Hemp BC and Cannabis Cafe Closed
Cannabis Culture: HotpotHemp BC and Cannabis Cafe Closed15 Jun, 1999, Reverend Damuzi (Cannabis Culture Magazine Special Report)
Hemp BC and Cannabis Cafe Closed by order of the Supreme Court
Politicians and the legal system conspire in their closure
On June 9, BC Supreme Court Justice Thomas Melnick upheld a city council
decision to deny Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe their business licence. At
the same time, Melnick granted an injunction to Vancouver city council
lawyers to close the two proprietorships.
Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe were founded by marijuana activist Marc
Emery, who stirred up local, national and even international politics by
thrusting reefers into the lenses of cameras from his throne at Hemp BC
since 1994. When Emery's message received major media coverage, his stores
were raided by Vancouver Police. Behind the scenes on attempts to close the
stores was Philip Owen, the city's mayor. Now the two locations are closed,
and their phones disconnected.
The closure of the cafe represents a victory for Owen, who has waged a
personal battle against Hemp BC since he took office in an election race
against Marc Emery, who ran on a platform of city-wide tolerance for
marijuana users, growers and distributors. Since his inauguration, Owen has
repeatedly urged Vancouver Police to raid the store, publicly vowed that
the store would be "toast", and organized city conferences featuring
well-known prohibitionists from the US. At times, Vancouver police have
cooperated with US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents in
collecting evidence against Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe. Mayor Owen's
connections with US prohibitionist bigwigs leads to the conclusion that the
mayor has made himself the representative and pawn of US interests in
Vancouver, and that the NCIS investigation was a reflection of that reality.
Mayor Owen's final attempt to close Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe involved
denying the stores their business licence, on the basis that first Emery,
and then Icee, had criminal records - charges of selling paraphernalia
stemming from raids on the stores. The city hearings into the matter were
characterized by shows of bad faith and slander against Icee. The city
presented reams of tabloid fodder concerning Marc Emery's previous
ownership of the store, Sister Icee's personal life and beliefs, and
problems stemming from the red-light district several blocks away (with the
suggestion that they were caused by Hemp BC). Previously the city had
promised, in Supreme Court, to focus only on issues directly related to the
granting of a business licence.
By upholding the city's injunction to close Hemp BC, the Supreme Court of
British Columbia has given a big thumbs up to the untold abuse of fairness
and decency in the province. The Supreme Court has effectively told local
police that it is okay to represent US interests on Canadian soil. Okay to
hold biased and unfair hearings, and to break promises made under oath.
Okay to use government offices as a weapon against political rivals. In
effect, the Supreme Court decision has not only thrown the administration
of justice into disrepute, it has also made a mockery of government.
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