Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jul 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: John Colebourn
Page: 4


Pro-Marijuana Activists Go Ahead With Their Annual Protest Despite 
Warnings From the City

What a bong show. Pot activists and Vancouver police clashed at a 
Canada Day demonstration on Wednesday at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

At least four people were arrested as the so-called protest stretched 
into a long, hot day full of pro-pot propaganda on the concrete steps 
of the art gallery.

In defiance of a City of Vancouver order not to hold the annual 
Canada Day marijuana protest on the gallery's large north plaza, 
activists and vendors started setting up their booths early Wednesday 
at the south end of the public facility.

Last month deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston told organizers of the 
annual rally to take their show somewhere else. The group was also 
warned not to advertise the event and notified that vendors could 
operate or set up tents only if the proper permits were acquired.

With cases full of glass pipes and bongs that range in price from $10 
to $500, artist Elisha of Leash Glass said she was on hand more to 
protest than to make a profit from selling her handmade goods.

"I make money, but that is not what this day is about," she said. 
"Being here is a protest about how they should legalize marijuana."

Even the Prince of Pot was among those in the crowd. Marc Emery, who 
spent five years in a U.S. prison on drug charges, walked around with 
a huge joint that he said had an ounce of pot in it.

"There has been a terrible change at city hall," he said of the 
city's decision to demand people obtain permits. "They are looking 
for confrontation," he added of the large number of police standing 
around the edge of the rally.

Rej Houle, who is with the pot dispensary called Budzilla, said they 
set up only two booths this year instead of the seven they had at the 
event last year. He said they did not go to city hall for permits.

"We are here, we are proud and we aren't going away," Houle said.

NPA Coun. George Affleck said councillors made the decision on the 
rally because it requires publicly paid staff such as police and 
medics. "I would say, to be fair, they should apply like any other 
event to get a permit," he said. "It is a trade show, in effect," 
Affleck added.

But people staffing this year's event said they couldn't bring in 
portable toilets, or set up first aid or water tents, or have 
security as in past years when vendors were charged for their tables. 
With temperatures soaring on the concrete space where vendors set up, 
pot smokers showed their defiance to police.

Among those taken off to jail was Bert Easterbrook, the recipient of 
a police citation for being a hero during the Stanley Cup riot.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom