Hemp BC was a store founded by Marc Emery in Vancouver, Canada, in April 1994. It was one of Canada’s very first hemp stores, as selling pipes, bongs and pro-pot books was (and still is) illegal in Canada.
Within a short time Hemp BC had expanded to become a true cannabis superstore. It included the Hemp BC storefront, Hemp BC Wholesale, the Cannabis Cafe, the Little Grow Shop, the Hemp BC Legal Assistance Centre, Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds, and Cannabis Culture Magazine.
In an early issue of Cannabis Culture, Marc Emery explained How to Open a Hemp Store using Hemp BC as a model. Within two years there were over 100 hemp stores and related businesses across Canada, employing and supporting thousands of people. Many of these businesses act as activist centres, providing resources and financial backing to the movement which supports them.
Sadly, numerous police raids and other city harassment forced Marc Emery to sell off Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe, continuing on only with Cannabis Culture Magazine and Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds, and shutting down the Little Grow Shop and the Hemp BC Legal Assistance Centre. Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe continued on for about a year under the ownership of Sister Icee, but eventually they too succumbed to more police raids, and the businesses were shut down entirely.
Despite its relatively short 5-year lifespan, Hemp BC had a profound influence on Canada’s cannabis scene. Marc Emery and Hemp BC were featured in a wide variety of international media, including CNN, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, the Globe and Mail, and many others.
But now Hemp BC has risen like a phoenix, reborn as the BC Marijuana Party Bookshop at the same location. The new store was opened in 2001 by the BC Marijuana Party, of which Marc Emery is the founder and current President.
A selection of HempBC’s media clippings.
Archive of HempBC articles and police raids