HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Kids And Dope A Losing Proposition
Source: Vancouver Province (Canada)
Pubdate: Friday 9 October 1998
Author: Mark Tonner


If using the police as a tool for journalistic self-promotion is still in
style, count me in!

Province columnist Peter Clough, who spends an inordinate amount of energy
poking at law enforcement and Vancouver police in particular, overstepped a
little this week. His piece likening VPD raids on the Cannabis Cafe to a
Cheech and Chong routine started out in good fun, but declined into

Maybe "bud" slinging is more apt. Clough wondered aloud if police
spokeswoman Anne Drennan had ever smoked pot, insisting that, as an
educated baby-boomer living in Vancouver, she fits the profile. He rolled
from there into a quote from controversial officer Gil Puder, who claims
his police colleagues are known to spark up in their off hours.

Between gulping pastries and swatting imaginary insects, I'm pinched for
time, but this begs reply. You see, there are things police officers
routinely forgive each other for. I'm not here to list them, but they're
associated to living in the dung-shower this kind of work can be.

There are, however, things which find no forgiveness within the policing
community. Atop that list? Theft and drug use. No matter how minor, they're
just not part of the program, and regardless of what you think about the
rest of it, that's a good thing.

Drennan is no pot smoker, and we both agree we'd avoid the drug even if it
became legal. The stuff shrinks your lungs, is more cancerous than tobacco,
destroys memory and thought processes, and any sense of euphoria imparted
is eventually stolen by long-term depressive effects.

True, we don't lie awake worrying about civilians smoking dope, but
Clough's mockery of police concern over children hanging out in the
Cannabis Cafe is difficult to decipher. "Ah, yes," he teased, "shackled to
a grow lamp in the corner, no doubt."

This is the liberal West Coast, but trying to convince people that kids and
dope are an OK mix is a losing proposition, even here. Even among the
pro-marijuana crowd, I'm guessing.

The raids on the Cannabis Cafe are indeed boring, particularly for the
officers wading through those stoned crowds, and most especially for those
we post to guard our vehicles -- the crowds commit vandalism upon them
every time we don't.

Marc Emery, longtime former owner of the cafe, is not the prince of a guy
he'd have you believe. During raids, the man would hang with the police
inside, speaking in friendly, conversational tones, then step out to the
crowd and chant "Let's storm the store while they're inside -- let's nail
the bastards!"

Nice work, from promoters of the "peace" drug. I don't know what the new
owner "Sister Icee" is like, but if she isn't more of the same I'll be

Clough closes by inviting Drennan to lunch, at a "nice little place."

Been there. A year ago, I wandered inside in uniform, drank hemp coffee and
ate hemp pizza with Emery himself. I wrote about the experience, though I
feel foolish now for doing it.

I'm told that, not long after, at another cafe raid, Marc Emery spat full
in the face of one of my friends, merely to gain attention for the "cause."

My advice to Anne? Don't do lunch there, although I have no doubt Peter
Clough is a fair gamble for noon-time company.

I've not met Peter, but he, Anne and I appear to be in the same age
demographic, with similar results.

By now, aging '60s and '70s types have either smartened up and found work
or fallen flat on their faces. Oh sure, we're angst-ridden, like everyone
else, and we never smarten up entirely, but our best brat years are behind us.

Right, man?

Const. Mark Tonner is a Vancouver police officer. The opinions and
statements contained in this column are those of the writer, not
necessarily those of the police department or the board. Tonner may be
contacted at The Province. 
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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski