May 29, 2013


Philippe Lucas has a Masters degree in Studies in Policy and Practice from the University of Victoria and is a PhD student at the University of Victoria’s Social Dimensions of Health program.  He is a Research Affiliate with the Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia and a founding Board member of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies Canada and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.  His scientific research interests, projects and publications include the therapeutic use of cannabis, Canadian and international cannabis policy, and the use of cannabis, ibogaine, and ayahuasca in the treatment of addiction.  Currently, he is a Primary or Co-Investigator on a number of studies examining cannabis substitution theory, and Coordinator and Co-Investigator of an observational study of ayahuasca-assisted treatment for addiction and stress.  In 1999 Philippe founded the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, one of Canada’s longest running non-profit medical cannabis dispensaries, for which he acted as Executive Director until 2009.

A former school-teacher and childcare professional with a post-degree Certificate in secondary education , Philippe is very active in the community, and served as a Victoria City Councillor and a Director on the Capital Regional District Board from 2008-2011.  He is currently Board Chair of the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society, and is leading an initiative to establish a food-centered Public Market in Victoria’s historic Hudson building.

Philippe is also owner of Compassionate Consulting, a public health and research consultancy through which he provides court expert testimony, strategic policy planning and development advice, and social and clinical research services.  Additionally, he and his wife Mary are co-owners of Hip Baby Victoria, a local kids shop focusing on safe, sustainable toys, books and clothing for kids aged 0-6.  They are proud parents of their daughter Sophie.

Over the years, Philippe has received a number of accolades and awards for his work in the community and academic achievements, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), the CRFAIR 2012 Food and Agriculture Champion Award, The Land Conservancy Top 50 BC Environmental Heroes 2011, the University of Victoria Blue and Gold Award for academic excellence and community service (2007), and the Vancouver Island Civil Liberties Association Leadership Award (2002).

Curriculum vitae PDF

Philippe continues to hold a number of Board and advisory positions, including:

  • Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – Executive Committee & Policy Committee

March 2010-present

  • Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia – Research Affiliate


  • Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia – Advisory Board

2005 – present

  • York University Harm Reduction National Program Advisory Committee

York University.  October 2007 – present

  • Greater Victoria Cemetery Board – Trustee


  • Victoria Downtown Public Market Society – Chair of the Board


  • Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies Canada – Board of Directors

January 2010 – present

  • Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policies – Board of Advisors

October 2009-present

  • Vancouver Island Compassion Society – Board of Directors


  • Americans for Safe Access Medical Advisory Board

2005 – present

April 25, 2013

Downtown Victoria Public Market Society *sneak peak

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March 24, 2013


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Psychedelic Science 2013 is next month! Over 100 researchers, scientists, and others from more than a dozen countries will present recent findings on the benefits and risks of LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, marijuana, and more. Our last conference sold out, so don’t miss this opportunity to attend! Buy tickets today:

February 24, 2013

Gabor Mate Answers Questions About Ayahuasca

January 25, 2013

Five BC Cannabis Policy Reform Advocates Awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five BC Cannabis Policy Reform Advocates Awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

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Five prominent cannabis policy reform advocates will be recipients of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal on January 24th. They were nominated by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin for their dedication to cannabis social justice and medical access for Canadians living with critical and chronic illness.
Senator Nolin was the chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, which issued a report recommending cannabis be regulated and the government work with the medical cannabis dispensaries.

The medal is being awarded this year to 60, 000 Canadians to honour significant contributions and achievements.

The recipients are:
Hilary Black, Pioneer of the medical cannabis movement in Canada and founder of the BC Compassion Club Society, the first medical cannabis organization in Canada, founded in 1997.

Rielle Capler, MHA, medical cannabis researcher and co-founder of Canadians for Safe Access and Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, PhD Student at UBC.

John Conroy, QC, practises criminal law with a focus on charter of rights issues, constitutional challenges and prison law reform. He has been the president of NORML Canada since 1978. John Conroy is one of Canada’s foremost cannabis law reformers.

Philippe Lucas, MA, federally authorized patient, research affiliate with the Centre for Addiction Research of BC, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Club Society, co-founder of Canadians for Safe Access.

Kirk Tousaw, Barrister and social justice advocate focusing on defending people charged with cannabis offences and medical cannabis related constitutional challenges. He is the executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.

Hilary Black 778 986 8842
Philippe Lucas 250 588 1160
Rielle Capler 604 818 4082
Kirk Tousaw 604 836 1420
John Conroy 604 852 5110

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January 22, 2013

January 17, 2013

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal – January 24th, 2013

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I’m happy to announce that on January 24th I’ll be receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for my work on drug policy reform and medical cannabis from Senator Pierre Claude Nolin. The ceremony will take place at SFU’s Harbour Center, and I’ll be joined by other deserving colleagues, friends and fellow drug policy reformers.

