Pubdate: Tue, 25 Nov 2008
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jenny Yuen
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Charges At Kindred Cafe Trigger Protest

They passed around a joint for the coffee shop they love. About a
dozen people -- many smoking pot -- gathered at Old City Hall
yesterday to protest marijuana trafficking charges laid at the Kindred
Cafe last week.

Members of the Toronto Hash Mob chanted, "We're here, we're high, get
used to it!" to early morning commuters on Queen St. W.

"If we legalize and regulate marijuana, then we can easily raise $1
billion in this province to get people homes, food and jobs," said
Hash Mob member Michael Bone, 55. "Let us have our medicine."

Two employees were charged with trafficking and five patrons for
possession of marijuana after a raid late Thursday sparked by
complaints in the Yonge-Wellesley Sts. community, police said.

The cafe's owner Dominic Cramer's bail hearing is set for 9 a.m. today
at Old City Hall.

Undercover officers claim they purchased marijuana-laced milkshakes,
hot chocolates and baked goods inside the club.

"We don't understand why (the charges) happened after three years of
being in business," Chad Cooke, a spokesman for the Kindred Cafe, said
at the rally. "We have a rooftop patio for marijuana users, mostly for
medicine. We thought it was an okay thing." The coffee shop on
Breadalbane St. has very "strict rules" for rooftop patio users and
"nothing is sold there. People are bringing it themselves."

The cafe will re-open in a few days, he said.

Officers found that many people didn't have government-issued
certificates for medicinal marijuana use, Det.-Sgt. Paul MacIntyre

A YouTube video of the cafe in which an employee states, "this is not
a legal business, we choose to break some laws," piqued police
interest, MacIntyre said.

"I can't say if there's any ongoing investigations right now on other
cafes, but we do follow up on any complaints we get," he said.
"Kindred Cafe was not on our radar until we got a complaint."

The raid has caused similar coffee houses to keep a low profile. A
Kensington Market tobacco shop and cafe owner said she "didn't want to
make any comment and please don't mention (the name of) mine in the

Not surprising, said Cramer's lawyer, Alan Young, who estimates there
are a half dozen such cafes in the city.

"The idea is to fly slightly under the radar screen and be transparent
so that you're not hiding anything, but you don't throw it into
people's face," Young said.

"Police have been fairly tolerant because they have more pressing
priorities. Without that suspicion of trafficking, I think police were
quite happy to leave things alone."

Vancouver cannabis libertarian Marc Emery called the police raid over
a "$15 milkshake, allegedly with cannabis in it" a waste. "There's no
public safety reason to arrest pot people. The (raid) probably costs
the taxpayers of Toronto $20,000. It's good to see that Toronto can
afford all that in these dark times."
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