Alain Berthiaume, founder of the Quebec Cannabis and Hashish Cup, was sentenced in September to one year in jail for three counts of trafficking at the 2001 Cup, and also sentenced to one year in jail for cultivation of 1,000 clones found at his house six months later.
Berthiaume, founder of Montreal’s Hemp Quebec store and seed bank, started the Quebec Cannabis and Hashish Cup in November 1999, and each year it grew bigger and more complex.
In November 2001, over 1,000 guests attended the Montreal celebration, each receiving a judge’s kit with eight one-gram samples of pot plus two kinds of hash. Berthiaume himself distributed the kits to his guests. Judges also enjoyed two days of live music and entertainment, plus delicious food (CC#35, Canadian cannabis competitions).
Yet late in the evening on the first day, a dozen police officers entered the hall, and asked Berthiaume to come with them outside. He was then arrested, cuffed and taken to jail.
The next day, a group of about 50 Cup attendees marched through downtown Montreal, led by Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery and Canadian Marijuana Party leader Marc-Boris St-Maurice. The group chanted “Free Alain” as they made their way to the police station where Berthiaume was being held.
Berthiaume was released a few days later, and had planned to hold his event again in 2002, despite the arrest and charges. Yet shortly before the November 2002 event, Berthiaume was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail, and so the Cup was cancelled.
Berthiaume appealed his convictions, but his appeals have failed and he must now serve at least most of his one-year sentence.