Saturday June 5, 2004:
From the Parliament Hill webcam
A better crowd shot, taken a bit later than the webcam one
Dom Cramer from THC, TCC, CSA, etc. and Fill The Hill's Master of Ceremonies
Jack Cole, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Jian Ghomeshi, CBC TV
Sun, June 6, 2004
Legalize it, ex-cop tells Hill pot rally
By LAURA CZEKAJ, Ottawa Sun
Jack Cole is not the type of person you would expect to see at a rally to legalize pot. During his 26-year career with the New Jersey state police, Cole spent 12 years as an undercover narcotics officer. His investigations ran the gamut from street drug dealers to international drug trafficking organizations.
Now retired, the Medford, Me., resident has taken a decidedly different stance on illegal drugs.
FORCE CRIMINALS OUT
Cole is a founding member and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an international, drug-policy-reform organization consisting of current and former members of law enforcement.
"I believe in legalizing all drugs," he said, explaining that legalization would allow the government to regulate and control the distribution, consumption and production of these substances, forcing criminals out of the equation.
Cole said his views on the legalization of drugs are shared by many in law enforcement, but most don't speak out for fear of retribution within the ranks.
"When I speak to police officers on a one-to-one basis, they almost always agree with me that the war on drugs is a dismal failure," he said.
The retired cop found an attentive crowd in those who gathered on Parliament Hill yesterday to protest marijuana prohibition and advocate regulation.
The Fill the Hill rally drew an estimated crowd of 1,500 people.
Later, a man was arrested at nearby Nepean Point for having a hockey bag full of marijuana. The 1,330 grams of pot had been divided into 400 separate baggies and had a street value of about $20,000.
Manifestation pour réclamer la légalisation du cannabis
Mise à jour le dimanche 6 juin 2004, 11 h 14 .
Les manifestants réunis sur la colline du Parlement ont demandé aux
différents partis de se prononcer sur la question avant le scrutin
du 28 juin.
Marc Paquette, qui a besoin de marijuana parce qu'il est gravement
malade, croit qu'il est temps que le gouvernement soit plus clair
concernant la consommation de marijuana à des fins médicales.
« Il y a une grosse discrimination qui se fait contre les exemptés,
ceux qui sont légaux médicalement au Canada, ils ont une grosse
discrimination envers eux autres, on est pas aidés tel que promis
par notre gouvernement on est ici aussi pour mettre fin à ça »,
soutient M. Paquette
Le chef du Parti Marijuana, Marc-Boris St-Maurice, croit que tous
les partis doivent se prononcer en faveur de la légalisation de la
« Le prochain gouvernement doit agir pour légaliser la marijuana et
tout au moins assouplir la loi, il n'y a pas de surprise que tous
les partis ont une position là-dessus », a-t-il déclaré
En ce moment, le NPD, le Bloc Québécois et le Parti Libéral sont
pour la décriminalisation de la marijuana.
Les libéraux avaient d'ailleurs présenté un projet de loi dans
lequel une personne transportant moins de 15 grammes de cannabis,
n'écoperait que d'une amende.
Ce projet de loi est toutefois mort au feuilleton avec le
déclenchement des élections.
MY M.C. / MODERATOR / SPEAKER NOTES:
Hello everybody, welcome to Fill The Hill!
Wow, what a gorgeous and exciting day!
We really could not have asked for better timing, eh?
We’re in the midst of a uniquely strange epidemic of election fever and confusion.
We’ve seen shocking levels of unaccountability, hypocrisy, and negligence.
We’ve borne witness to unnecessary suffering that simply should not be allowed in so advanced a society as ours.
But we in this movement have also experienced lots of progress and optimism and opportunity.
We have huge, widespread, and growing support - locally and internationally.
Many steps forward, too many steps back.
Unfortunately, Canada seems stuck now between a Liberal government that’s degenerated into stagnant complacency, and a strangely un-Canadian Conservative corporate “alternative” that would increase our futile and destructive efforts on the war on drugs, among other regressive policies.
