Again it was a last minute invite from Francouver that wised Flash up that the Inagual meeting of the BC Chapter of NORML Canada was to take place that afternoon in the basement (once used for rum running) of the BC Marijuana party Headquarters.
NORML Canada is run by a Board of Directors that sets policy and approves policy initiatives. The Board elects officers of the corporation, whose responsibilities are defined in the bylaws, and hires the Executive Director.
Flash hoped he might meet NORMLs new Executive director Jody Pressman with his Assistant Crystal LeBlanc. Alan Young NORML Canada’s Vice-President was also absent remaining in Toronto. But, Low and Behold none other than Queens Council John Conroy was present surounded by Francouver, W/O Reason, Rodger, Tony and Chris Bennet intently taking in his wise words of advice reminding Flash of a rare session with Yoda.
What made Flash think of Yoda was not Conroys snowy Santa beard which gave away his years, but the sincerity and sense of purpose that were evident in John’s stories and words. Mr. Conroy’s house in the country-side is already paid for and he has paid enough dues to achieve the highly coveted and elevated legal status of “Queens Council,” (advisor to the Supreme Courts no less), not to hunger after money or power for it’s own sake. He is first to admit that for many Lawyers in the Criminal Justice industry the prohibative drug laws are a good source of income for them. Police too, enjoy the ever increasing budgets, that they recieve, as is the case of here in Vancouver B.C.. Much easier it is to lay out an array of grow equipment and hockey bags of BC Bud than to reply to domestic violence calls or search for lost children, drug addicts or prostitutes.
Many in the legal profession and in politics have a vested interest in the status quo or even in increasing the bureaucracy like they are proposing here in Canada with fines, probation and drug courts requiring forced rehab and manditory sentances for growers of over 50 plants (even if they are bonsai Sea of Green Plants or clones). There are a few lawyers, like in the States, that stick it to the larger commercial growers and big time operators in order to pay the costs to help activists and other fighting medical marijuana charges or minor possesion charges but even these Robin Hood types are few and far between.
US drug czar John Walters is fond of reporting the vast numbers in the Marijuana rehab services in the United States mostly teenage youths. The Drug Czar neglects to point out that they are there under their parents insistance or at that of their school or local magistrates and are only learning more about hard drug use like Meth and Crack as they try to one up each other telling scary stories in the “A.A.” setting and learn to accept the label of “addict.”
Q.C. John Conroy always expresses longing for more of his ‘white haired’ peers to become involved who were there back fighting in the 60’s when a healthy disregard for authority was more fashionable.
John Conroy recalled that when he was in residence in University during the sixtys, the problem at the time was always “poly-drug use.” Before even he participated in the creation of the famous Senate Ledain report, which is now ignored by politicians as much as the recent Senate Report on Illegal Drugs is ignored. Conroy’s weekend studies were always being interupted by the need to take someone into the hospital with an overdose. “EVEN THEN..” he insists “The problem was never Marijuana.”
In fact, he noted that Marijuana seemed a safer alternative for some and like John Conroy termed it at the Beyond Prohibition Conferance that Vancouver’s Mayor Larry Campbell attened as well “Marijuana is an ‘Exit Drug'” from alcohol or even harder drugs for a great many people.
John Conroy read off the simple mission statement, adapted from the American version of NORML Canada: “NORML Canada does not advocate or encourage the use of marijuana, but believes that the present policy of discouragement through the use of criminal or civil law has been excessively costly and harmful to both society and the individual. NORML Canada is a non-profit, public interest, member operated and funded group, chartered at the federal level in Canada since 1978 (history), working at all levels of government to eliminate all civil and criminal penalties for private marijuana use, through public education, research, and legislative and judicial challenges.” Unlike its American counterpart however NORML Canada will not hesitate to see MJ t shirts, mugs even possibly soon rolling papers and specialty grinders to raise funds to defeat the evil empire in the South whose influence we are not immune and pedalsits lies now in every country around the globe with US DEA offices in or near every major metropolis.
