Flash was in a conundrum that kept him from writing for the two solid weeks of the media Blitz. He was, in a way, paralyzed with doubt and fear. His articles on Da Kine were definitely being READ, not just by supporters but by prohibitionists and other detractors in the Media as well. He himself had given the media the links and keys to his fiefdom. The papers the September 15th province reporter Steve Berry reported Briere’s picture appeared in T.V. ad as early as February 2003 and “a story also appeared on the web saying he was going to open a chain of marijuana cafes.” Flash’s article also showed that Don was never hiding anything and that the legislature had laughed him off.
Marc Emery himself was obviously reading them too. Marc had used Flash’s Stat of “100 cops” the day of raid and lashed out at the president of the neighborhood police office that Flash had ranted against. Calling her a “Nazi” and causing himself to lose sympathy with certain fickle columnists.
Even the Gelato place where he had quoted the owner who, from what he’d seen on the news appeared to be outside the Gelato store, Flash had vilified.
Now he felt bad for the nice girls in the shop who had been nothing but friendly to everyone who came by and doubted his own veracity as to which shop it was, (although Fran backed him up said she rewound the clip twice to make sure). Flash came to realize that he was one thread in an elaborate tapestry and his actions and especially his ‘words’ or even a single ‘idea’ could carry weight and snowball morphing into results unplanned for or consequences beyond him.
Jodie had gained “quote of the day” on the opinion page with “political prisoner” in reference to Marc and Flash’s own province letter, featuring harm reduction, was being echoed by others as well.
His image had appeared in the province paper as well at Carol Gwilt’s side, his eyes closed tightly shut, and his mother was calling him begging him to keep a low profile, herself having received 10 anxious calls as his visage, and in some case spoken quotes, were broadcast on the multi cultural channel, CTV, CBC, Global News and City TV and local Shaw cable. This knowledge was at once invigorating and paralyzing. Flash understood at some level that he lives a privileged life in the cannabis community nothing gives him more joy than being greeted obsequiously in the businesses of Vansterdam. People tend to take him into their confidence even confess their weakness and ‘sins’ to him but either before or after or at some point, recently they bend his ear and say “But don’t tell! Don’t tell” leaving him hamstrung.
“The Truth will either set you free or damn you to hell for an eternity…” as he weighed it.
Flash made the decision to abandon his attempts at a more “factual journalistic style,” such as his last two chronicles, and return to the ‘introspective pseudo-surrealistic, individualistic true-fiction style’ that assumes no responsibility for the truth or validity of anything that is written and exonerates all spoken of within as the hearsay and interpretation of a disquieted mind that abandons all ‘journalistic ethics’ in respect to Bias, plagiarism, fact checking and whatever other rules he missed that day in English 101
Flash’s Stat of 100 cops was no exaggeration. Mainstream media spoke of two dozen cops raiding da Kine Cafe on Commercial Drive that fateful night but Ray Gray, Flash’s Grad Pal, went around the perimeter of the cordoned off block, as seen from the CTV helicopter flying over head (which just “so happened” to be flying in the neighborhood with every media outlet in town slightly before police arrived.) Ray told Flash he counted the cops parked in alleys, doing crowd control and effectively cutting off a busy neighborhood community, and a film shoot up the street.
There are a great many that also suspect that Drug Enforcement Agents from the USA on our so called ‘sovereign’ soil, worked with the Vancouver Police providing extra manpower and/or the budget for this police action and Solicitor General who’s obviously in bed with the D.E.A. whom have offices in the Embassy “Flaunting” their Power.
This could well be the reason the drug enforcement swat team was masked, because one or more were DEA agents and would be criticized in the media for their close involvement providing Rich Coleman an ass to kiss and his fancy title “B.C.’s top cop.” Flash thought to take the budgets away from people like this put it towards Health Care, Housing, finding lost women and children, or even reopen investigations of the Blunt Brothers cafe Arson file, instead with our Provincial tax dollars. “This isn’t AmeriKKKa” flash wrote it with three K’s “the majority of citizens understand the concept of ‘med pot’ and well over 50% have tried it or know someone who does whom they are amicable with.”
The first day after raid Bill Smalls & his brother’s reefer jazz trio band, “The Too Tall Brothers” entertained and people lined up around the block at Da Kine many disappointed to learn the most any single person could buy was two five dollar joints and or 3 grams for twenty. Bill’s presence had a direct effect, the September 16th Westender carried an editorial cartoon by Konstaris of Buck Washington back in 1944 singing the reefer blues “Folks think that I’m crazy say I’m foolish as can be… They just jealous cause I’ve been out in the backyard smokin’ tea.” Then a cartoon of hippies in the sixty s with their bongs chillin, then cartoon of people lined up outside da kine and the music continues trailing through cartoon… ” Well if you’re smokin that Jive when I pass by… Please save the roach for me” which pretty much summed up the laid back atmosphere at Da Kine that first celebratory day of reopening after the raid.
To sign up now you had to say what ailment you are treating, give info as to whom your Dr. is (if it needed to be affirmed.) and get your signature witnessed by staff.
Flash is especially proud of his roommate Brave Orion for getting behind counter next morning after raid staying to 11:00 pm and Scriven, from pot tv chat, whose shown on TV working the door and ID’ing everyone under 25. Tiger and Ice, the married Canadian couple, have been solid through all of this, and Dave Levine always on the scene.
Impossible for flash to list them all each one so very heroic in the things they do for freedom each day. Richard Cowan was on hand to lend his ear and advice as well. It will be David Malmo Levine, Chris Bennett, Marc Emery, John Conroy, Richard Cowan, The brave ministers of the Church of the Universe, Loretta Lynn, Madam Viper, Jodie G, Renee Boje, the Kubbys, Dana Larsen, journalist Pete Brady, Ian Hunter, Ted Smith, Philip Lucus, Hilary Black and Rielle, the Compassion Club, Arthology, and Da Kine cafe staff, Bubble Man, Ryan, Ken Hayes and his smart shops, Alan Young, the SFU law guy, Libby Davis and even Sven, Ed Rosenthal: names that will be mentioned in oral tradition and stuff of legends and ‘Hollyweed’ for putting their noses to the grind stone and shoulders to the wheel, standing up to be counted and celebrating liberty through joyful civil disobedience. Even Woody Harrelson, Paul McCartney & Tommy Chong phoned to wish Da Kine Luck and success. Sunday from 2:00 pm until 4:20 pm was an open press conference at Da Kine many came out to express their opinions.
“They wont get a budget to bring out 100 cops again and the judge after seeing no reason whatsoever why the arrested 7 shouldn’t be released without bail is not likely to grant another search till the new date of October 6th when we get to show our strength and numbers at city hall.” Or so they thought. That first day back in business was like a celebration in civil disobedience the smoking room was opened and budder hits were distributed to first timers free and a sale on ‘Democracy,’ ‘Liberty,’ and ‘Freedom’ med grade cannabis was again on the menu at $20.00 cdn. for 3 grams. Even the Urban Shaman up the street took on some of the over flow especially as there was no where to smoke your herb elsewhere except the streets. Ken Hayes the drug war refugee from San Francisco, veteran and founder of med clubs there, seeking asylum and to defect to Canada for his own safety and liberty, paid dearly for that decision. The press were soon hounding his door coming in with hidden cams and not only did police visit but a thug who did not want to lose a share of the illegal market made an example of him brutally. The second day there were only baked goods for a limited time. This helped to slow the flow and gave Carol, Lorne and her beleaguered staff some time to contemplate their next move and media a day off. The next day was full blown. Every marijuana advocate and activist in town had been invited to attend. 8000 members signed up in 8 days with the CTV exposure, have signed on as members of the Canadian sanctuary society and had been witnessed to have a real need for the sacred healing useful herb. Don Briere took the responsibility of taking home the days cash and left over bud himself, in spite of his being on probation from last time he was busted labeled by the Media as the Pot Baron. They had tried the first four months to leave everything in the safe even after the aborted break in attempt but in the raid the police had seized everything made out it was the ‘take for the day.’ Predictably perhaps, Don was followed and pulled over by the Vancouver Police on the way home charged with violation of his parole and is looking at 10 months more in prison. So shocked was he that for a time he was hospitalized from an apparent heart attack the stress had taken its toll.
The parole board according to the Sun newspaper had stated “you were motivated to make money and were annoyed at the justice system. You believe that marijuana should be legalized, that the Carter of Rights has been violated, taxes are too high, and that government mis-manages money. Your political opinions allow you to rationalize your criminal behavior. You have no remorse for your criminal convictions.”
The board imposed conditions on his parole stating he could not use drugs and could not associate with anyone involved in gang activities, substance abuse, the drug trade, and or other criminal activities but took into consideration his deteriorating health and upcoming divorce.
Almost the identical thing happened, almost the very next day, to Carol and Michael, the young idealistic man who had helped almost from day 1 who had amused Flash as he made joints float in the air through with “magik.”
Carol had infuriated the police further by stating flatly in the Province paper, the same day as the Mayor went on Camera staring her right in the face at the press conference at Britannia center and characterized her as a ‘drug peddler’ know better or worse than those who regularly dealt on the Drive and going further to insinuate the involvement of organized crime: “Every one is a bit scared… You don’t have to be a low life scum to smoke pot. Vancouver has a safe-injection site in downtown Vancouver where adults are shooting up why not a safe place for pot smoker users?” she’d ask the province reporter Kent Spencer that day as Flash stood by.
“We’re not gangsters. We don’t carry guns. We’re regular people. We want to take pot sales off the street, where you get poor quality or get ripped off if you have a law that is unjust, then its justified to break it.” Lorne added.
Lorne now the last remaining cog left in the wheel who stepped in to deal with the press although Carol had warned and begged him not to, having been twice burnt once shy of CTV and the whole lot after her second arrest, charged as she was with “Proceeds of Crime” and now by returning to the shop to take home the inventory breeching her release conditions. Lorne McLeod was swiftly attacked by the once radical left wing paper the “Georgia Straight” that had been the only one to report genuinely of the Grasstown police riot in the 70’s bringing Vancouver National attention and paving the way to greater drug tolerance in the city.
Now it has become another commercial rag, more interested in its advertising space than defending liberty and dug up Lorne’s past, blackened him for his unpopular stance for fathers rights and access to their children painting him a dead beat dad and a fraud artist.
His ex-wife phoned him to tell him of article in Sept 16th Straight article by Charlie Smith and they both had a laugh as his kids love him and she’s been regularly receiving 2000 a month. McLeod told them: “My objective is to effect change from a legislative and political perspective.” The article also brought up allegations leveled against Lorne years ago in photos so old that they are reminiscent of John Kerry in Vietnam, that he had practiced law without a license although at the time he clearly stated: “The law society’s actions were irrelevant to me. I mean I have never practiced law. Everyone that knows me knows I’m not a lawyer, nor have I ever been a lawyer.”
The judge had even praised McLeod saying he presented himself in court as a shrewd, intelligent and articulate person with many of the skills required of a practicing barrister and solicitor…” This too apparently a crime to ‘the priestly class,’ to give out legal opinion pro bono without a license.
Now Da Kine was left without products and for a time, without even keys to get in, but the crowds continued to gather outside and Bill Smalls to entertain.
A fine dedicated young man by the name of Kyle stepped in to fill the void behind the counter telling Flash that he was unafraid to face the music if arrested because he personally had “nothing to lose.”
“It’s too sad when people have to wait till they are sick, arrested or have absolutely nothing to risk or lose before they put their back into legalization, eliminating stigma and ending drug prohibition,” Flash told him.
When the reporters announced the cameras would be turned on there was a shameful exodus of customers and Flash was forced to fill the gap on several occasions as a ‘typical customer,’ as everyone piled out the door. Flash congratulated and applauded everyone and anyone who spoke to reporters expressed their outrage at Da Kine being hassled by media and cops, however it may have been cut and edited by Big Brother.
Flash liked how C.T.V. showed Ryan from the Melting Point smoking up in front of kids and voice-over said (with Da Kines smoking room on ice) “now the pot is back on the street,” because the guy before him was saying at gelato cafe it was “too close to a the school” parroting the neighborhood police prez Lady who was quoted in near every article on Da Kine.
Next day the narration behind Ryan’s smoking up on the street in protest of having no place to smoke up was used in a different light to show children on the street. The press even asked a 10 year old to please stand next to da Kines sandwich board sign just to get the staged shot.
“That’s show business… they can cut the film any way they like bring up old file footage from whenever they want.” Flash noted to himself; “The media is a two edged sword that cuts deeply like a stoic both pro and con.”
“Easy to sit on the side lines and say the news should have or have not included this or that, but CTV for all it’s sin in breaking the story did some serious damage control in the spin cycle and almost made up for their earlier sensationalism.” Flash said trying to comfort Carol.
Those flaunting it the worse turned out top be the police and their every action just brought more and more support faster.
Even the Neighborhood police president lady compromised, (after being called a Nazi in Marc emery’s Blog that received national attention), when Chris Bennett caught up to her on a CBC Radio call in show. She stated she was not against concept of ‘legalization’ or even of an ‘Amsterdam style cafe in Vancouver’ but did not specifically want it in her neighborhood with school nearby.
Chris also noted that all they would have needed to raid the Cafe would have been one polite but firm “English style bobby.”
The staff at the Gelato store when confronted by angry hempsters after the interview of their boss, denied it was their shop on the news and insisted they loved their new neighbors and their munchie budgets. The Dutch chocolate shop continues to be supportive was also doing brisk business. In fact when Lorne surveyed the neighborhood in his three piece suit 80% of the businesses were in favor of the new addition and many residents remarked on the lack of street dealers in the glutted commercial drive marketplace.
Even B.C.’s top cop is after bigger political fish focusing now on raids of the legislature instead.
The press did it’s best to Demonize Don Briere and Lorne bringing up Briere’s criminal record trying to imply he was wolf in sheep’s clothing, a silent partner in Da Kine, when all along he remained in the forefront. Flash’s article on Don Briere on Cannabis Culture site even reveals that his plans for Da Kine were brought up on the legislature floor and laughed off. There was no way in hell the BC Government, City and Vancouver Police did not have Da Kine on their radar or were not aware of it from its conception Carol’s original statement even the media was realizing was resolutely true. Flash visited the now classic Vancouver Compassion Club on three occasions these last few days. Flash Gordon made a point of talking to the members and staff to get a feel for their take on things. Even the compassion club here is holding its breath and crossing its fingers for Da Kine it seems.
If anyone remembers the first story Flash wrote For Cannabis Culture A Compassion Club Story you’ll see that in the beginning the Compassion Club Society also waited in fear of the next raid or of having their license revoked by the city. It was only through public pressure in the media and Hilary and the staff’s hard work networking with local politicians including Libby Davis and the city council and Minister of Health. They had their share of scandals, not the least of which was ‘a weapon;’ an old rusty one, found on a raid of Dr Hornby’s “medicinal licensed marijuana grow for the club” that nearly rocked it to its foundation but she persevered. “No doubt the universe unfolding as it should” Bill Smalls had predicted correctly in my story then: “compassionate grower,” Bill receiving only an absolute discharge for his grow for the club. Richardson with the support of Hilary and the club received only a discharge for transporting for the club. The new ground Da Kine are breaking; taking the responsibility out of the hands of the Dr’s and government who do not wish it upon themselves anyhow; with insurance; other doctors censure; the wish to remain apolitical; and mainly because they don’t want people lined up around the block like outside of Da Kine to get into their office for a prescription for pot.
Nor can Doctors confirm the dosage or strength of what they are prescribing outside of that Fed. Flin Flon Mine 15% shwagg trimmed with a wood chipper.
Da Kine have placed the responsibility square on the user’s shoulders for ‘Why’ they use cannabis, be it as a preventative medicine used against stress; as an alternative to more physically addictive drugs like alcohol, caffeine, hard drugs or, just about everything that’s worse for you, or as an aid for various symptoms that cover a myriad of illnesses and diseases.
Yes, this is another step in ‘Harm Reduction;’ another attempt to separate the hard from the soft drugs; another chance for people to come together in a safe place and take part in an active lobbying group with political sway. (Not unlike David Malmo Levine’s early attempt with his harm reduction club that had pushed the envelope as far as older teens imbibing with signed parents permission and an oath not to operate machinery that took him to the Supreme court of Canada and a close shot at Constitutional reform.)
Be not afraid these darkest days before the dawn of post prohibition. The drug war dragon’s final throes as in the time of the Valentine’s Day massacre when alcohol prohibition was abolished. More stills were destroyed in those final dark days as police sought to justify their endeavors. More violence begetting violence.
It seemed then that there would be no end to the corrupt cops, organized crime and tyranny then as well, but the light of Truth and Justice and strength brought of righteousness will always disperse the darkness and vanquish it.” Flash half thought half prayed…
“We must remain vigilant and not fall to bickering among ourselves,” He vowed. “We are all fighting this dreadful civil drug war that pits, literally, brother against brother, mother against child, and as today’s headlines of raid on the legislature and corruption within in regards to the laundering of monies from grow operations at highest levels of Government affects all echelon’s of society.”
“So are we going to write the police and B.C.’s solicitor general a blank cheque to run amok with? Gather us all up in a far fetched conspiracy theory? That in some way we are all part of ‘Terrorism and Organized crime’?” Flash questioned himself rhetorically.
