Ask any smoker who’s been to Victoria and they’ll tell you the same thing: it’s nearly impossible to find a place to puff in BC’s capital city without getting chased off by a broom-swinging grandma or handed a hefty ticket by a bylaw officer.
Until recently, cannabis users have been treated to a blind eye by the smoke police, but now that the herb is becoming legal, potheads are increasingly being treated to the same kind of intolerance that west coast tobacco smokers have known for decades already.
“There’s really nowhere some of these people can go to smoke anymore without getting shunned or run out” says local weed icon Ted Smith, who manages The Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club, which has been helping locals in need—many of whom are high-risk individuals—buy and smoke weed safely for over two decades.
“This is why I wanted to found a church where people can smoke weed! It’s brilliant! All we have to do is sprinkle some mysticism and conjecture on things and BLAMMO! No one can give us shit anymore. And as a kicker, we don’t have to pay taxes either!”
And so the Mission of the Sacred Herb was born out of desperation. Originally formed of just a few followers congregating in various public squares and parks, the church now has over 400 members and the use of a local Anglican chapel.
“I used to see them gather regularly in the park across the street,” recalls Father Al Fixit, who is pastor at the Church of Saint Ian, a congregation near Victoria’s downtown core that has seen its numbers decline to near zero in recent decades. “One Sunday I noticed both of our parishioners go over to the park to smoke cannabis with Ted’s group after service.”
“‘Wait a gosh darned minute!’ I thought. That’s a church over there with lots of people and no building, and this here’s a church with a building and no people. Well, the logic was undeniable!”
Since then Smith has been working with Father Fixit to cultivate a safe space for all types of people to enjoy the sacrament of cannabis. The Mission of the Sacred Herb is now well on its way to achieving full status as a religion in Canada, and officials meanwhile have gone back to their old habit of turning a blind eye.
“We had the bylaw cops stop by looking for trouble last Sunday morning,” says Fixit, “but I just gave them a hot tip that an elderly man was feeding kids free wine at the Catholic church down the street and they took off to deal with that instead.”
But not everyone is happy with this new partnership, which some are calling a public health risk.
“It’s disgusting!” says Yogapants Soccermom, spokesperson for Citizens for Smoke-Free Victoria, a nanny-state pharma-puppet ‘nonprofit’ organization that is dedicated to snuffing out public smoking of any kind in the area.
“If these poor disenfranchised people want to smoke, they should stop looking for loopholes and just inherit enough money to buy their own house like I did. Then they can do whatever they want—as long as it’s not strata, then they’re still fucked.”
But the Mission of the Sacred Herb is thriving, despite disproportionate bylaws and the meddling of pill-propped self-aggrandizing opinion pushers like Soccermom,
“All we’re asking for here is a safe and comfortable place to smoke our god-given brains out, like civilized human beings,” concludes Smith. “These kneejerk regulations lack the nuance and flexibility that’s needed to deal with the diversity of real people in real life situations.”
* This satire has been approved for commercial distribution by the Vancouver Island Nanny Association