David Malmo-Levine's Blog

Why I Got Busted Fighting The Pipelines and Why You Should Too

CANNABIS CULTURE - So I got busted on November 23, 2014 in the Burnaby Mountain "Conservation" Area.

I'm sure, given my history of being arrested, that some people might suspect it's just something I do whenever I can, just to be a pain in the ass.

I assure you, I have no love for the cuffs, the paddy wagon or the tiny cell they make you wait in for hours. The cuffs hurt and cut off circulation, the paddy wagon is always a bumpy ride (no padding or seat belts in that thing) and I hate being trapped in a tiny box. I'm as claustrophobic as they come.

Here are four reasons I suffered through all that, and why – if you live in British Columbia – you should strongly consider suffering through it yourself:

1) The proposed pipeline is destined to be an environmental catastrophe

If you happen to be uninformed about the greenhouse effect and climate destabilization, the following links are a crash course:







We can't allow any more billion dollar pipeline projects to go ahead. We need to shift the billions in subsidies we give to the non-renewable, C02-belching energy sector to renewables (all of which are minimally C02 creating, some of which are carbon sinks), rather than go ahead with any new projects.

And let's not forget about oil spills. Kinder Morgan (the corporation responsible for the current drilling and eventual Skytrain-sized pipeline through Burnaby Mountain) has a horrible track record when it comes to oil spills. Apparently, Burnaby has been drenched in oil by these jokers in 2007, because they don't even bother to keep track of where their pipelines are:

"... a Kinder Morgan pipeline in a neighbourhood near Burrard Inlet was broken by a contractor using a backhoe to dig sewer lines. More than 200,000 litres of crude oil sprayed homes in the neighbourhood and some leaked into the inlet. One of the key issues raised by the accident has been the accuracy of maps used by Kinder Morgan to locate its pipelines."


This company is not know for it's safety record:


The entire industry is not known for it's safety record. There have been 111 major oil spills SINCE THE EXXON VALDEZ spill in 1989 that painted 13,000-15,000 miles of coastline black with hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude.


If one of those tankers that came to scoop up Kinder Morgan's oil had a similar spill, the entire BC coastline right down to Portland Oregon plus the entire coastline of Vancouver Island could be covered in oil. Any way you look at it, Kinder Morgan's pipeline is a nightmare.

2) There was zero local public consultation

Kinder Morgan held their "public consultation meeting" in Calgary. According to the Mayor of Burnaby:

"Burnaby believes it is critical to ensure citizens can participate in the National Energy Board review process. We therefore requested that the National Energy Board hold a hearing in Burnaby or Vancouver. Kinder Morgan called our request “an attempt to delay and obstruct.”

The hearing then took place on October 9 in Calgary to determine whether or not Kinder Morgan can continue to break Burnaby’s bylaws and cut down trees in our Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area to enable Kinder Morgan to create a helicopter staging area and to drill bore holes for a project that has not been subject to public hearings and has not been deemed by any local, regional, provincial or federal government in Canada to be in the public interest."


Kinder Morgan has even refused to answer safety-related questions from the Mayor's office!

"When we did attempt to offer Kinder Morgan feedback about the project, asking 1,700 questions through the regulatory review process to attempt to clarify what they are proposing to do, where they are proposing to do it and the nature of the risks, the company chose not to answer 62% of our questions and gave partial answers to 14%. Kinder Morgan said most of the City of Burnaby’s questions were not relevant. In fact, the questions we asked are fundamental to attempting to ensure the safety of our citizens and our community. For example, we asked for Kinder Morgan’s Emergency Response Plan for the Burnaby Terminal. In response, Kinder Morgan told us that the plan is confidential and that they won’t provide the plan unless stipulated conditions are met, including Burnaby being willing to respond to any kind of event associated with the Trans Mountain Pipeline system within our jurisdiction – and signing a confidentiality agreement! In other words, we have to accept the project in our community before Kinder Morgan will share with us critical information that would allow us to assess its safety."


These guys remind me of the Ferengi from Star Trek, or the humans in Avatar.

