Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 Daily Press (CN ON)
Contact:  187 Cedar Street South, Timmins, Ontario, Canada P4N 7G1
Fax: (705) 268-7373


TIMMINS - Hemp activist Marc Emery drew a crowd of about 200 people in 
front of the Timmins Police station Saturday, baiting police to arrest him 
while he distributed his magazine and puffed on the occasional joint.

``We are fully entitled to smoke and sell and grow marijuana because 
marijuana is fabulous,'' Emery said to the applause and cheers to those who 
showed up for a free, signed copy of his magazine.

Timmins Police did not arrest him.

At times waving his hands about like a street-corner preacher, the 
42-year-old Emery called pot smokers the ``most persecuted culture'' and at 
one point led those around him in a chant of: ``Grow more pot! Grow more pot!''

Emery's appearance in Timmins from his home in British Columbia comes after 
Timmins Police requested that copies of Cannabis Culture be pulled off the 
shelves of 14 distributors.

Joe Romualdi, a member of the Timmins Police drug unit, had initiated the 
move after a Grade 7 student in Timmins came to school with a copy of the 

At the time, Romualdi issued a statement stating, ``To sell or distribute 
the magazine is illegal'' and that any city store owners who continued to 
carry the publication ``would be dealt with.''

Emery quoted Romualdi to his audience and asked: ``What kind of threat is 
that? That's no different than it was in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany.''

No police officer has the right to say you can't read about marijuana, he 
said to the sounds of, ``Right on! Right on!''

``What's next? Tattoo magazines? Biker magazines?,'' Emery asked.

``It's only a matter of time before they try pulling those off the shelves 
too,'' he told the crowd.

Emery handed out about 300 copies of his bi-monthly magazine which has been 
in publication now for six years.

Romualdi had referred to the publication as a ``crime comic'' which would 
make its distribution illegal.

However, that section of the Criminal Code dealing with crime comics - 
Section 163, Subsection 7 - states that a publication depicting criminal 
activity must be ``substantially'' pictorial for its distribution to be 

That's where the Timmins Police were wrong in ordering his magazine off the 
shelves, said Emery.

He said his magazine has lots of photos but it's mostly filled with 
articles about legal issues and recent court decisions, information on how 
to cultivate marijuana, stories about the use of grass in spiritual and 
religious ceremonies and coverage about recent social events or pot parties.

``Our magazine is not an illustrated magazine. It's not aimed at 
children,'' he said.

``The average age of our subscribers is 28 to 45. The content is 
sophisticated and not really the kind that any young person would really 

Emery's lawyer, Alan Young, faxed a letter to Timmins Police Chief Denis 
Lavoie this past week ordering the Timmins Police to ``cease and desist'' 
with its arrest threats or face a $250,000 civil lawsuit.

``That's for lost revenue and punitive damages to the police for exercising 
unlawful and unconstitutional authority,'' Emery told The Daily Press.

The police were also told to issue a letter of apology to Emery for the 
violation of his expressive freedoms.

Young gave Timmins Police until Oct. 30 to comply or face a court battle.
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