Pubdate: Sun, 30 Nov 2003
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.


Police Arrest Pair At Montreal Marijuana Joint

MONTREAL -- High times were had by some yesterday as Montreal's first 
marijuana cafe opened its doors, less than a block away from a police 
station. Several police officers squeezed into Chez Marijane and arrested 
two men who were holding joints, said Hugo St-Onge, president of the Bloc 
Pot party.

"To tell you the truth, I'm surprised," St-Onge said from the police 
station, where he was helping the two men, aged 26 and 51.

"It's a waste of their time, a waste of money. But it's simple possession 
and it's illegal."

One of the men arrested has multiple sclerosis, he said.

The small cafe does not sell pot but people can bring their own.

St-Onge called the day a success despite the arrests.

"Only about two or three people left because of the police, the rest are 
still there."

Several dozen Montrealers compared pot-buds, sipped coffee and listened to 
music in the thick haze of marijuana.

"It's about time we had something like this," said one patron, looking 
around wide-eyed.

"The music, the atmosphere, it's amazing," said Antoine Debast, 23, peering 
through the smoke at the small cafe. "This is more like a rave than a cafe."

The building housing Chez Marijane was previously home to a club that 
provided pot to the seriously ill. Nearby businesses said they weren't 
worried about the cafe taking its place.

"Look at all the bars around here," said Yves Martel, owner of a nearby art 
gallery. "I'm more worried about the people who come out of them drunk, 
aggressive and vomiting all over the sidewalk.

Similar cafes have been opening across Canada after rulings by courts in 
Ontario, P.E.I. and New Brunswick this year that charges for simple 
possession of marijuana were unconstitutional.
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