It was in 1995, during a stay in British Columbia, that I discovered the existence of industrial hemp. On a nice spring afternoon, as I was walking down the beautiful city of Vancouver, I came across one of the first, if not the first headshop (or smokeshop) in Canada, named Hemp BC, property of Marc Emery (the latter was active in the legalization of cannabis in all its forms). At the time, I was already well aware that cannabis could be used as a drug, but I was very surprised to see baseball caps, shirts and twine in the window of this store, which seemed to be mainly specialized in sale of products for the consumption of narcotics!
Intrigued, I headed for the entrance and while my hand was closing on the handle, I had the strange feeling that it was not just a door that opened in front of me, but the lid of a treasure chest. Behind the poster of Bob Marley, the bongs, pipes and rolling paper, I’ve discovered the true wonder: I’m talking about industrial hemp, of course, and the great possibilities of this fantastic plant. I discovered at Hemp BC products as varied as fascinating. Hemp fabric on sale by the meter, hats, clothes of all kinds, rope and string and a lot of literature on the subject … The employees were particularly well informed and despite an ever-growing number of questions, they demonstrated great patience and generosity; I felt them animated by the same interest that inspires me today. It was at this moment that this passion was born, which still survives, accompanying me through time without losing a single notch of its intensity.
I will always remember, when I entered the shop, to have noticed the strong smell of marijuana that burns… And I was very surprised to notice that there was a joint that was lit and that it was circulating freely in the shop, for whom wanted to smoke it! I inquired about this practice and was told that every afternoon at 4:20 pm, they lit a joint to challenge the law that prohibited the use of recreational cannabis. This act of civil disobedience became a kind of political act to provoke a debate about a law that these people thought was unconstitutional.
It is well known, the big trends in America often take shape in the West to spread to the East. Well, it took more than 20 years before the idea of the Caneve online store came to light. I can thank Hemp BC and Marc Emery for opening my eyes to industrial hemp!
Note: In 1995 industrial hemp was under the same prohibition as psychotropic hemp. It was not until 1998 that the Canadian government distinguished the two varieties. In other words, anyone wearing a hemp t-shirt at that time was likely to be arrested for possession of cannabis! Moreover, someone who sold a hemp t-shirt could be accused of “trafficking” narcotics. Canadian law made no distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana.