Cannabis Canada Issue #9 (Summer 97) – Smoke Signals (edgemonton)


??? The

Canadian cities with the largest pothead populations may be Vancouver,

Montreal and Toronto, but Edmonton’s cannabis community stands out. When

the modern era of hemp rallies began, Edmonton had big ones in May, July,

and October of 1993. While most cities struggle to have one active legalization

organization, Edmonton has two.




the powerless


The Cannabis Relegalization Society of Alberta (CRSA) was begun in 1994

by Amanda Stewart of the True North Hemp Company. Aside from putting on

the annual labour day Hempfest celebration, the Society has jumped into

the role of defender of the powerless by helping some people with their

legal hassles.

??? The

first hassled Edmontonian is Ken Poirier. His crime was to smoke pot across

the hall from a couple having a domestic dispute. When the cop came to

investigate, he smelled the tell-tale perfume and forced Ken out of his

apartment, allegedly without reading him his rights and deaf to his pleas

to not leave his six year old daughter at home alone. “He didn’t even believe

that my daughter was in the apartment.” exclaimed Ken.


Ken’s possession charge was a summary offense, bad enough for a criminal

record but judged not serious enough to qualify for Legal Aid. Ken couldn’t

even get help from the busy Student Legal Services, traditionally a source

of discount


The CRSA got wind of Ken’s troubles. They referred him to a good lawyer,

Michael Fuhrman, who gave him a deal. Michael began to look into it and

the prosecution decided to drop the charges altogether.


& Festivals


Amanda organized a rally on April 24 and a screening of the film “Hemp

Revolution” on April 30, and will be organizing a rally on behalf of Brian

Tilly, an American grower and smuggler caught after the TV program “America’s

Most Wanted” did a profile on him.

??? Amanda

will also be coordinating the 1997 Freedom Festival, slated for September

1 1997. There will be a fashion show, an auction and guest speakers such

as hempstore owners Marc Emery, Ian Hunter and Canadian Foundation for

Drug Policy co-founder Eugene Oscapella.



& Pot


Edmonton’s underground activist organization Grassroots has been active

since 1993, and has organized over a dozen rallies since then. The present

members regularly undergo harassment and abuse from local Edmonton law



17 year-old Grassroots organizer Amy von Stackelberg and the police have

locked horns on more than one occasion. She first came to their attention

in the summer of 1995 when she was busted for postering a blow-up of her

letter which had been printed in the Edmonton Journal, about the link between

prohibition and violence.


Amy then got busted again, on September 6, 1996, for possession for the

purpose of trafficking. Notorious Gazebo Park anti-pot cops Kamp and Keller

leaned on a couple of teenagers to give up their source. Amy was also a

teen when this happened. She got caught with what she estimates was sixty

grams – in one gram packages.


and Police Violence


Amy was arrested again on December 21, 1996, when ten cops, several in

full body armor with assault rifles, raided her and her friend Ken Kirk’s

winter solstice party.


The police were particularly vicious with this attack. They stuck a knee

in Amy’s back, they grabbed people by the throat, they kicked one person

in his broken leg, they cuffed someone with the flu and made him sit near

the open front door when it was -25?C outside, until he was throwing



All seven people were strip-searched. They charged six people with possession

for the purpose and one person with obstruction of justice.


The police stole approximately $1400 in cash, a pound of pot, a bong, a

vaporizer, scales, address books, grow guides, Ken’s anti-depressants,

Amy’s anti-inflammatories, and many pieces of ID. It took until Christmas

day to raise everyone’s bail


This raid was the second one that day. Earlier on, the same swat team visited

the Misty Mountain Cafe and arrested four people. Ken claimed that “the

remand was a who’s who of the drug trade” that weekend.

??? Fellow

Grassroots organizer Coreen Shewfelt believes that the charges have no

chance of sticking, as even the warrant had the wrong name on it. She claims

the cops just want “an advantage against their competition in the drug

trade.” She continued to explain that “the cops and the bikers are fighting

for a monopoly in this city. Both the city police and the RCMP are so corrupt

that they seldom even make a pretense of being just.”


Amy wants to fight her first charge on constitutional grounds as she firmly

believes she wasn’t doing anybody any harm. She’s looking for expert witnesses

to testify at her August 27, 1997 trial.

? By David Malmo-Levine

For More Info

The Cannabis Relegalization

Society of Alberta can be reached through True North Hemp at: 10447 124th

St, Edmonton, T5N 1R7; tel (403) 451-4367; email [email protected].

Contact Amy von

Stackleberg can at (403) 425-1204. Ken Kirk is organizing Edmonton’s July

1 Cannabis Day Celebration this year. He can be reached at the same number.