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Canadian author speaks candidly about cannabis and aging in ASG’s first What’s the Big Idea event

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Ian Brown, an author and writer for the Globe and Mail, led a riveting talk on October 18 as the kickoff to What’s the Big Idea co-hosted by ASG and Henry of Pelham. The interactive session was moderated by Stephen Remus of the Niagara Artists Centre

In an evening gathering inside the winery, Brown read from Sixty: A Diary of My Sixty-First Year and spoke about his cannabis reporting — notably one company’s transformation of the struggling community of Smiths Falls in eastern Ontario.

After reading the opening passage from his book, Brown said his 61st year — documented as a diary — brought him a new awareness of the passage of time and his own mortality.

It’s the relationships that matter in this segue, he notes, with time passed and time to come now in real focus. Aging, aside from the inevitable body changes, also offers accumulated wisdom and perspective gained from decades of experience.

Included in his talk were nuggets about his on-site research into Canopy Growth and its recent redevelopment of a shuttered Hershey’s plant into a thriving legal cannabis production facility.

At one time, Smiths Falls was in dire straits with the loss of the chocolate factory and other closures that swiftly eliminated about 1,700 jobs. Fighting stigma elsewhere, the company was welcomed in the small town, and now employs about 800 people. Its downtown is rapidly becoming revitalized as a result.

He noted that pot is illegal, because it gets you high, not because it is a dangerous addiction, like alcohol and gambling. Its bad reputation is not based on medical science, but from a cultural prohibition that — until recently in Canada— was supported by a broad legal ban.

The salon series What’s the Big Idea continues on Nov. 22 with renowned Canadian author, writer and poet Puneet Dutt.

For tickets and more information about the continuing series, visit:



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