Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2006
Source: Kootenay Western Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Kootenay Western Star
Author: Charles Jeanes
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Remembering their notorious case nine years ago, co-owners of Holy 
Smoke Culture Shop in Nelson were in court Aug. 22, each charged with 
two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Their terms of release were reset to allow them to associate with 
friends and colleagues.

In 1997, Holy Smoke was raided and trafficking charges laid, but in 
preliminary hearing, the judge found police procedures were flawed 
and the case didn't reach trial.

Paul DeFelice and Alan Middlemiss, partners in Holy Smoke's 
"business/political movement," were arrested July 15 and Aug. 13 respectively.

For the Aug. 22 appearance, no judge - only Crown counsel Rob Brown 
and the defendants' lawyer Don Skogstad - were present, said 
Middlemiss.  DeFelice's case starts in October and Middlemiss appears 
in November.  DeFelice was arrested in an early evening raid outside his store.

Middlemiss surrendered to Nelson City Police voluntarily, was told 
there was a warrant for his arrest and returned an hour later to be 
arrested by NCP Const. Paul Burkart.

Holy Smoke is well-known for activism in the marijuana movement.  Its 
owners believe they can advance the cause of decriminalization and 
legalization in Canada by their open presence in Nelson and their 
public advocacy with events, such as their Baker Street parade in 
Nelson, Aug. 12.

Middlemiss said this case could lead to a victory in striking down 
the laws on marijuana.

He believes there is a way his case and his partner's can be won if 
their lawyer likes their strategy.  Middlemiss says he thinks the law 
on marijuana as a controlled substance is in abeyance ("the law of no 
law" he calls it) since the former Liberal government of Canada did 
not meet a judge's deadline to rewrite the law with provisions for 
medical use of pot.

"I welcome the platform and the spotlight, and I'll use them," said DeFelice.

"If they're going to set the table, I'll sit down to eat...I want to 
educate the public."

Middlemiss added drama to his case at NCP station by stripping when 
placed under arrest, explaining he removed his clothes in observance 
of non-violent protest tradition.

Middlemiss said he was anticipating a body-cavity search by the 
arresting officer, but there wasn't one, and Const. Burkart said he 
has never done such searches.

Sgt. Steve Bank said the arrests of Holy Smoke co-owners form part of 
larger investigations he and Burkart initiated.

A pound-and-a-half of pot and cash were seized during the search at 
DeFelice's arrest.

Bank said the idea that Nelson is a place where it's easy to get and 
use pot is wrong, and will be corrected because the community doesn't 
support Holy Smoke's activities.

Middlemiss questions Bank's knowledge of Nelson.

"Since when did he become spokesperson for the community?"
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