HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Holy Smoke 'Shocked' By NY Times Article
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Nov 2004
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Nelson Daily News
Referenced: the NY Times article
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Story Indicates Downtown Store Openly Selling Pot; Not So Say

Holy Smoke Culture Shop is debunking statements published in the New
York Times last Sunday that alleged the store sold marijuana out of
its "produce section."

"We were a little shocked to see that," said Paul DeFelice, one of
three owners of the head shop.

In a Nov. 21 Times article titled "Greetings from Resisterville,"
reporter Fred Bernstein explored the controversy that erupted with the
announcement that a monument would be erected in the area honouring
U.S. war resisters who made their homes in the West Kootenay.

Bernstein stated that the area has a long history of war resistance
thanks to the Doukhobours and Vietnam draft resisters, who "dotted the
countryside with yurts and geodesic domes."

"The town has long been a haven for free spirits," he wrote and
continued on " 'It's quite a unique blend,' " said Alan Middlemiss, an
owner of the Holy Smoke, a store that sells marijuana in its 'produce
section.'  Selling marijuana is illegal in British Columbia but
tolerated by local authorities as long as minors are not served."

According to DeFelice, his business partner was troubled by the way
Bernstein quoted him in the paper, a publication that has an average
Sunday circulation of more than 1.6 million.

"It totally upset Alan when he read that, because it makes it sound
like it was a unique blend of pot but he's talking about the people
here," DeFelice told the Daily News.  "You'll see that that's in
quotes but the rest isn't."

DeFelice said that as far as he knows Middlemiss only spoke to the
reporter about the monument.

"Alan never made any of those comments."

Since the article appeared in the broadsheet just four days ago, a
"flood of people" who have read the article have wandered over to Holy
Smoke to check out the so called produce section.

"We want to counter that to say there's no pot for sale and there's no
produce section here," DeFelice stressed, adding that a sign was put
up inside the store stating so.

And as far as police being tolerant of marijuana trafficking, DeFelice
said that again no statements were made suggesting so.

"As far as I know they're not tolerant or anything like that.

There's no written or unwritten agreements," he said.  "As far as I
know they would still bust our [expletive deleted] given half a chance
or a complaint."

And that's something that just doesn't happen, said Nelson City Police
Sgt. Steve Bank.

"Interestingly enough we don't get any complaints about Holy Smoke
from anybody," Bank told the NDN after he read the Times article.

Police in Nelson certainly do not turn a "blind eye to" the store, as
trafficking cannabis is an illegal activity.

"It's still a criminal activity and it's considered as such by us,"
Bank said.  "It's not something that we condone or tolerate in any

Bank said he was "curious" about the statement that said selling
marijuana is illegal but tolerated by local authorities.

"Maybe they were misquoted," said the sergeant.  "I don't know where
they'd get that from."

Both DeFelice and the sergeant said the press definitely is bad news
for the community.

"From my perspective, it misleads people as to what the type of
community of Nelson is," Bank said.  "If they think they are going to
come here and be able to produce or traffic in drugs or marijuana
they're wrong.

For the Holy Smoke, the publicity worries them.

"We saw what happened to Da Kine in Vancouver," DeFelice

Da Kine Smoke and Beverage Shop was raided by police in September
after news stories about the east-side's cafe's open sales of
marijuana.  Pot was allegedly being sold to anyone who filled out a
form saying it was for medicinal use.  The owners are charged with
possession of pot for the purpose of trafficking. 
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