Ther NORML Canada mandate is somewhat narrower position than that of the broader encompasing Marijuana Party led by Boris St Maurice (Who’s also NORMLs Quebec director and chair of the Francophonie Division) and the Provincial Marijuana Parties under the guidance and patronage of Marc Scott Emery.
John Conroy hopes NORML Canada and it’s Provincial Chapters will attract more of the fence-sitters and provide an open forum and opportunity both to educate ourselves and others including our legal councilors. The site itself, www.norml.ca, providing its own public Forums; Opportunity to sign up as a volunteer; A legal registry that will build to list friendly and successful lawyers who may offer their assistance and skills to the persecuted; News; Events; And offical policy along with email servers to come, including an internal one for Lawyers themselves to work on their Legal agruements and alert each other to bad judges, and positive or negative judicial decions that effect us all.
John Conroy very much wished to emphasise that the strategy of attack through lobying would have to be three pronged: Municipal; Provincial; and Federal. Plus there is even a Wing of NORML Canada for College and University students.
“NORML Canada Students” is the student wing of the organization. A Statistics Canada study showed that in 2002, 75% of the nearly 100,000 drug offences involved marijuana, of that 75% the majority of that involved young people between the ages of 18 and 24. Studies show that the highest rate of usage occurs in this same demographic. Young people are also the least likely to vote or get involved in the democratic system.
Students are most affected by Canada’s marijuana laws and students must get involved in the fight to bring about progressive reform of our marijuana laws. NORML Canada students is also a great way to network with like-minded people and have fun in social settings. Right now Carelton University has the most active Student group.
NORML Canada with the insertion of new blood at every level and the inclusion of top activists from across this great nation was to be revitalized and will soon be launching media and letter writing campagnes and edifying the media and our family, friends, and co-workers, at every opportunity. The list of very important pot people includes the likes of Phillipe Lucas, chair of the Medical Marijuana division, brave Allison Myden as Director/Coordinator of Volunteers, Doug McArthur on board as Webmaster and Director/coordinator of contributing Webmasters and technitions. Mike Foster is involved in Commercial Relations and Tim Meehan is our Director of Communications. It became quickly evident that we need a provincial director right here in B.C. and although she was not present at the meeting, Jodie G’s name rose to the top like cream and was agreed upon by all unanimously and for the most part immediately. During Marcs absence in prison Jodie G had been a go between as well as managed to transcribe his bloggs. There was no doubt in any of our minds that she was highly capable, organized and maintained that certain zeal and dedication necessary to carry through and provide us with an excellent representative.
In short NORML Canada was going to “NORMALIZE” Marijuana and fight against the lies put out by the U.S. Drug Czar and other stake holders in Prohibition, be they major corporate interests like the pharmeceutical companies, the CIA interested trading opium from Afhanistan (which has increased 60% according to the UN under the Americans occupation) or hicks like Randy White who will repeat like a parrot anything U.S. officials can cook up in favor of Prohibition.
“Why don’t we arrest George Bush for war crimes and crimes against humanity the moment he sets foot on our soveriegn Canadien soil? Someone should do that! Can we do that? Can an individual citizen do that?” Chris Bennett Really wanted to know.
John Conroy thought that a bit unlikely. But Flash had an idea too…
In Canada we have a learned Justices who base their decsions on Facts and if the Laws are not Just then they have the power to demand better from Parliment.
Randy White, Ex-Alliance, now Conservative M.P. For rural Abbotsford B.C. thinks he can disregard the Facts arrived at by the B.C. Supreme Court and by the Supreme court of Canada. In fact, he is also ready to throw out the well researched Senate Report on Illegal drugs; the hard work of Senator Nolan who went deliberately across this vast nation hearing from every available panel on these issues before reaching the conclusions set out in thier report. In fact Randy White will not even follow the recomendations of his own parlimentary commitee that he dominated with his phrase; “Legalization? Not gonna happen!…Give me something else to work with,” alienating and ignoring 90% of those who came to witness.
Instead he takes his cues from Drug Czar (“Crack of Marijuana”) John Walters repeating his lies and falicies in parliment and openly complains that “the senate and the courts are not elected” like HE is and should have no bearing on the deciding of legal issues.
