Pubdate: Sun, 29 May 2005
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Author: Kate Dubinski
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


A poetic pot activist rhymed out his reasons for battling Canada's 
marijuana laws at a rally yesterday as the Gus Macker basketball tournament 
roared in the background.

"There's a little poem I've got, that makes a case for pot. Though a poet I 
am not, I've given this much thought. Is there hard data? A lot. What's 
pot's greatest danger? Getting caught," rhymed Hamilton cabbie and pot 
activist Chris Lawson as a handful of protesters looked on.

The demonstrators said they were responding to the London police's 
"misguided efforts" to shut down the Hippy Sanctuary and "targeting 
mom-and-pop grow-ops."

The owner of the Hippy Sanctuary was charged with possession of marijuana 
in late March after complaints about people smoking pot. The cafe was the 
first in the city to cater to pot smokers.

"We want pot legalized. People should not be getting a criminal record for 
smoking pot," said Lawson said, lighting a joint.

Lawson, a cabbie, writes poems about marijuana -- with titles such as, In 
Our Very Hearth and Soul, It Seems, We have a Pot-Shaped Hole -- and 
recites them at pro-pot rallies and to the fares he picks up.

Yesterday's rally, planned for Victoria Park, moved to the well-trimmed 
lawn of London Life, then to the Peace Garden at the Forks of the Thames.

Lawson said he smokes marijuana to ease chronic back pain, as well as to 
soothe his asthma symptoms and to help his appetite and sleep.

"Outside of marijuana use, I'm not a criminal," said another rally 
participant, Nathan Ouellette. "The transparency of pot laws is becoming 
more and more apparent the more we talk about it."

His friend, Claude Lebeau, said the federal government should legalize pot 
and pocket the profits.

"Regulate it like tobacco and alcohol, because it is a mind-altering drug," 
Lebeau said. "It would be a huge boon for the government."
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