It seems that either majority would mean a government by the corporations, for the corporations.
What are we kind-hearted Canucks to do?
We can’t sit back and hope that “they,” or “somebody else” will do it.
We are “they,” and if we don’t do it, nobody will.
We’re here today, on behalf of so many suffering citizens, and on behalf of reason and compassion overall to demand change.
Change that is ridiculously long overdue.
Change that would unburden our society in so many ways,
Change that would right so very many wrongs.
There's a lot of passion and patriotism involved in this kind of effort.
Our Nation has a great and pressing opportunity to lead the world in a brighter direction.
I think that’s what the Canada we know and love is about.
We Canadians are unwilling participants in the misguided war on drugs, unwilling victims of the downward spiral inevitably caused by waging that war.
We Canadians are neither stupid enough, nor corruptible enough to put up with it any longer.
Anyway, please allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Dominic Cramer, and I'm greatly honoured to have been asked to act as your MC / moderator today.
Ten years ago, I opened a little store and resource centre called Toronto Hemp Company, also known as THC.
That was back in the pioneering days of Chris Clay's Great Canadian Hemporium in London (now known as the Organic Traveler), Marc Emery's Hemp BC in Vancouver (now, basically, known as the Marijuana Party Bookstore), and Mike Foster's Crosstown Traffic which is still going strong here in our Nation's beautiful capital.
Those were very interesting times, and I think things have gotten much more interesting in many ways over the years.
6 years ago now, wow how time does fly, I helped my friend, Warren Hitzig, open the Toronto Compassion Centre, a not for profit medical marijuana resource facility.
That was back in the days of Dennis Peron's Buyer's Club in San Francisco and a young British Columbia Compassion Club Society run by Hilary Black in Vancouver.
Things have been real hectic since then.
With perseverance and kind intentions, we’ve been able to make lots of progress and help a lot of people.
Many excessively futile court battles, bittersweet victories, later the TCC is moving right along; taking part in valuable research, supporting progress and increased awareness wherever possible, providing its members with a great little support centre, and providing an impressive variety of high-quality cannabis medicine options, including a $4 per gram special that's been available now steadily for almost a year.
And I'm talking about actual beautiful bud, not the 3% THC insult that Health Canada's been forcing upon their handful of unsuspecting exemptees.
Many thanks go out to kind growers, hard-working staff members, and compassionate supporters everywhere!
A couple years ago, I took part in establishing a little exotic seed and houseplant shop called Sacred Seed.
And in about a week, my newest work of entrepreneurial activist art will reveal itself to the public - a garden supply shop, glass art studio, marijuana history museum and Cannabis community centre called The Herb Collective (also THC).
I was recently asked to serve as Regional Coordinator for a wonderful organization called Canadians for Safe Access.
That’s right, we’ve been real busy lately!
For many of us Fill The Hill is, while clearly an extremely special event, yet one more in a long history of acts of civil service.
And for many others here, this is likely the first such experience, the first amazingly fulfilling show of strong character and concerted effort to make a difference.
Either way, you should all be very proud!
Some of us have the opportunity and/or honour and/or burden of being, really, full time activists.
Some of us are able to contribute only occasionally, or even anonymously.
It takes all kinds.
As far as I’m concerned, it's all about deciding on and embracing the notion that life isn't much if you can't have a beneficial impact on society, Mother Nature, and the lives of those around you.
Activism can be a wonderful, but often very painful, commitment.
Especially if you’re in less than perfect health.
For some reason people don't generally comprehend the stresses and hardships human rights activists suffer, it’s perhaps too easy to think that activism is somehow all fun and games.
In fact, activist burnout is a very real and dangerous threat.
Healthy doses of moderation and stress-reduction are absolute necessities.