Flash figures it would be a lot harder to study hard enough to be a Supreme Court Judge or be respected for enduring public service long enough to be appointed to Senate in Canada then it would be for a hayseed like Randy (Big Mouth) White with his minimal education and speaking ability, to mouth off from the top of his head whatever bullshit he can come up (Usually bull shit that he’s picked up hanging around the Drug Enforcement Agency office which has officially chosen the right wing bible belt constituancy under Randys American-Ass-Kissing control for their Headquarters. Even after his bigotted views severely hampered the chances of his own party during the Federal election. Randy White a mean spirited alcoholic in recovery claims he represents “family values” but is anxious to see Baby Shiva Bennett ripped from Renee Boje’s arms to be sent back to the states to be raped in prison for 10 years and feels similarly about the familys and children of the kubbys and Hayes as well. Abbotsford MP Randy White vows he?ll stop a U.S. medical marijuana user from gaining refugee status here in Canada, a precedent he says could open the floodgates to thousands of drug users from south of the border. “I think it?s totally inappropriate and unacceptable,” he says about the refugee hearing. “There is no such thing as a refugee from the United States.”
John Conroy sighed and kind of smiled in his patient way. He pointed out that attempting to sue Glen Clark for breaking his election promisses had yielded no favorable result and sueing anyone is costly and not always effective.
It Was Mr. Conroys suggestion that if Mr. White in his foolishness opens his mouth as usual saying ridiculous and incredulous things then it is our duty to write in,or via whatever means are available to us, to point out his folly publically for all to see and call him on his inaccuracies.
John Conroy suggested Flash go to his website www.johnconroy.com, click on TEST CASES and then on the Caine Archive, scrolling down to “The B.C. Court Of Appeal Decsion, paragraphs 13-16 and as far at least to 19 where the basic findings of FACT are set out. The Joint Statement of Legislative Facts in the related documents also contains the accepted TRUTHS agreed to by all parties at the time of the Appeal with nothing new to contradict them one way or another so that at least before MAY, 2003 and argueably before DEc 23rd,2003 are deemed to have been considered by the court up to that point in time.
On the basis of the evidence put before the court British Columbia Court of Appeal in the Regina V. Caine June 2, 2000 the, the learned trial judge the Honourable Mr. Justice Braidwood concured by the Honourable Madam Justice Rowles and desented to only by the Honourable Madam Justice Prowse made some of the following findings of Fact:
a. The occasional to moderate use of marihuana by a healthy adult is not ordinarily harmful to health, even if used over a long period of time.
b. There is no conclusive evidence demonstrating any irreversible organic or mental damage to the user, except in relation to the lungs. Reports of lung damage are limited to chronic, heavy users such as a person who smokes at least 1 and probably 3-5 marihuana joints per day.
c. There is no evidence demonstrating irreversible, organic or mental damage from the use of marihuana by an ordinary healthy adult who uses occasionally or moderately.
d. Marihuana use causes alteration of mental function and should not be used in conjunction with driving, flying or operating complex machinery.
The Supreme court view the right or privilege to drive a motor vehicle on a public highway is not a liberty protected by s. 7. it is not a matter that is fundamental or inherently personal to the individual. It is not a matter that goes to the root of a person’s dignity and independence. To hold otherwise would trivialize the liberty sought to be protected by s. 7.
e. There is no evidence that marihuana use induces psychosis in ordinary healthy adults who use marihuana occasionally or moderately. In relation to the heavy user, the evidence of marihuana psychosis appears to arise only in those having a predisposition towards such a mental illness.
f. Marihuana is not addictive. There is a concern over potential dependence in heavy users, but marihuana is not a highly reinforcing type of drug, like heroin or cocaine. Consequently, physical dependence is not a major problem. Psychological dependence, however, may be a problem for the chronic user.
g. There is no causal relationship between marihuana use and criminality. h.There is no evidence that marihuana is a gateway drug and the vast majority of marihuana users do not go on to try hard drugs.
i. Marihuana does not make people aggressive or violent, but on the contrary it tends to make them passive and quiet.
j. There have been no deaths from the use of marihuana.
k. There is no evidence of an amotivational syndrome. Chronic use of marihuana could decrease motivation, especially if such a user smokes so often as to be in a state of chronic intoxication.
l. Assuming current rates of consumption remain stable, the health related costs of marihuana use are very, very small in comparison with those costs associated with tobacco and alcohol consumption.
