It’s International Literacy Day, so here are some books (and comics) to read about weed

What to read? We’ve culled a few cannabis-themed suggestions from the archives of CannCentral and our sister publication, the Georgia Straight

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Who doesn’t enjoy a good book?

According to UNESCO, 773 million adults—two-thirds of them women—are illiterate. While this is a vast improvement over the conditions in 1967—the year the organization founded International Literacy Day—it’s an indication that much work remains to be done.

The UN has therefore called for renewed efforts to reach the new literacy target of its Sustainable Development Goals. “By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy”.

So, by all means, celebrate International Literacy Day by cracking open a good book. Do not, however, take the precious gift of literacy for granted.

What to read? We’ve culled a few cannabis-themed suggestions from the archives of CannCentral and our sister publication, the Georgia Straight.

Captain Cannabis by Verne Andru

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Verne Andru’s comic-book superhero Captain Cannabis.

The exact release date for the third edition of Verne Andru’s Captain Cannabis comic book remains up in the air. The Vancouver-based Andru had earlier announced it would come out this summer. It’s still summer, of course, so there’s still hope.

Not that Andru works at a particularly frenetic pace. The first issue of Captain Cannabis came out in 1977. The second didn’t come until 2018. So, fans might need a bit of patience.

Secret origins

Captain Cannabis is slacker Hal Lighter’s alter ego. Thanks to an intergalactic herb, Hal transforms into a superhero. When Charlie Smith interviewed Andru this past June, he asked about the genesis of the character.

The origins go back to a chance encounter with Lloyd Axworthy, a future senior Liberal cabinet minister, in front of a downtown Winnipeg store.

Andru said that Axworthy was stumping for Pierre Trudeau, who was seeking re-election in 1974.

This was two years after the Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs recommended legalizing possession of cannabis and cultivation for personal use.

According to Andru, he shook Axworthy’s hand and asked if Trudeau was going to implement the commission’s call to decriminalize weed

“And he said ‘absolutely,’ ” Andru said. “That was my Captain Cannabis green light.”

The cartoonist had already been working on a superhero comic-book series called Captain Canuck. “I figured, well, we’re going to be in a legalized world so I’ll make a cannabis superhero.”

Little did he know at that time that it would take more than four decades for weed to become legal.

The Little Book of Cannabis by Amanda Siebert

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Amanda Siebert is the former cannabis editor at the Georgia Straight.

Amanda Siebert is the former cannabis editor of the Georgia Straight. Greystone Books published her debut, The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life, on October 17, 2018. This was also the date that Canada formally legalized the cultivation, possession, acquisition, and consumption of cannabis. If we had to speculate, we’d guess that the timing was not coincidental.

“In my early 20s, I realized that even when I used cannabis ‘recreationally’, I experienced improved sleep, reduced stress, and relief from anxiety and depression,” Siebert said in an interview that December. “As a journalist, hearing firsthand accounts of the multitude of other ways cannabis can be used for health and wellness convinced me that it had therapeutic value.”

For the novice

The author noted that she did not write her book not for the cannabis cognoscenti. Rather, it’s for those still unconvinced of the plant’s power.

“My book explores topics like sleep, stress, pain management, sex, opioid dependence, cancer, aging, and even creativity,” she said. “Using a mix of case studies, expert testimony, clinical research, historical context, and practical advice for consumption, I hope to offer novices the opportunity to suspend their disbelief about the plant and rethink any misinformed notions about the ‘dangers’ of pot use.”

Ganja Yoga by Dee Dussault

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Ganja Yoga by Dee Dussault.

When it comes to weed-enhanced yoga, Dee Dussault wrote the book. Literally.

Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery is that book. In a 2018 interview, Dussault said that using cannabis can allow yoga practitioners to shed some of the psychic baggage they have accumulated in their day-to-day lives.

“With the busyness of our culture, the distractions and cellphone addictions, when you get to your yoga mat, there is still a lot of shedding to do before you can actually start to have mindfulness,” Dussault said. “It helps you let go of surface tensions so that you’re starting your yoga immediately from a higher base line of relaxation.”

In her book, she details historic practices, from the worship of the Indian deity Shiva to the evolution of psychoactive plants in rituals.

“Using cannabis is a sign of human adaptability,” she said. “Over thousands of years, we have used it as tool to help guide our spiritual practice. And we’re still growing with it today.”

Vansterdam Comix by David Malmo-Levine

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Vansterdam Comix by David Malmo-Levine and Bob High.

“Anyone who reads this is both empowered and given a sacred duty,” David Malmo-Levine said in a 2019 interview.

That might seem like a lot of power to attribute to a comic book, but Vansterdam Comix is no ordinary comic book. For cannabis activist Malmo-Levine, the 420-page work—created with Vancouver artist Bob High—is the culmination of 10 years of work. It’s also the result of a lifetime spent fighting for both social justice and cannabis liberation.

“Malmo-Levine presents both an anecdotal and evidence-based framework for understanding the anti-prohibition movement,” Piper Courtenay wrote last year, “unpacking myths that have stigmatized generations of pot smokers.”

Pivotal events

In the book, Malmo-Levine describes pivotal events in the fight against cannabis prohibition. These include Vancouver’s very first Cannabis Day in July 1996, and the origins of the 4/20 demonstrations. He also delves into sensationalist media coverage, political corruption, unchecked police brutality, and criminal activity within the cannabis movement itself.

“It’s going to take a big information campaign to counteract the lies that have been pushed down everyone’s throats for so long,” the author said. “This is my weapon to fight back against the ignorance. It’s a recipe for resistance.”

Cooking With CBD by Jen Hobbs

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Jen Hobbs’s book Cooking With CBD includes recipes such as Gorgonzola Alfredo Pear and Prosciutto Pasta.

In July, Gail Johnson wrote about the new cookbook Cooking With CBD: 50 Delicious Cannabidiol- and Hemp-Infused Recipes for Whole Body Healing Without the High. The book, by Jen Hobbs, features 50 CBD-infused breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes.

As Johnson noted, Hobbs could not have timed things better. Growing numbers of people are turning to CBD as a treatment for anxiety. “According to research by the Brightfield Group,” Johnson wrote, “up to 40 percent of consumers plan to use CBD more frequently because of COVID-19.”

Everyday foods

In Cooking With CBD, Hobbs helps home cooks understand how to incorporate CBD into everyday foods and drinks. She also covers how to calculate appropriate dosages.

Recipes include:

  • Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
  • Gorgonzola Alfredo Pear and Prosciutto Pasta
  • Chicken Chili Tortilla Soup
  • Balsamic-Glazed Grilled Pork Chops
  • Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Mojo Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken
  • Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
  • Strawberry Hemp Sorbet
  • No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

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