Most ma and pa growers and medical growers that you and Flash know are struggling as it is just to make over $10,000 a year, provide their friends and family with herb and to stay off the dole and keep their families fed.
Growers are actually stepping into the lime light’s glare simply because they don’t want their children to grow up in a world like this. They know full well that raising their profile and head above the crowd it will get blown right off but they don’t care. It’s that important. Don’t think their hurting for customers. They take a cut in price or front the highly potent med grade BC bud to the clubs half the time taking great pride in their Bud and curing it properly. They are proud of their products anxious to show them off happy when people say “it helps.” Federal License meaning exemption from FEDS or not, for them it is more than an art.
What Da Kine is doing; the risks the staff and management are taking, including opening themselves up for the media to go over their lives with fine tooth combs in search of dirt to impeach their characters.
They tried there best to make Carol out to be a liar for saying the city, police, and community new all when their own subsequent investigations proved she was speaking only truth.
What they are doing will not take away from what the B.C. Compassion Club ( www.thecompassionclub.org ) has already accomplished or what Ted Smith has accomplished or Philippe Lucus has accomplished or the work of Mommakind and Renee Boje on the sunshine coast. It will only build on that base of the support of the greater community.
From what Flash has seen also at Da Kine these last 14 days for every one person taken away there is a dozen ready to step in to take their place. Over 10,000 have now signed Da Kine’s forms self-prescribing cannabis and swearing a witnessed oath that this is what cures what ails them. What greater army of freedom fighters must we muster to bring drug war peace to the streets of Vancouver?
It may even be true Da Kine opened its doors to all and sundry, did not force people at first to sign on the dotted line with possible consequence of police raiding and collecting the names as evidence and in the face of peoples obvious reluctance .
But the Four Pillar Approach seen as the only solution is built on the corner stone of a market where soft drugs are regulated and available in safe environment separate from hard drugs. Kids taught which drugs are “KEWL” and which not.
All use is medicinal. The Buddha Always reaches out for that which he truly needs. It’s sometimes not immediately evident why we reach for it. It’s a difficult thing in our community that so many of us have scars and hurts in our past and it’s cannabis that blocks those psychological hurts lets us turn over a new leaf and move forward with our lives like the rats that with it forget past traumas. “Disappointing” mused Flash, “that when we raise ourselves to near greatness in our efforts we are swiftly brought down by the ‘all knowing all seeing media’ and judged by big brother by the merits of our mistakes and failures not our achievements which are reduced to dust.”
Carol Gwilt says the cafe on Vancouver’s trendy Commercial Drive will stop selling marijuana. “I’m directing my staff at the Da Kine Smoke Shop to stop selling cannabis,” Ms. Gwilt said in a statement read by lawyer Jason Gratl outside Vancouver provincial court finally on the 18th, sixteen days after the original Media feeding frenzy began and consequent raid and arrests.
Da Kine on Commercial between Venables and Napier will open today at 11am. There may be no products available for sale but De kine will serve as a rallying point. Please be aware and join to show your support.
They will continue to take membership applications to the Canadian Sanctuary Society with well over 10,000 signatures collected at this time.
Sign the petition as well and enjoy the day.
Please do not direct your anger at Da Kine for being out of stock but funnel it into action against the solicitor general, city council and the courts.
The BC regional consultation for the Canada Drug Strategy is happening Thursday, September 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, September 24th from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The location is the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, 1601 Bayshore Drive. A meeting will be held by the Canadian Drug Strategy regarding safe injection and crack inhalation sites without any regards for the current situation with marijuana.
With the recent Gestapo like raid on Da Kine’ Coffee shop, and Marc Emery serving 3 months in jail for passing a joint, now is the time for the Canadian Cannabis community to be heard, and the time to turn Vancouver into Vansterdam!
If you support Da Kine, the BC Marijuana Party, want to see Marc Emery out of jail, (for passing a joint) come and show these people what Vancouver really wants when it comes to cannabis legalization. Decrim is a scam to “widen the net.” It’s time to stop DREAMING it and start BEING it.
We want access to a safe supply of cannabis NOW!
250 “Free Marc Emery Seeds” to help with everyone’s legal costs are also available at 307 West Hastings donated by Pharmer Tom (of Tokers’ Bowl fame) (a Hero/Thunder Fuk Cross) thru Marijuana Man at the seed desk. “Free Marc Emery T shirts” may also be available and post cards to send to Justice Minister for free available there too.