You'll hear lots today about the trials and tribulations we've had to face in recent years, as well as many victories, accomplishments and High Hopes.
Every little bit of support and effort can go such a long way in increasing our collective effectiveness, ability and impact.
I sincerely hope that each and every one of you gains a somewhat greater appreciation today for YOUR importance in all of this.
Each individual truly can have a great positive impact on our society, locally and globally.
Thank you for being here, and congratulations everyone. Keep it up!
I believe the crux of this issue is that the Cannabis Sativa plant is just so obviously an enormously helpful friend of humanity.
The versatility, the amazingly beneficial impact it has on our health, our environment, our lives.
And on the other hand, the prohibition of cannabis has caused, and will continue to cause, infinitely more damage to EVERYTHING, EVERY DAY, than the plant could ever cause.
You really have to have your head quite deep in the sand to not understand this.
And then there's the pressing question of the millions of people world-wide who could really benefit from cannabis medicine if they were allowed access to it.
People whose lives are put into further jeopardy for absolutely no logical reason.
People that don't deserve to be ignored and disrespected as our system so blatantly does.
Cannabis must become available to anyone who chooses it for whatever reason they see fit.
The rampant discrimination has to end.
Further, most so-called recreational cannabis use has an important medicinal aspect, and what on earth is wrong with therapeutic cannabis having a social or otherwise ‘recreational’ component?
The only logical option, the inevitable outcome, is a complete repealment of our retarded pot prohibition, full amnesty for all those convicted in the past, and reasonable regulation based upon logic and compassion.
We can evolve and overcome this insanity.
It’s up to all of us to determine how much longer it has to take.
And never forget, this cannabis situation is very relevant to, and often representative of, far greater questions of human rights and social justice.
It isn't just the wonderful herb that we care about. It's so much more than that. If we didn’t care, we sure wouldn’t be here.
And so the cannabis issue has become a very telling one - ask somebody what they think about legalizing pot, and you can generally get a pretty good idea of how ignorant and brainwashed, or how thoughtful and reasonable they might be.
Anyway, let’s talk about today’s scheduled speakers:
First, Libby Davies, NDP Health Critic, MP, and pivotal part of the House of Commons SNUD Committee couldn’t make it. Best of luck with your election campaign, Libby!
Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin also was unable to join us today, but did provide us with a very special letter to be read shortly.
In person, we have:
Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society and Canadians for Safe Access,
Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy,
Jason Gratl replacing Kirk Tousaw from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,
Jian Ghomeshi of CBC and Moxy Fruvous,
Jude Renaud of Educators for Sensible Drug Policy,
Loretta Nall, leader of the U.S. Marijuana Party,
Alison Myrden: NDP Candidate and operator of the Marijuana Mission,
John Akpata, poet and Marijuana Party of Canada (Ottawa South) candidate,
Chris Lawson, Pot Poet and activist,
Alan Young, lawyer, law professor and author,
David Malmo-Levine of Pot-TV and his Harm Reduction Club,
Marco Renda of Treating Yourself,
Marc-Boris St. Maurice, leader of the Marijuana Party of Canada,
And Marc Emery, from the BC Marijuana Party, emeryseeds, cannabis culture magazine, and pot tv.
These are names that mean a whole hell of a lot to me and will mean lots to you by the time this great day is over, if they don’t already.
Wonderful, hard-working, kind people with so much experience and wisdom to share.
I'm extremely proud to call them my friends and colleagues. And so should you be too.
Wow, we’re in for a real treat here today folks.
On that note, I’d like to say a great big thank you to all of our sponsors and those hard-working groups, companies and individuals across the Nation that made all of this possible.
And I should point out that across Wellington Street over there behind you all there is a building called the National Capital Commission Centre, and inside that building you’ll find all the air conditioning, bathrooms, and refreshments you might need.
It’s a beautiful day. Please take care to avoid dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburn.
