The centre of Vancouver’s marijuana activism and pot culture was hit by arsonists on the morning of Sunday, April 25. The building which housed the Blunt Brothers Cafe was utterly destroyed. The BC Marijuana Party headquarters right next door was damaged but is essentially intact.
“Police have found conclusive evidence that someone intended to torch the pot block with multiple set infernos,” said Marc Emery, President of the BC Marijuana Party and the unofficial leaders of Vancouver’s pot movement.
The BC Marijuana Party store will reopen on Wednesday, April 28. “We had all surfaces of the store completely cleaned,” said Emery. “It has never been so clean! Pipes, bubblebags, seeds, books, magazines and all other retail items will be available as usual. Clothing has been sent to be dry-cleaned to eliminate the smoke smell, and will be sold at half price when it returns.”
“The POT-TV computer equipment has been sent to cleaners where all will be cleaned and tested,” continued Emery. “Phones at the store will not be working until Thursday, and for the next week we have to provide our own electricity with our own generators. However, all damage has been replaced and in a number of cases improved! The building itself is intact and very safe.”
“We have suffered costs of about $10,000 or more,” concluded Emery. “But we have received $520 US in donations through Paypal, thanks to all who donated! The key thing is that nothing about our activism is in any way changed or adversely affected. We have survived!”
The New Amsterdam Cafe, on the other side of the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore, is also intact. There is speculation that Blunt Brothers will relocate into the New Amsterdam. However, the owner told the media that he is not sure if he wants to continue and rebuild his business.
Other business which had been in the destroyed building included a fetish-wear shop, a counter-culture bookstore, and a retail marijuana seed outlet. Firemen also found a small grow-op in the building. At the height of the fire, 11 firetrucks and about 50 firefighters were involved. No one was hurt in the blaze.