Looser drug rules get a mellow thumbs-up
by Lora Grindlay
from The Province newspaper, June 19, 1995
The people at Hemp B.C. answered phone calls yesterday by calling themselves
“the happiest store in the world.”
New federal guidelines calling for a relaxed stance on prosecuting drug
possession cases had Vancouver’s hempsters jumping for joy.
“Today we are the happiest store in the world“, said Hilary Black,
who has worked at the West Hastings Street outlet for four months.
The 19-year-old from West Vancouver figured it would take years of lobbying
before government would deliver such an edict. “It almost feels like a
fantasy and a dream“, said Black. “It’s a step towards using hemp for
paper and fibre and using the seed for fuel.”
Marc Emery, Hemp B.C.’s owner, was reeling from the news:
“It’s an electric situation. It’s posted on the Internet and people around
the country are very excited about it”, said the 37-year-old.
Emery said it frees thousands of Vancouver pot smokers “from the awful fear
of being arrested and having lives ruined for smoking a joint.”
The store owner, who sold about 5,000 marijuana growing guides last year,
said he hopes the new freedoms won’t be flaunted.
Senior federal drug prosecutor Lindsay Smith wrote to Vancouver police on
May 17 saying they would only approve possession charges if there was an
The ruling applied to Vancouver because of its overworked courts, but Mayor
Philip Owen, chairman of the Vancouver police board, was puzzled. “They
are saying there is a law but we are going to ignore it“, said Owen
yesterday. “You either legalize the drugs or enforce the law. I don’t
understand what the federal government has in mind.”
Owen said the new guidelines “encourage the thug drug dealers” while
the city and province are forced to deal with social problems caused by
B.C.’s chief coroner Vince Cain, who in February called the war on drugs an
expensive failure, said not approving every possession charge is a small
“It’s one aspect of a very, very large picture“, he said yesterday.