Pubdate: Wed, 15 Sep 2010
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Vancouver Courier
Author: Sandra Thomas


Herb Museum included drug-related memorabilia, artifacts

No one can accuse local pot activist David Malmo-Levine of being a

Just months after being released from prison for possession of
marijuana and magic mushrooms for the purpose of trafficking,
Malmo-Levine is organizing a fundraising art auction to resurrect his
Herb Museum, formerly housed at 123 East Hastings St. Malmo-Levine
said the museum was targeted in a February 2008 raid by the VPD--their
target was his Vancouver School of Drug War History and Organic
Cultivation, a.k.a. Herb School, which housed the museum.

"The Herb School was a form of civil disobedience," said Malmo-Levine.
"But for the three years and four months before it was raided I got to
live as a free man."

Malmo-Levine is determined to get the museum up and running again. His
efforts are supported by local artists who are donating partial
proceeds from the sale of their works through an online auction that
ends today, Sept. 15. A live auction takes place tomorrow, Sept. 16,
at The Dispensary on Thurlow Street. Malmo-Levine hopes to reopen the
Herb Museum above the B.C. Marijuana Party's headquarters at 307 West
Hastings St.

"I'm not selling marijuana anymore," said Malmo-Levine. "Through this
they turned me from a dealer into an art dealer."

Malmo-Levine said while not all of the art pieces are dedicated to
marijuana, they have a connection to hallucinogenic drugs, including
magic mushrooms and recreational pharmaceuticals.

"Artists and drugs have been connected since the beginning of art," he
said. "They help artists explore within themselves."

There are more than 100 paintings, drawings and carvings available
online, priced from $5 for a Ken Foster pen on found-canvas piece to
$7,000 for a watercolour by the same artist. A Bob High ink on paper,
dubbed Big Pharma, is priced at $700, while a carved mask by John
Walkus bearing a marijuana leaf across the eyes is $200.

The former Herb Museum included Malmo-Levine's vast collection of
drug-related memorabilia, medicinal bottles that once contained
cannabis and morphine, posters, news clippings and artifacts,
including a package of cocaine throat lozenges, and a picture of
what's believed to be Shakespeare's resin-filled pipe collection.
Malmo-Levine said the Herb School was created to educate people about
the culture of marijuana and offered "drug war" history walking tours
through the Downtown Eastside. Malmo-Levine also provided the history
component to the Vancouver Seed Bank's "Grow Classes." The goal of the
museum, said Malmo-Levine, is to act as a historical preservation
society about the use of marijuana as medicine, as well as the war on

During the trial that followed, Malmo-Levine became known as the
youngest person to represent himself at the Supreme Court of Canada.
He unsuccessfully argued the laws against the use and sale of
marijuana are unconstitutional and that jail time is not an
appropriate punishment for marijuana crimes. He was sentenced to four
months in prison and was released the day after the 2010 Olympic Games
ended in the city. Malmo-Levine surmises his release was timed to keep
him from speaking to international media.
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