3) The actual people who own the land – the Native people – are against the pipeline

The First Nations people have been out in front, initiating much of the protest against the pipeline. They did so at every step of the process:


They have made many unequivocal statements regarding the pipeline:

"For the Tsleil-Waututh nation, it is our sacred obligation," she said to a cheering crowd. "In our shared opposition to Kinder Morgan, we are many people paddling one canoe. Our united opposition and the sum of our collective voices will ensure this pipeline is never built."


They were there throughout the protest – they have permission to tend a "sacred fire" right next to the drill site that warms their observers – and came en mass again yesterday.

Apparently the recent court ruling that supports Native land right claims – that says that "the Crown was required to consult and accommodate claims" according to the BC Supreme Court – doesn't apply to the Burnaby Mountain "Conservation" Area.


4) We could be growing our fuel instead of drilling and mining it - without the environmental catastrophe

The solution, of course, is not to "use methods other than pipelines" for moving the oil, as some reporters would have you believe. The solution is to switch subsidies away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy and instead invest in renewable energy, like hemp ethanol:

Solar, wind, geothermal and wave are fine for feeding energy grids, but what should we be running our cars on? And what else besides wave energy can provide energy 24/7/365 regardless of the weather? The cheapest source of energy to replace oil and gas with – one that only requires a $270 to$700 dollar conversion kit to switch any gas powered car over (255) – is the switch to cellulosic ethanol. For just $200 million, a facility can be made that produces 30 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. (256)The US currently consumes about 134 billion gallons of gas per year. (257)For $300 billion, one could afford to make 1500 cellulosic ethanol plants,producing a grand total of 45 billion gallons of ethanol. For $3 trillion, one could afford to make 15,000 plants producing 450 billion gallons.

As luck would have it, the best source of cellulose from an energy crop is … industrial hemp.

1) doesn't need as much fertilizer or water as corn, switchgrass or other energy crops
2) doesn't require the expensive drying required of corn and sugar cane
3) can be grown where other energy crops can't
4) is more resistant to "adverse fall weather" than other crops and
5) has long been known to be the lowest-moisture highest-cellulose crop – hemp stalks being "over 75% cellulose"according to a 1929 paper from Schafer and Simmonds, with more conservative estimates indicating 53-74% of the bark being cellulose.

According to the Stanford Research Institute and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, it is woody,low-moisture herbaceous plants that make the best biomass for liquid fuels. Hemp is both a low moisture herbaceous and a woody plant. (258)

Furthermore, hemp ethanol would eliminate

1) oil wars (hemp can grow in sand, thus in nearly every country on earth), (259)
2) oil spills (a hemp ethanol spill would just evaporate), (260)and
3) climate destabilization (hemp acts as a carbon sink – reversing the greenhouse effect) (261)– this would solve three of the biggest problems we face as a species.


So those are my four reasons. I suggest everyone join the 100 or so people already arrested in this protest so far, including David Suzuki's grandson Tamo Campos and "rebel page" Brigette Depape.

For those who wish to get involved, here are some links to event listings for the upcoming battle:



"Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight."
-Henry David Thoreau

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop!"
-Mario Savio

David Malmo-Levine
Jun 12 2014
Moreover the riches of the earth are for all ... - Ecclesiastes 5:9, the Peshitta (Aramaic Bible), circa 2nd century BCE That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor ... - Gerrard Winstanley, The True Levellers Standard Advanced, April 20, 1649 There is a debate in the cannabis activist community.
David Malmo-Levine
Mar 6 2014
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David Malmo-Levine
Oct 24 2013
CANNABIS CULTURE - Prairie Plant Systems, currently Canada's only legal commercial producer of medical marijuana, recently came under fire in articles published by Cannabis Culture.
David Malmo-Levine
Nov 4 2012
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David Malmo-Levine
May 3 2012
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David Malmo-Levine
Apr 13 2012
19 issues of Potshot magazine – a magazine that does not respect copyright laws and isn't afraid to call the drug war "genocidal" – is now available online for free.
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Mar 8 2012
Recently, Health Canada met with med pot industry representatives and individual dispensary spokespeople, of which a certain Marc Boris St. Maurice was one. According to St. Maurice, this exchange occurred:
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Jan 24 2012
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Jan 19 2012
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