Hemp BC?s judicial review
On May 17 and 18, Supreme Court Judge Thomas Melnick heard Hemp BC?s application for a ?judicial review? of the highly biased Vancouver City Council hearings, which resulted in Hemp BC being denied a business licence. Hemp BC?s owner, Sister Icee, wishes unhopefully for a favourable ruling from the Supreme Court.
?I guess they?ve won,? says Icee. ?I think our days are numbered, but I will not close Hemp BC until a judge orders me to.?
Should Icee be forced to close the doors of Hemp BC, she vowes to continue to fight for full legalization of the merry herb and all of the implements used to enjoy it.
?If we don?t get the judicial review, the city?s injunction to close Hemp BC would issue automatically.? says Icee. ?We are prepared to apply to city hall for a new business license for our new store.?
Icee has moved Hemp BC next door, into the space once occupied by the Cannabis Cafe. Insiders speculate that the Cannabis Cafe might reopen in the basement of the newly redecorated store. The judge?s decision is expected sometime in the first week of June.
Holy Smoke court victory
Marijuana and magic mushroom charges against Holy Smoke hemp store owners Dustin Cantwell, Alan Middlemiss and Paul DeFelice were the city of Nelson?s last chance to shut down their store. The city?s attempt to raise their business licence fee to almost 10 times had failed, but charges against the three partners could have been grounds for the city to revoke their licence altogether.
On April 16, the three appeared in court to face music. The music was sweet. Justice Mark Takahashi ruled that the search warrant police had obtained to raid the store was invalid, condemning the arresting officers for ?disregard of the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms],? and a ?cavalier attitude towards the laws of arrest and search.?
?Officer Grant discovered the drugs.? wrote Takahashi in his ruling, ?The determination that Grant is a reliable witness is a precondition to finding that the drugs were found ?in plain sight?. I cannot make that determination ? the police cannot claim the benefit of good faith.?
On April 23, the charges against Cantwell, Middlemiss and DeFelice were dropped. It is believed unlikely that the prosecution will appeal the ruling. Holy Smoke?s is now trying to retrieve money and pipes stolen by police during their illegal raid.
Tarzan forced out
Mike Ethier, a Reverend of the Church of the Universe, has been financially devastated by two police raids on his business, ?Tarzan?s Hemp Store,? which was located in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. During the first raid, police illegally seized Cannabis Culture magazine and other marijuana literature in direct violation of a 1994 Ontario Supreme Court Ruling. After losing over ten thousand dollars in merchandise, Ethier was forced from his store on April 15 because he couldn?t make the rent.
?Financially, I am ruined,? writes Ethier. ?Inside, God has given me the strength to keep on pursuing my mission (with the help of the sacred herb).?
Mike Ethier Joanne Sauve and his brother, Luc will be in court on June 3 to set a date to face charges in connection with the two raids. Ethier is going ahead with plans for his second annual Cannabis Festival in West Nipissing, July 1 to 4 (contact him at his new number, below). Ethier also plans to reopen his store at another location.
Pot Shop convicted
On Feb 2, Ron McInnes faced charges of possession and cultivation of cannabis, and two charges under 462.2 for selling pipes and bongs in his hemp store, The Pot Shop. Charges against his partner, Anne Russel, have been dropped.
During the trial, McInnes took a pipe from his pocket that police had missed during the raid on his store and asked the one of the arresting officers if he knew what it was for. He then informed the constable that it was for smoking marijuana, and explained how it was used.
?As soon as I said this I realized that I had just accidentally broken the law, so I put the toker in my pocket.?
McInnes, who represented himself in court, then demanded a mistrial, as a crime had been committed on the stand. Justice Payne refused McInnes? argument and convicted him of all charges. McInnes appeared for sentencing on May 5.
? Last issue we printed the wrong phone number for lawyer Pat Horner (Unwarranted Search and Seizure). The correct number is (403) 213-5581; email@example.com
? The issue 17 Busted Up Dates included some errors about Edmonton marijuana activist Ken Kirk. Kirk uses marijuana to alleviate his epilepsy, and was charged with possession and trafficking on December 21, 1996, when police raided his home while he was performing a druidic ceremony. Kirk was charged again with possession and trafficking in October of 1997, when he sold a gram of marijuana in a park.
Kirk plead guilty to all counts and was sentenced to five months in jail, where he was forced to take ineffective pharmaceutical epilepsy drugs instead of marijuana.
Ken Kirk and his partner Amy von Stackelberg have yet to face charges of cultivation and possession stemming from charges laid after a violent SWAT-style raid on their home on January 20, 1998. During this latest raid, police assaulted their home with concussion and smoke grenades, weilding rifles against the unarmed couple. Amy von Stackelberg claims to have been sexually assaulted by police officers.
Stackelberg and Kirk face their latest charges in court September 20 to 28.
? David Malmo Levine and Randy Caine?s challenges to Canada?s marijuana laws will be heard together this summer in BC?s Supreme Court.
? David Malmo-Levine can be reached care of the Holy Smoke Culture Shop.
? Mike Spindloe of Vinyl Exchange: 306 244-7090
? Amy von Stackelberg: 403 473-2736; firstname.lastname@example.org