HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Proprietors Promote Pot Peace
Pubdate: Thu, 28 Oct 2004
Source: View Magazine (Hamilton, CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 View Magazine
Author: Terry Ott
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


"Call out the instigator, because there's something in the air."
- --Thunderclap Newman

As improbable as it may seem for around these parts, the Up In Smoke
cannabis cafe at 227 King St. E is still open for business.

Despite almost daily visits from the local and federal narcs resulting
in several high profile arrests--including 76-year-old Jean Cooper--and
the confiscation of a lone, live marijuana plant with extreme
prejudice, the two-month-old store soldiers on.

In fact, the police may have unwittingly encouraged public sympathy
towards the cafe with the arrest of Ms. Cooper, as well as energizing
local potheads to rally, loudly.

Up in Smoke co-owners, Chris Goodwin and Ryan Clark have organized an
event to be held Nov. 4, in front of the John Sopinka Court House,
starring major marijuana movement mouth-piece Marc Emery.

Emery, who has been called Canada's "prince of pot," operates a
marijuana seed business, and recently spent time in the joint in
Winnipeg for his ganja crusade. In fact, Mr. Emery was so busy
preaching pot that he failed to respond by deadline to multiple e-mail
requests for comment.

But, in a blistering press release issued by the Up in Smoke and
Hamilton Compassion Society, the message for the Nov. 4 rally is
crystal clear.

"Responding to the heavy-handed tactics of the Hamilton police, who
harassed a 76-year-old woman (Jean Cooper) who was responsibly using
marijuana peacefully at the Up in Smoke cafe, and may have ruined a
25-year-old McMaster student's life (also busted by the Hammer
coppers) the Hamilton Compassion Society and Up in Smoke announce a
protest and community forum in Hamilton.

"With over 1,000 people in our 'database,' we are going to have the
biggest and loudest protest this city has ever seen," promise the
doobie brothers and sisters UIS co-owner Ryan Clark said in an
interview that the cafe is continuing its effort to be certified as an
authorized medial marijuana supplier, but conceded that such a move
would require "our landlord's signature to satisfy the government's
three-tier system connecting growers, suppliers (and

Realistically, it may take UIS a year or longer--if in fact they are
successful--to get government certification as a compassion society,
allowing the store to dispense marijuana to legally entitled medical
marijuana users. Clark also said the cafe was "gradually being
renovated with a proper food menu in development," which is to include
veggie fare and, eventually, marijuana food products.

"Pot peace is needed to end Hamilton's terrible War on Drugs that sees
an elderly woman relaxing in the confines of an adult establishment
going to the hospital, not from ingesting her medicine (in this case
reefer) but from fear," proclaims an UIS missive.

According to Clark, at least one of the police officers who regularly
visits the cafe said that the last View story on Up In Smoke was
"pretty funny," although I'm fairly sure the cop did not mean that in
a humorous or engaging way.

The problem as I see it for Clark and Goodwin is that, as I already
noted in a previous dispatch, this city is not Toronto and certainly
not Vancouver.

Even newly minted Ward 2 councilor Bob Bratina, a Baby Boomer and
therefore no temperance man himself, said he thought that Up in Smoke
may be a little too "in the face" of the authorities, being located
right downtown, and less than a stoner's throw from the Hamilton
police central station.

Still, Ryan, who ends all of his written communications now with the
lawyerly "without prejudice," (which means theoretically he can not be
sued for libel for anything he says) is unbowed.

"Our message to the police: stop harassing our customers and patients.
We're here, we're high, get used to it," vows Clark.

I think the police will be watching the rally closely, and not in the
way you might first think.

Historically, the police in this city mostly respond to crime that
causes the majority of citizens to be offended, because that group is
where the cops get the most bang for their funded buck.

If a large number of everyday citizens--read taxpaying, municipal
voting, middle classers--turn up at the UIS rally Nov. 4, basically
saying the local medicinal pot palace should not be a high-priority
law enforcement target, then most likely the cops will forget about
it, or at least place it well down the list of vice- and avarice-
related targets.

On the other hand, if the rally is sparsely attended, or otherwise
just made up of local and out of town hardcore reefer freaks, then the
cops will be able to retort, "See? This is not something accepted by
the mainstream."

But Clark and Goodwin appear to have laid down the gauntlet, and
excuse the mixed metaphor, but we all will have to wait to see where
the wave breaks.
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