Toking in Ottawa... busted in Montreal
by Reverend Damuzi & Karlis (03 May, 2000)
While the feds invite med-pot users to smoke up at their workshop, cops storm Montreal's Club de Compassion.
Canadian feds held a special medicinal marijuana workshop on February 28, and invited all 20 official Section 56 med-pot exemptees to attend, along with representatives from the RCMP and medical groups.
Ottawa's Travelodge even set aside a 24-hour toking room for their special guests, encouraging them not to burn medicine in their rooms.
Yet while the feds were drawing up their ganja guest list and planning seminars on applying for a medical exemption, Quebec cops were raiding Montreal's Club de Compassion. Police stormed the club on February 10, weapons drawn, stealing all the club's files and 66 grams of bud.
They also arrested two volunteers, Marc (Boris) St-Maurice and Alexandre Neron, who also happen to be leaders of the Bloc Pot, Quebec's pro-pot political organization. The two were charged with possession, possession for the purpose, trafficking and conspiracy to traffic.
Health Minister Alan Rock refused to comment directly on the raid, saying only "I think the better approach is that patients are given access to marijuana that is safe and clean, from a government source."
Six weeks later the club reopened after police assured the club's operators, who were never arrested, that they could resume operation.
An undercover agent had obtained the warrant after alledgedly witnessing a "transaction" through a crack in a door. He had applied for but never received membership, and never got any bud from the club. "We were still waiting for his doctor's approval" says club founder Caroline.
The end of compassion?
Grant Krieger, founder of the Universal Compassion Centre (UCC) in Calgary, believes that it is the beginning of the end for medical cannabis clubs. He has resigned from his post at the UCC.
"I don't want to be associated with something the government is going to close down," asserts Krieger. "The government is making their own distribution plans for pharmaceutical profit, and when they have their plans in place everyone else will be shut down."
Workers at the Toronto Compassion Club have apparently also been arrested for supplying the sick with medicine, but don't want to discuss the matter.
Brian Carlisle of the Holy Smoke Alternative Healing Center in Mission, BC, has been suffering at the hands of the law. Police seized 160 kilos of cannabis in a recent raid, which Carlisle is suing to have returned.
"The government has no supply of good organic, high-quality marijuana," says Carlisle, who attaended the workshop in the vain hope to convince the feds to make him an official med-pot supplier. "Just make me the Minister of Marijuana, and I guarantee that within a yeareveryone in Canada who needs marijuana will have it."
BC courts have been showing leniency towards those busted for their involvment with Vancouver's club. The most recent of these was Marc Richardson, who had 6 kilos of bud and $6000 seized from his car.
Compassion Club directors testified that Richardson was buying and transporting pot for the club, so Judge Paradis gave Richardson a suspended sentence and six months probation, and ordered his $6,000 returned.
Judge Paradis explained "If there is a medicinal use for marijuana but the substance remains illegal, how are patients going to get what they need if they are unable to grow
National pot party
BlocPot founder Boris, also known for his band "Grim Skunk," is organizing a federal marijuana party. "We need at least 50 candidates across Canada to get on the ballot, and $1000 to enter each candidate," he explains.
He's now touring the country to promote the party and get public support. The bilingual Boris sees the language barrier between Quebec and BC as hindering cooperation between Canada's two premier marijuana provinces, and he'd like to see this change.
* Marc (Boris) St-Maurice at the Bloc Pot email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.blocpot.qc.ca
* Club Compassion de Montreal: 950 Rachel Est. Montreal, Quebec H2J 2J3; tel (514)521-8764
* Nelson Cannabis Compassion Club: tel (250) 352-9477; email: email@example.com
* Universal Compassion Centre: tel (403) 286-4088; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.drugsense.org/ucc
* Toronto Compassion Club: tel (416) 654-6120