Hamilton, Ontario’s high flying cannabis activism days are unfortunately over. Once Chris Goodwin gets out of jail, he will leave Hamilton and renew his campaign for freedom in British Columbia. Marc Emery, Chris’ mentor and inspiration, has experienced the very same situation that Chris now faces and has planned with him what his next moves should be.
Not unlike the Up In Smoke Cafe, Marc’s HempBC store was raided and harassed, again and again, between July 1994 and September 1998. After many years of tireless fighting, Marc was convicted on ‘giving hashish to a tourist’ and banned from his store and the surrounding 300-block. His ban lasted from February 1998, when he had to sell HempBC, to September 1998, when the store finally closed.
Marc continued running Marc Emery Direct Seeds, and then moved to the Sunshine Coast in April 1998. For three years he stayed there, ultimately launching Pot-TV from the basement of his home in January 2000. In March 2001 Marc created the BC Marijuana Party for that year’s provincial election and headed back to Vancouver, leasing 307 West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver, where HempBC had once been, as the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and political headquarters.
So here we are today, a political storefront “safe” from persecution or raids. Of course there was the DEA/Vancouver Police bust on July 29th, 2005 but that was a raid on the Seed Business/Desk, not the BCMP Bookstore itself.
The point in sharing this story is that even the most “Never-Surrender!” activists have to take a step back at some point. It’s not declaration of defeat it’s usually the point when the enemy has become so overly aggressive, so excessively pursuant, that we are forced to temporarily quiet down, regroup, and set out strategies for the future battles our cannabis culture will always face.
Up In Smoke was a wonderful two year experiment in aggressive retail activism. Chris Goodwin and his “mob” were able to provide all the rest of us with some excellent lessons on what can work and what tactic has drawbacks. Up In Smoke will be legendary and live on in the creations of others.
Chris Goodwin’s Hamilton privileges are, as the movie line goes, cancelled until further notice. When Chris gets out (4 weeks in jail so far)
his mission will continue in British Columbia under the seasoned mentorship of David Malmo-Levine and Marc Emery.
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