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I have enjoyed Georgia Peschel’s cannabis inspired cartoons for several years on Facebook and in numerous industry publications. Her quirky sense of humor coupled with her adorably cute characters grab people’s attention while driving home the point that cannabis prohibition is a horribly failed social policy. The following interview and accompanying “Georgia Toons” provide insight into one of the cannabis industry’s premier thought leaders.
John Dvorak: When did you start drawing?
Georgia Toons: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Sadly, I never took it ‘seriously’ until later in life. This (3 Dogs, at right) is one of the first things I drew in 1993.
JD: How did your love for drawing intersect with your passion for cannabis?
GT: My love for drawing could not help but spill over to my passion for a medicine that helps heal my son’s pain.
I had to share our new found knowledge that we witness daily. ‘Naturally’ I did what I love to do most, draw.
JD: Considering how cannabis benefited your son Storm when he was young, what would you say to parents that are considering having their children use cannabis?
Research . . . sadly when we started it was on a wing and a prayer, and we had to figure things out for ourselves. Now there is news of research everywhere. As parents we love our kids and to see them suffer – well, we do whatever it takes to ease the suffering. Legal or illegal.
Cannabis would be my first choice over pharmaceuticals. I strongly urge parents to read the side effects of all prescribed medications and think of the harm they might do to their child long term. Are you helping your child or helping kill them 20 years from now?
JD: Who are your cartoonist influences?
GT: My cartoonist influences were the characters themselves: Scooby Doo, B.C., Beetle Bailey, Snoopy and Woodstock! It was not until I was older that I grew to appreciate the talent behind the ink. Mike Peters is my favorite cartoonist. Then Gary Larson, Charles Schultz, Lynn Johnston, any cartoonist that makes me smile, think or gives me inspiration.
Regarding Cannabis cartoons, I met Ivan (Art) by fate. I contacted him to tell him I admired his work. I do this all the time with strangers. I know too often as artists we do not hear it, and it is nice in my opinion. Ivan wrote me back and asked to see some of my cartoons! Little did I know he was responsible for putting together the fantastic magazine ‘Treating Yourself,’ which sadly, is no longer published. Ivan then asked me if he could publish my cartoons in Treating Yourself!
Do you know what that does to a artist? WOW.
Then, he helped me, told me how to size, scan, suggested color, etc. He has become a mentor and friend over the years. He encouraged me, supported me and even put up with a few crazy e-mail rants over the years. He continually remains the most positive person I know and never has a mean word to say about anyone. Ivan has made me want to be a better artist and person. I feel blessed to know him and his beautiful family, and have him in my life.
JD: Who are your other cannabis influences?
GT: When we started, we did not know anyone in the “industry.” My main Cannabis influence was and is and always will be my son. Witnessing his use and how it helps him – one needs no more influence than that. I am more influenced by the children who use Cannabis and the awesome results they have! Michelle Rainey was the first person to help us and will always be remembered with love for it. She was a wonderful influence.
JD: Why are there so many 4 legged friends in your cartoons?
GT: Because we have a house full! We have 4 dogs, 2 cats and a Gecko in his 20’s. “Draw what you know,” and our extended furry family is what we know! A source of constant entertainment and unconditional love. I am inspired to draw them several times a day but more inspired just to play.
JD: For several years, you were a mainstay at Marco Renda’s Treating Yourself Expo in Toronto. What did you like most about having the Georgiatoons booth there?
GT: The Treating Yourself Expo in Toronto was an experience like no other for us for 4 years. I remember the very first time I saw my booth, having never done anything like this before (on this scale) was overwhelming and I loved every second. My booth grew over the years as did numerous friendships with other exhibitors as well as numerous patients and people just interested in Cannabis education. We were also blessed with overwhelming love and support that has encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing.
Storm and I also made it our mini vacation, had meals out with friends, socialized with people from all over the world and will be forever grateful for the experience & education. Marco made history for Canadians and helped educate millions on Cannabis, between the EXPO and the magazine. We are honored he included us in the journey.
JD: What are your thoughts about cannabis activism in Canada compared with America?
I find Americans more aggressive. I guess you have to be when you are known in the world for having the most people in prison. We do what we must. I do wish that we could almost break down the border barriers and focus on the fact that Cannabis is indeed a universal problem – well, not the Cannabis itself, the humans that think they can control it. Strength in numbers. I have had awesome support from Americans! I have several real new friends because of Facebook and our Cannabis activism. ONE LOVE.
JD: What are your thoughts about new Canadian regulations that remove the home grow option for patients?
GT: The new Canadian regulations are WRONG. Many Canadians have been producing for themselves for a decade. The old program allowed patients to grow their own medicine. For some, this was as simple as planting a seed. Others invested thousands to produce a medicine that is sustaining them for only pennies. Now they are expected to stop and pay amounts well above what they have been paying for years. Forcing many to use the black market or continue growing, possibly risking jail. It is criminal and against every right as a Canadian: health, happiness and human needs. My son needs his medicine. I need my medicine. This does not make us criminals. How does growing a plant make anyone a criminal?
GT: Every time I put my pen to paper I believe I am making a difference. Making someone think, feel (even if that is angry), or perhaps just smile. My time, because of my health, is not my own these days. So when I am blessed to do what I love most – I don’t do it “meaningless.”
I do it because it made me smile, think and sometimes even get angry. I believe in every brush stroke. It keeps me going. I think: “someone is going to love this!”
Sometimes, a drawing is “liked” once, other times liked and shared hundreds of times. I like each one or I would not draw them! I believe someone else will enjoy it too. That is all I can do, put it out there. I believe our message is getting around. It is my faith and belief in something bigger than me, us, and Cannabis that really keeps me at it!