These findings of fact are almost identical to those found by Ontario courts in R. v. Parker (1997), 12 C.R. (5th) 251 (Ont. Ct. Justice) and R. v. Clay (1997), 9 C.R. (5th) 349 (Ont. Gen. Div.).
The trial judge also referred to the findings of the LeDain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (1972-3), chaired by Gerard LeDain (later LeDain J. of the Supreme Court of Canada). After almost four years of public hearings and research, the majority of the commissioners concluded that simple possession of marihuana should not be a criminal offence.
The Commission made the following findings with respect to marihuana:
m. cannabis is not a “narcotic”; new users (less than 1%) of cannabis move on to use harder and more dangerous drugs;
n. few acute physiological effects have been detected from current use in Canada;
o. there is no scientific evidence indicating that cannabis use is responsible for other forms of criminal behaviour;
p. at present levels of use, the risks or harms from consumption of cannabis are much less serious than the risks or harms from alcohol use; and
q. the short term physical effects of cannabis are relatively insignificant and there is no evidence of serious long term physical effects.
[Cannabis: A Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (Ottawa: Information Canada, 1972) pp.265-310]
The findings of Judge Howard, based on the evidence before her, “did not amount to a finding of a reasoned risk of serious, substantial or significant harm to society or to others from the mere possession (or use) of marijuana. If there is evidence available which would gainsay this conclusion, it was not placed before the trial judge, nor is it before us on this appeal.”
So, in conclusion when you hear or see a politician, or someone at home or in the work place, especially if their statements are made publically, and they contradict the Facts found to be self-evident by learned Justices of the Supreme Courts of Canada and the knowledgeable Senators who thoughtfully and inteligently put together the Senate Commitee report on illegal drugs. Tell them your a member of NORML, that you don’t make up your facts based on hearsay or American propaganda and what they say is patentently untrue and the studies have been examined to prove it and their ‘junk science’ will be quickly and easily dismissed by the TRUTH.
Conroy realized sometimes on these forums and email servers it seems like were just wasting our time ‘preaching to the choir’ but even if the only person you ‘hempucate’ is yourself. If, indeed the only person that learns something that day and gains confidence in their arguements and the truth of their words is You. If you have strengthened somehow your resolve. Maybe confident now enough to even tell Grandma marijuana benefits you then youll have grown and as a group all of NORML will be stronger and by default we will be that much closer to the actuallity of our dream to end this civil drug war and the ravishes of prohibition on our liberty, our freedom and our souls.
Of course there are plans for a great Ewok party once the Evil Empire is destroyed or at the rate its going destroys itself through pure stupidity and idiotocy with such Morons as Bush, John Walters and scientology/Ron Hubbard brainwashed, and likely blackmailed to do thier bidding, Randy White at the helm but its going to take a push by the few of us Jedi freedom fighting rebels to occur. In the meantime the Grassroots Provincial Chapters are taking root and looking for direction and leadership by example from You! Membership is an easy ten bucks and the fancy membership card emblazoned with a pot leaf is worth ten anyhow just as a keep sake to show your grand kids you fought in the drug war.
Here in B.C., at least in Vancouver, were planning a “HIGH TEA” for all interested parties to attend. A kind of grassroots ‘Membership Drive’ Noon at the start of the New Year Downstairs @ BCMP HQ 307 West Hastings. One thing about this kind of ‘Civil Disobedience’ we practice in the face of Prohibition. It may be Important, it may even be Damn Serious but it’s ‘Hella FUN!’ and the People you meet are Hard Core and Top Notch.
May The Force Be with You!