery attending a rally for "The Prince of Pot." At the time I did not know much about Marc Emery, other then he was arrested in 2005 for selling marijuana seeds to the US and he owned Cannabis Culture and founded the BCMP. I sat on the library stairs and filmed every word that he said as he talked about ending prohibition and his impending extradition to the US. A picture was snapped, and by the time the rally was done, I had a dream. One day I would work for The Prince of Pot.
I quickly became "friends" with Marc and Jodie on Facebook, and was keeping a close eye on everything they were up too. One morning I woke up to Jodie's status stating that Marc had been imprisoned in Port Coquitlam to await extradition. A few short days later, Jodie put a status up saying that she needed help and Cannabis Culture was hiring. It was like a fire started burning in my stomach and every piece of my being told me to get on the Skytrain and get downtown and talk to this woman. I called CCHQ and sure enough Jodie was in the office.
I walked through the glass doors and the first thing I noticed was the sweet smell of cannabis. The store was like a hemp heaven. The bongs shined like trophies. Anything you could possibly dream of related to weed was available. It was like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory but for weed. Soon I was standing in Jodie's office introducing myself boldly as Britney: her future employee. I told her that she would never regret hiring me, and I will do absolutely anything and everything to help her. To my surprise, Jodie said the job was mine, and asked me to start transcribing a letter Marc wrote from prison. So there I was. Sitting in the editorial section of Cannabis Culture typing away on my first assignment. It was as if I won the lottery. Then the phone rings. By the excitement in Jodie's voice I knew it was Marc. He was excited. He had just hired someone for the position that Jodie was trying to fill. My position.
Jodie hung up the phone, and turned to me with a saddened look on her face. Unfortunately for me, my winning lottery ticket had been already cashed in. It was one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I have ever been on. I felt like I had been given the world, only to have it all taken away in the blink of a eye. Jodie thanked me and graciously paid me for my time, and told me to come back whenever I wanted to visit. I felt a spark of determination like I had never before. I was set on working for Jodie and Marc. It was something that I had to do.
Everyday from that day on for about the next week, I showed up at Cannabis Culture to smoke a J and hang with Jodie and CC Editor Jeremiah Vandermeer. On October 21, 2009 my phone rang. It was Jodie. It turned out she really liked me, and she wanted me to come in and talk about the Advertising Manager position. Of course, I went to the discuss the opportunity and was delighted to be hired for the second time! Two days later, on my 20th birthday, it was my first day on the job and I was sitting in my new desk as the Advertising Manager for Cannabis Culture Magazine.
A lot has changed since then. Today, I no longer work at CC, though I'm an active member of Vancouver's cannabis community. In 2011, I and a few partners founded Burnaby's first medical marijuana dispensary and were then arrested and charged in an RCMP crackdown on med-pot clubs. We have since converted our storefront location into The Metrotown Hemp Shop, Burnaby's only head shop. Visit us at 4927 Kingsway.
Though I'm no longer an official CC staffer, I consider myself a member of the family and stand faithfully by Marc and Jodie, attending rallies, fesivals, expos and protests all over the world with a message of drug peace. I've encountered a lot in just a few short years, and hope to share some of my experiences with you as a small taste of what it's like to be a member of Vancouver's cannabis community. Keep watching!