For those who choose to medicate, please consider doing so within the safety of the crowd. The police aren’t here to harass us, and of course you deserve the right to smoke your meds wherever you like, but there’s nothing wrong with being careful and respectful.
Jody Pressman is the Fill the Hill Coordinator and main driving force. He has just recently graduated in Political Science and Law from Carleton University in Ottawa. Jody has had an avid interest in politics for as long as he can remember. Prior to prorogation of parliament in the fall of 2003, he attended all of the public hearings of the liberal’s so-called 'decriminalization bill'. He has organized The Fill the Hill: Freedom March on Parliament Hill on June 5, 2004 to create an important opportunity for national expression by all Canadians who feel that the issues most important to them such as medicinal and recreation are not being heard.
Alright, with that said, and without further adieu, I’ll introduce our first speaker.
We’ll start off with the reading of Senator Nolin’s bilingual submission, by Marc-Boris St.Maurice.
Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin is Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. Among the findings of the Committee’s report was the following quotes:
“It is remarkable that, over seventy-five years later, we should still not know why cannabis was placed on the list of prohibited drugs.”
“Cannabis is widely used in every part of the world, does not have the harmful effects ascribed to it, and poses little risk to public health.”
And don’t worry, Marc-Boris will be coming back up, so I’ll let you know all about him then.
Marc-Boris St. Maurice on behalf of Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin:
And thanks to the Senator, wherever he may be!
Very insightful and encouraging words from a very wise man.
As much as we all would love to see Canada take more of a leadership role in the cannabis issue, it’s great to see Senator Nolin doing exactly that, working towards progressive changes to the international framework. Cool.
OK. Next up is Philippe Lucas.
Born in Montreal and now residing in Victoria, B.C., Mr. Lucas is the founder and director of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society a Canadian non-profit therapeutic cannabis research and distribution center; and Canadians for Safe Access, a medicinal cannabis patients-rights organization. A former secondary school teacher, he also serves as Director of Communications for DrugSense, and is one of about 800 Canadians who are currently allowed to legally use therapeutic cannabis.
An experienced cannabis researcher and drug policy reform advocate, Mr.Lucas has recently presented before the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, the House of Commons Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, the American Association of Pain Management, the Health Canada Office of Cannabis Medical Access Advisory Committee, and the Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics.
Philippe’s the guy who was told by a judge that his cannabis dispensary is a valued public service and that he should continue helping people.
Our government did not appeal.
Last week, our RCMP raided and destroyed Phil’s Vancouver Island Therapeutic Cannabis Research Institute, a high-tech research and cultivation facility and the soul source of medicine for the Vancouver Island Compassion Society’s hundreds of members.
We’ll now hear from Crystal LeBlanc on behalf of Libby Davies.
Libby was first elected as Member of Parliament for Vancouver East in 1997. Re-elected in November 2000 she is the NDP House Leader and federal NDP Spokesperson for Social Policy; Housing and Homelessness; Human Resources Development Canada; and Post Secondary Education.
Her history as a strong community activist for Vancouver East began over 30 years ago. She and her late husband, Bruce Eriksen, were key figures in the formation of the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA) in 1973. In 10 years of community organizing, Libby developed her strong grassroots approach to working with people and diverse communities.
In 1982 Libby was elected to Vancouver City Council and served 5 consecutive terms. She became involved in every community issue, from protecting community services to developing affordable housing, fighting for parks and working for the elimination of poverty.
From 1994 to 1997 Libby worked with the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) serving in the role of Ombudsperson for Human Rights, as well as Complaints Investigator, and Coordinator of Human Resources
Since being elected Member of Parliament, Libby has provided a strong voice for East Vancouver. In the House of Commons she has consistently raised issues of concern to her constituents including community safety, affordable housing, adequate childcare, and post-secondary education. Libby's community office has helped hundreds of residents with federal government matters such as immigration, student loans, employment insurance, taxation, pensions, and Aboriginal affairs.