While the royal “bling” is nice, the real honor for me is having been nominated by Senator Nolin, who for many years has promoted evidence-based, public health-centered approaches to drug policy, even as his party (the Conservatives) has pushed to escalate the war on drugs. Thank you for your continued good work, Pierre-Claude!

January 9, 2013

Why marijuana should be legal for adults –

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Editor’s note: David L. Nathan, a clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was recently elected as a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association. He teaches and practices general adult psychiatry in Princeton, New Jersey.

(CNN) — David Frum is one of today’s best and most reasoned conservative political voices, so his recent op-ed on marijuana policy was just a little disappointing. Not because he advocates the drug’s decriminalization — he rightly thinks locking people up or arresting them for casual use is a bad idea — but because he opposes its legalization for adults.

I agree with much of what he says about pot’s potential harm, especially for the young and the psychiatrically ill. Like Frum, I am a father who worries about my kids getting sidetracked by cannabis before their brains have a chance to develop. But I am also a physician who understands that the negative legal consequences of marijuana use are far worse than the medical consequences.

Frum would reduce the punishment for marijuana use for adults but nominally maintain its illegality in order to send a message to young people that pot is a “bad choice,” as if breaking the rules wasn’t as much an incentive as a deterrent for adolescents. Kids are smart enough to recognize and dismiss a “because I said so” argument when they see one. By trying to hide marijuana from innately curious young people, we have elevated its status to that of a forbidden fruit. I believe a better approach is to bring pot into the open, make it legal for people over the age of 21, and educate children from a young age about the actual dangers of its recreational use.

But these dangers are far surpassed by the perils of alcohol, which is associated with pancreatitis, gastritis, cirrhosis, permanent dementia, physiological dependence and fatal withdrawal. In healthy but reckless teens and young adults, it is frighteningly easy to consume a lethal dose of alcohol, but it is essentially impossible to do so with marijuana. Further, alcohol causes severe impairment of judgment, which results in violence, risky sexual behavior and more use of hard drugs.

Those who believe cannabis to be a gateway to opioids and other highly dangerous drugs fail to appreciate that the illegal purchase of marijuana exposes consumers to dealers who push the hard stuff. Given marijuana’s popularity in this country, the consumption of more dangerous drugs could actually decrease if pot were purchased at a liquor store rather than on the street corner where heroin and crack are sold.

Opinion: Legalize pot? No, reform laws

There is another more pressing reason to legalize and regulate marijuana, even for the sake of our children: the potential for adulteration of black-market cannabis and the substitution of even more dangerous copycat compounds. Much like Prohibition-era fatalities from bad moonshine, harmful synthetic marijuana substitutes are proliferating, with street names like K2 and Spice. The Drug Enforcement Administration struggles to combat these compounds by outlawing them, but I see no decrease in their popularity among my patients. Natural marijuana poses much less danger than synthetic cannabinoids — legal or otherwise.

So who had the bright idea of banning cannabis in the first place? Was it physicians? Social service organizations? No. The credit goes to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which in 1937 pushed through laws ending the growth, trade and consumption of all forms of cannabis, including the inert but commercially useful hemp plant. America’s ban on the so-called “Weed of Madness” was based on bad science and fabricated stories of violence perpetrated under the influence. The madness of cannabis can be ascribed not so much to its users, but to those who sought to criminalize the drug so soon after the monumental failure of alcohol Prohibition.

That’s not to say our marijuana laws have failed to change drug use in America. Cannabis is more widely used today than at any time before its prohibition, even though it was domesticated in antiquity and has been cultivated ever since. Pot prohibition has also greatly increased illegal activity and violence. Otherwise law-abiding private users became criminals, and criminals became rich through the untaxed, bloody and highly lucrative illicit drug trade.

Opinion: The end of the war on marijuana

But America can fix this mess through marijuana legalization. Federal, state and local governments can regulate the cannabis trade as they do with alcohol and tobacco — monitoring the production process for safety and purity, controlling where it is sold, taxing all aspects of marijuana production and consumption, and redirecting resources from punishment to prevention.

Forget the antiquated dogma and judge pot prohibition on its own merits. If you still believe that cannabis should be illegal, then you must logically support the criminalization of alcohol and tobacco, with vigorous prosecution and even imprisonment of producers and consumers. Does that sound ridiculous? Then you must conclude that the only rational approach to cannabis is to legalize, regulate and tax it.

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January 3, 2013

Studying Marijuana and Its Loftier Purpose – New York Times

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(New York Times article)

SAFED, Israel — Among the rows of plants growing at a government-approved medical marijuana farm in the Galilee hills in northern Israel, one strain is said to have the strongest psychoactive effect of any cannabis in the world. Another, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, will not get you high at all.

