On Saturday, November 10, Quebec hosted their third annual Cannabis and Hashish Cup competition in Montreal. Organized by Alain Berthiaume, owner of the Hemp Quebec store and seed bank, the event was more open than the previous two years, with about 1000 people attending the hall to enjoy live music, delicious food and some great pot.
Eager ticket holders arrived at the hall throughout the afternoon, but rumours quickly spread that police had visited the hall the night before, threatening Alain with police actions if the event went ahead.
The event started well, although the handing out of judge’s kits, each with 8 different strains of pot and 2 samples of hash of about one gram each, was delayed due to fears that the event had been infiltrated by undercover police. Yet when the kits were finally handed out to the salivating participants there were no problems.
The rest of the day went well, with smoke being sampled and a good time being had by all. The venue began to empty late in the evening, as stoned and happy people went home.
At around midnight, a dozen officers quietly entered the hall, simply walking around, observing and laughing among themselves. They stayed for about 15 minutes, then they all filed out. There was much relief as the cops all left, although most of the remaining partiers left when the cops showed up. The police said they had come to ensure fire regulations were being met.
Yet the police returned a half-hour later, this time quietly asking Alain to come with them outside. Once outside, Alain was arrested, cuffed and taken to jail, where he is expected to remain until he can see a judge on Monday morning.
In retrospect, it’s clear that the initial entry of the police into the hall was aimed at clearing the space out so that Alain could be more easily arrested with less of a crowd present.
The event was scheduled to continue on Sunday, with ballots being handed in and the winners of the competition announced. What will be happening now is unsure, although the event will continue in some fashion. There is speculation that there will be a smoke-in at the jail, or some other form of protest at the arrest of Alain.
More details will follow as events unfold.
* Hemp Quebec: www.hemp-quebec.com