Libby has been an outspoken advocate for drug policy reforms to stop the criminalization of drug users and the harm caused by Canada's prohibitionist policies. Libby has received awards from organizations such as the Vancouver and District Labour Council and the YMCA who have acknowledged her lifelong fight for social justice and equality.
Crystal Leblanc, NDP Candidate for Ottawa-Orleans on behalf of Libby Davies:
Our next speaker will be: Eugene Oscapella!
Eugene Oscapella is an Ottawa lawyer and one of the founding members of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, an independent organization created to examine Canada’s drug laws and policies.
Mr. Oscapella was associated with the Law Reform Commission of Canada over a 14 year period, and was the first chairman of that body’s Drug Policy Group. He lectures on drug policy issues in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa and has lectured and been published widely in Canada and abroad on drug policy issues.
Mr. Eugene Oscapella:
Eugene’s been doing this a long time. He’s a true Canadian hero. He knows where it’s at. The uncountable harms of prohibition permeating every strata of society – and all with so obvious a solution.
Next up, we’ve got Jason Gratl.
Jason is here today in place of Kirk Tousaw.
Jason is a criminal defense lawyer and executive secretary of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
Oh yeah, it’s time for Jack Cole, the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Jack Cole knows about the war on drugs from several perspectives. Cole retired as a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police. For twelve of those years Cole worked as an undercover narcotics officer. His investigations spanned the spectrum of possible cases, from street drug users and mid-level drug dealers in New Jersey to international “billion-dollar” drug trafficking organizations. Cole ended his undercover career living nearly two years in Boston and New York City, posing as a fugitive drug dealer wanted for murder, while tracking members of a terrorist organization that robbed banks, planted bombs in corporate headquarters, court-houses, police stations, and airplanes and ultimately murdered a New Jersey State Trooper.
After retiring, Cole dealt with the emotional residue left from his participation in the unjust war on drugs by working to reform current drug policy. He moved to Boston to continue his education. Cole holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Masters degree in Public Policy. Currently writing his dissertation for the Public Policy Ph.D. Program at the University of Massachusetts, his major focus is on the issues of race and gender bias, brutality and corruption in law enforcement. Cole believes ending drug prohibition will go a long way toward correcting those problems.
Excellent. Don’t you wish all cops were like Jack!?
Well, you may have thought that the CBC was only here to interview us and record what we’ve got to say, but Jian Ghomeshi isn’t your average TV show host. Before CBC, you may know Jian from that crazy funky music group Moxy Fruvous. Now, he’s the host of CBC’s series called Play, and they’re bravely and valiantly working on an hour-long cannabis special to be aired on the 25th of this month, right before the big vote. How about that?
Alrighty, let’s hear what Jian Ghomeshi’s got to say!
Cops, celebrities, lawyers, and so much more here for you today, folks. Now, how about we hear from a very special school teacher?
Judith Renaud is the Executive Director of Educators for Sensible Drug Policy, (EFSDP) member of the Canadian Cannabis Coalition and member of the Alliance of Reform Organizations.
Judith has spoken in several school districts about drug programs and drug policy.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, most of her adult life has been spent in British Columbia, Canada.
During her 20 years in education Jude has been a Sessional Instructor at Simon Fraser University, an administrator and a teacher in the public education system.
After being an administrator in the northern parts of British Columbia, Judith faced teen suicides, drug and alcohol abuse and violence. She became concerned by the counter productive law enforcement and realized that many of the RCMP officers were as discontented as administrators and teachers with the lack of drug education in the schools and disapproved of the much criticized American D.A.R.E. program.
Current drug policy harms young people in many ways and Judith wants to do something about it.
After being appointed Director of Educators for Sensible Drug Policy Jude carried the gauntlet passed to her by Adam Jones who founded “TAP” Teachers Against Prohibition.
Jude took up the challenge and is helping to create an organization made up of teachers openly committed to Drug Policy Reform.