Marijuana is illegal in Israel, but farms like this one, at a secret location near the city of Safed, are at the cutting edge of the debate on the legality, benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis. Its staff members wear white lab coats, its growing facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for controlling light and humidity, and its grounds are protected by security cameras and guards.

But in addition to the high-tech atmosphere, there is a spiritual one. The plantation, Israel’s largest and most established medical marijuana farm — and now a thriving commercial enterprise — is imbued with a higher sense of purpose, reflected by the aura of Safed, an age-old center of Jewish mysticism, as well as by its name, Tikkun Olam, a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world.

There is an on-site synagogue in a trailer, a sweet aroma of freshly harvested cannabis that infuses the atmosphere and, halfway up a wooded hillside overlooking the farm, a blue-domed tomb of a rabbinic sage and his wife.

In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in 18 states but remain illegal under federal law. In Israel, the law defines marijuana as an illegal and dangerous drug, and there is still no legislation regulating its use for medicinal purposes.

Yet Israel’s Ministry of Health issues special licenses that allow thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana, and some government officials are now promoting the country’s advances in the field as an example of its pioneering and innovation.

“I hope we will overcome the legal obstacles for Tikkun Olam and other companies,” Yuli Edelstein, the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs, told journalists during a recent government-sponsored tour of the farm, part of Israel’s effort to brand itself as something beyond a conflict zone. In addition to helping the sick, he said, the effort “could be helpful for explaining what we are about in this country.”

Israelis have been at the vanguard of research into the medicinal properties of cannabis for decades.

In the 1960s, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science isolated, analyzed and synthesized the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Later, Professor Mechoulam deciphered the cannabinoids native to the brain. Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied another main constituent of cannabis — cannabidiol, or CBD — considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety agent.

When Zach Klein, a former filmmaker, made a documentary on medical marijuana that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2009, about 400 Israelis were licensed to receive the substance. Today, the number has risen to about 11,000.

Mr. Klein became devoted to the subject and went to work for Tikkun Olam in research and development. “Cannabis was used as medicine for centuries,” he said. “Now science is telling us how it works.”

Israeli researchers say cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of illnesses and conditions, from helping cancer patients relieve pain and ease loss of appetite to improving the quality of life for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropsychological conditions. The natural ingredients in the plant, they say, can help with digestive function, infections and recovery after a heart attack.

The marijuana harvest, from plants that can grow over six feet tall, is processed into bags of flowers and ready-rolled cigarettes. There are also cannabis-laced cakes, cookies, candy, gum, honey, ointments and oil drops. The strain known as Eran Almog, which has the highest concentration of THC, is recommended for severe pain. Avidekel, a strain rich in CBD and with hardly any psychoactive ingredient, allows patients to benefit from the drug while being able to drive and to function at work.

Working with Hebrew University researchers, the farm has also developed a version in capsule form, which would make exporting the drug more practical, should the law allow it.

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January 3, 2013

Here’s an opportunity for a healthy start to the new year from the VDPMS, with a local twist!

Let us help you keep your holiday pledge by shopping at our Winter Farmers Market on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month through March. Our hardworking farmers and producers are set up in Market Square from 11-3 selling their delicious locally harvested and produced food products. This Saturday we are excited to have the amazing Takafumi from Suntrio farm who will be selling sunflower sprouts, pea sprouts, buckwheat greens, sprouted mung bean and lentil, daikon radish, wheatgrass and wheatgrass shots. From the garden, delicious salad greens, mizuna, arugula, spinach and brazing greens. From the field, carrots, beets, and Jerusalem artichokes. You can expect spicy habanero jelly and their famous tomato sauce as well! Bundle up this Saturday and come out to Market Square and support the community that feeds you.

Vendors in attendance: Terra Nossa Farm, Fat Fish Seafood, Boughneath Farm, Cowichan Pasta, Sun Trio Farm, Preservation Foods, Vancouver Island Salt Co, Local Motive, Rene Sans Salsa, Haliburton Farm, Ren Hen Gourmet Cooperative, Seabluff Farm, 2GF Kitchen, Cottlestone Apiary, Lone Tree Bakery, Il Forno di Claudio, Vin Coco & Merridale Ciderworks

Who: The Victoria Downtown Public Market Society
What: Winter Farmers Market
When: 1st & 3rd Saturday of each month
Where: 11-3 Market Square, Inner Courtyard
Why: What could be better than local food?

Contact: Maryanne
Phone: 250 884 8552
Farm Market Manager: Corry Matechuck
For all vendor inquiries
Phone: 778 679 0024

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