Even After Legalization, Award-Winning Musician and Cannabis Activist Ian Campeau is Still Fighting for Pot
Cannabis has been a significant part of Ian Campeau’s culture, family, music and lifestyle for quite some time. It inspires his creativity.
Written by Chris Metler
In fact, as a medical marijuana patient, Campeau’s experienced firsthand how cannabis has improved his life. When he was on the road — travelling with his award-winning trio, A Tribe Called Red — Campeau would use Leafly to source medical cannabis around the world.
That said, he doesn’t believe cannabis should be restricted to medical use as there are so many benefits for recreational users to explore.
Since leaving A Tribe Called Red in the fall of 2017, Campeau has focused his life on advocacy: speaking out on behalf of women, Indigenous peoples and cannabis users across the country. And even with pot’s legalization in Canada around the corner, he continues to fight for it.
In your opinion, why is the legalization of cannabis important? What’s more, do you feel it is coming at just the right time or long overdue?
As far as I’m concerned, it is long overdue. The legalization of cannabis is important because it will stop a large number of racialized people from going to jail for cannabis-related crimes. For too long, too many people have been incarcerated for using a medicine that only improves their quality of life.
What should Canada’s goals be for legalizing cannabis?
I think that Canada’s goals should be to create safe and inclusive spaces for cannabis users to acquire cannabis and feel comfortable. Additionally, I think reconciliation for those who were or currently are incarcerated for non-violent cannabis infractions is important to acknowledge when discussing legalization.
Similarly, what can Canada learn from global cannabis legalizations that went wrong? Take Uruguay, for example.
For me, Uruguay is a tough example because I feel cannabis was quickly monopolized soon after it was legalized there. Uruguay had better laws for cannabis consumers before the legalization of commercial distribution began. I think Canada can better learn about legalization from models such as those in Colorado and California.
Describe what, if any, kind of educational tools or programs should be put in place for the safe and responsible consumption of legal cannabis?
Since we know branding and packaging will be really limited, I highly recommends consumers seek out information on their own before purchasing. Cannabis can be very confusing or intimidating for first-time users and it is so important to educate yourself about the product offerings. Use apps such as Leafly to learn more about strains, products and read cannabis news and editorial content. This will be so helpful for you as you explore the world of legal cannabis.
On that note, how do you think legal cannabis should be advertised, promoted and displayed?
I think it should be advertised the same way as everything else that we enjoy in our lives! It’s an extremely versatile and adaptable product that people from all walks of life are using. The products should be advertised towards the community who uses the product. For example, if you are an outdoor hiker, the products should be made appealing to that lifestyle. Because of the diverse range of users, I feel functional branding could create opportunities for cannabis brands to appeal to users based on their unique interests and desired effects.
As far as strictly cannabis itself goes, what do you think comes next after legalization?
I see cannabis being as important of a commodity to Canada as wine is to France. It’s not only going to create an entirely new industry, but also a new culture that I feel will be as big as the restaurant and dining out culture is now. A lot is going to change post-legalization and I’m excited to see what’s next.