With her speech: “Prohibition is Anti Child and Anti Family,” Please welcome Judith Renaud:
So are we providing enough variety for ya? Pretty high-profile stuff, eh?
Here’s something yet again completely different.
Loretta Nall is president of the U.S. Marijuana Party, and the news anchor for Pot-TV news.
Wow. How amazing is that? Apologies on behalf of the USA. There really are many kind, great Americans, unlike what George Dubbya would have you believe!!
The States chose a single word to describe their Union a long time ago, and that word was LIBERTY. Perhaps that choice will mean something again some day.
Uh-oh, Here’s Alison Myrden!
Alison is a federal medical marijuana exemptee and owner of themarijuanamission.com. She is also a proud member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. In fact, Alison used to be a Corrections Officer. Tough cookie, don’t mess with her. Alison was recently chosen to represent the New Democratic Party of Canada as a candidate in the Oakville riding. She will be sharing her view from the perspective of a former Law Enforcement officer and an NDP rep.
What can I say, except that Alison kicks ass!
Well this should be cool.
Time for another local boy.
John Akpata is the Ottawa South riding candidate for the Marijuana Party of Canada.
John is Ottawa’s 2003 Slam Poetry Champion, and Ottawa’s 2004 CBC Poetry Face-Off Champion.
OK, let’s try something out.
We’d like to get an idea of where everybody’s from.
Who here is from Ottawa? Local people please scream or raise your hand!
Nice! How about people from Ontario outside of Ottawa?
Other parts of Canada?
How about the USA?
Excellent. What a turn-out!
Cool. Next up is Chris Lawson.
Chris describes himself as a Pot Poet, activist, ex-minister, school principal, NDP Party member and supporter. He is actively writing and campaigning for a greener planet.
Wow, what a line-up, and what a gorgeous day. Let’s hear it for this awesome weather! Somebody’s smiling down on us today. Next up is Professor Alan Young.
Wow. Where to start… Alan Young is, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, a lawyer, and an Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School.
He also teaches at Woodworth College at the University of Toronto, has written a ton of editorials and columns for newspapers, and has recently published his first book, entitled Justice Defiled.
In 1995 he successfully challenged the constitutionality of our drug literature prohibition, leading to the removal of a censorship that made the sale of a High Times magazine an offense punishable by 6 months in jail and/or $100,000.
Since then, he has represented a number of ‘hemp stores’ across the country, challenging that same criminal code section as it applies to drug paraphernalia.
He represents a bunch of exemptees and has provided, usually free of charge, counsel and advice to an uncountable number of medical users and people charged with simple possession.
He has also represented approximately 25 cultivators, preventing every one of them from jail time and establishing the precedent that the smell of marijuana by itself is not just cause to search a vehicle or home.
In 1997-98, Professor Young helped the Toronto Compassion Centre, along with 5 other buyer’s clubs, begin operating and publicly request authorization for our activity.
Alan Young has worked on a whole pile of super-important, high-profile cannabis cases, including Chris Clay’s, Jim Wakeford’s, and the Hitzig vs. Canada civil application, in which 7 medusers and the TCC sued the government over the inadequacies of their medical marijuana program.
Wanna hear what he’s got to say today? Here’s Alan Young:
And now, it’s Malmo time!
David Malmo-Levine describes himself as a Cannabis researcher/activist and cop rodeo clown. Yeeha!
David became a cannabis activist in 1993 in Edmonton, Alberta, where he began organizing smoke-ins and producing Potshot magazine. He moved to Vancouver in 1995, working with Hemp BC and Cannabis Culture. He got busted in 1996 and 97 for dealing cannabis openly in his "Harm Reduction Club". Since then, David's worked with the BC Compassion Club, Brian Taylor of Cannabis Health, and Pot TV (where he hosts the show "High Society"). With John Conroy's help, David represented himself at the Supreme Court of Canada for the right to sell pot. With his new company: "We're the Shit", David has begun to sell and promote organic fertilizers. His latest project - the "Ounces of Prevention Open-Air Marijuana Market Protest" - promises more fun and dignity at future Vancouver rallies.
