This has been the busiest year of my life, and our organization has never been more active. This year has been one of our most successful years ever, even though I am currently sitting in jail in Saskatoon, for passing a single joint!
Loretta Nall, president of the US Marijuana Party and anchor of the Pot-TV news, returned from a 17-day fact-finding mission to Colombia, to see how Plan Colombia and the spraying of the coca fields is affecting the Colombian people.
After this, Loretta will help to guide the Alabama Compassionate Use Act of 2004 through the Alabama legislature.
Sandra Karpetas, director of the Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver, returns from an August of lectures in Berlin, San Francisco and Portugal on behalf of our remarkable Ibogaine treatment facility for very addicted individuals. Our wonderful successes in reducing and eliminating dependency on hard drugs is catching the attention of governments and doctors around the world. After two short years we have treated 65 individuals from all over North America.
Our organization also includes full-time lobbyists Jody Pressman and Crystal LeBlanc in Ottawa, Canada. Jody organized the June 5, 2004 demonstration in Canada’s capital on Parliament Hill (CC#51, Pot protest on Parliament Hill) (watch the speeches at Pot-tv.net). Crystal was the NDP candidate in Canada’s federal election on June 28, 2004, a party that backs full legal possession and distribution of cannabis. Jody and Crystal have resurrected NORML Canada and are our full-time lobbyists on Parliament Hill, interviewing members of the House of Commons and gauging each politicians’ stance on marijuana law.
Indeed, we did have an election in Canada. I urged members of the Canadian Cannabis Culture to support the new Democratic Party (NDP) for eight months prior to the election, after NDP leader Jack Layton came to my home last October and asked for the support of the Cannabis Culture in electing more NDP candidates to the House of Commons. In March and April, I went on a 22-city university and college tour to promote Jack Layton and the NDP policy of legally distributed marijuana, culminating with my arrest in Saskatoon on April 22 for passing a joint to a student in a local park after my speech.
I was kept in jail for three days and had to agree to outrageous bail conditions to get out of the clutches of Canada’s original Prohibition City. Then in August I was convicted of “trafficking” for passing that one joint, and sentenced to an astonishing 92 days in jail. (By the time you read this I should be free again.)
The election of June 28 saw the NDP go from one million votes to just under two million votes, and to 19 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. NDP leader Jack Layton promises to fight in the new Parliament (he was elected, thankfully) for a legal system of regulated sales and distribution.
On April 27 of this year, we suffered major damage as our neighbor Blunt Brothers burned to the ground, nearly taking the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore with it. As it was, we suffered major damage, and were without insurance, so we mounted a heroic comeback and the newly restored and greatly improved BCMP Bookstore at 307 West Hastings is bigger, more beautiful and now boasts beautiful Zen gardens in the “backyard.”
Blunt Brothers has set up shop in the Amsterdam Caf? location until they open their big, magnificent new Blunt Brothers in a majestic building formerly housing a bank at the corner of Hamilton and Hastings streets, across from the BCMP. The Blunts plan to open their sumptuous and huge new place on December 31, 2004.
The BCMP Bookstore and headquarters had to operate with just one phone line and a generator for over six weeks, when power from the city was restored just in time for the Tokers’ Bowl 2004, which took place from July 1-4.
What a party!
200 Bowl’ers from all over North America experienced 23 strains of the finest BC pot, with food and parties for four days and nights, including boat trips, bus tours, glass exhibitions, and so much fun. See the article this issue and sign up and send in your money for Tokers’ Bowl 4 in 2005.
Kicking off the Tokers’ Bowl was the Cannabis Day rally held at Vancouver’s Art Gallery where each year thousands of the Cannabis Culture meet at 2:00 pm on July 1 (Canada’s National Holiday) to smoke thousands of joints in the middle of the city with nary a hassle from the authorities, for hours on end. Our American visitors had not seen anything like it!
Our organization provides thousands of dollars to put on the Cannabis Day (July 1) celebration, and over $10,000 was given to the (first weekend in May) Global Marijuana Marches in Rome, London,?Toronto and Vancouver.
We gave over $7,000 US to Dennis Kucinich and his campaign for the Democratic nomination for US President.
Our organization produced 80,000 very effective posters and cards supporting Jack Layton and the NDP in the June 28 Canadian election, and these were widely distributed to excellent effect.
On May 8, at Vancouver’s prestigious Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Mayor of Vancouver, Larry Campbell, was the opening speaker at Beyond Prohibition, a one-day conference financed by our organization and conducted by the BC Civil Liberties Association. Mr Campbell used the opportunity to urge a completely legal environment for marijuana distribution.
The recent 50th issue of Cannabis Culture celebrated 10 years of activism in print. I am still, amidst a galaxy of incredible projects and people in my organization, proudest of this magazine you hold before you. It continues to expand in size and scope, with more pot-filled pages than ever before.
Meanwhile, Pot-TV has just shown its sixth million show after four and a half years of internet webcasting. Pot-TV.net is unique in the world, with over 2,000 shows available for you to watch on your computer, completely free of charge, all about your marijuana culture.
Quite a time! Come and visit me while I recover at the BCMP Bookstore and Headquarters at 307 West Hastings in the “Pot Block” of Vancouver. I am there almost every day and I always enjoy smoking a joint or bong hit with the many visitors from around the world who make the pilgrimage to Vancouver.
Plant the seeds of freedom. Overgrow the government!
Marc Emery, Prince of Pot