Seriously, if you haven’t been to Holland, go book a flight to Amsterdam tomorrow! It really is a little dose of paradise.
I want to thank and congratulate everybody again for this great day. I know it’s been long, but oh so worthy.
And don’t forget, it’s almost 4:20, the golden hour. We’re going to enjoy a little 4:20 celebration, a ceremonial moment of silence for those we’ve lost along the way, and a time to spark up our favorite type of memorial candles. Roll em if you’ve got em.
Looks like our final three speakers are a Marco and two Marcs.
Marco Renda is a Medical User and Patient Advocate. He operates a compassionate organization known as Treating Yourself, and was one of the meduser applicants in the Hitzig v. Canada civil court case. Marco is known to go out of his way to help out fellow medusers, by running seed auctions and other acts of kindness.
Marc-Boris St. Maurice is the Marijuana Party of Canada Team Leader.
His slogan: Ending prohibition through political activism.
In the spring of 2002, Boris was requested to make the case for marijuana reform before both the House of Commons Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, and the Special Senate Committee headed by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin which ultimately recommended marijuana be legalized. He has appeared as an expert witness in a number of marijuana-related court cases.
In the spring of 2003 the extent of his commitment and contribution to the Montreal Compassion Club was recognized when he was asked to become the club’s director. His first task was to combat the maze of red tape which encumbers Health Canada’s medical marijuana program by facilitating and providing wider access to medical marijuana for the general public. He then relocated the club to an upgraded facility and working in conjunction with Bloc Pot leader Hugo St. Onge, opened Montreal’s first cannabis café at the old compassion club site — still conveniently located across the street from the police station.
These days, he travels the country, recruiting candidates, developing a program, and doing what he does best — preparing the Marijuana Party for the next great challenge — the 2004 federal campaign when Boris will take the marijuana message into the Montréal riding of LaSalle—Émard and face his chief opponent, Canada’s newly, unelected, de-facto Prime Minister, Paul Martin.
Marc-Boris St. Maurice:
How about a big round of applause for the cops that have been here today, and those wise cops all over who really care and take pride in serving and protecting US, and are sick of being forced to enforce bullshit laws.
We are not criminals, we like cops, we hate prohibition.
Also, it’d be great if everybody could pitch in just a little and pick up any garbage you see, even if you didn’t drop it yourself. We’re here proudly and with respect, and would love to be allowed back next year, wouldn’t we?!
Our final speaker of the day is the ‘Prince of Pot,’ Marc Emery
Marc is the BC Marijuana Party President and the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, the producer of Pot-TV and founder of Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe.
And this is kind of special for me, because it was a suggestion, really a call to action, from Marc Emery ten long years ago that led me to open THC, which really led to my being here.
In 1994 Marc founded Vancouver's Hemp BC, which quickly grew to include a "grow shop," the Cannabis Cafe, Cannabis Culture Magazine, and Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds. Marc began to draw international attention, and Hemp BC was raided by police in January, 1996, shortly after Marc was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The second raid came in December 1997, and Marc was forced to sell Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe. Two more raids under the new ownership forced Hemp BC to close down.
Marc's been in jail eight times for marijuana, and been raided four times for up to $600,000 dollars in assets. He's been convicted of trafficking in marijuana seeds, and of giving a small piece of hash to American tourists.
Marc served as a Marijuana Party candidate for the 2000 federal election in Vancouver Centre, receiving over 1000 votes.
Marc’s new store, the Marijuana Party Bookstore, is a real cool shop in Vancouver that houses a hemp store, garden supply, seed shop, sacred herb shop, as well as the PotTV studios.
Final thanks and congrats and hype for the upcoming election, a great summer, many more events including Fill The Hill 2005!
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