POLICE MAKE A ONE GRAM POSSESSION BUST IN HEMPBC
On Friday June 27 at 4pm two Vancouver Police officers came into the Hemp
BC store at 307 West Hastings and arrested a customer for possession of
about one gram of marijuana. The customer had been smoking from the “store
bong” at the time, which was also seized.
It has been common for people to smoke marijuana in Hemp BC since the store
first opened in April of 1995.
REPEATED POLICE HARASSMENT5 OF HEMP BC
This arbitrary arrest was just the latest in a series of recent harassing
police actions directed against Hemp BC.
Vancouver Police had come into the store both days before they came in and
made their single arrest. The first two visits were to the soon-to-open
Cannabis Cafe, apparently just to intimidate the manager and staff. Since
that didn’t work, they seem to have chosen to intimidate Hemp BC customers
Seize the potties!
The Vancouver Police also took it upon themselves to intimidate a portable
toilet supplier and stop him from renting toilets to Hemp BC for the July 1
Cannabis Day Celebration.
They somehow figured out who Hemp BC was going to be renting portable
toilets from, and then called them on two separate occasions to warn them
that the police would seize any portable toilets brought to the Cannabis
Day celebration at Sunset Beach.
HEMP BC IS GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY
Hemp BC employs 32 people and has had a very positive influence upon its
surrounding community. Hemp BC has renovated and increased the value of
every piece of property it has rented in what was otherwise a depressed
community. Surrounding businesses agree that Hemp BC has brought many
people and greater prosperity into the area.
During renovation and construction for the creation of the Cannabis Cafe,
Hemp BC strived succesfully to meet all necessary permits and licenses.
It has also been made quite clear that marijuana will not be sold at the
Cafe, but rather that it will simply provide those who wish to consume
cannabis with a comfortable and healthy environment in which to do so.
IS THIS A WARNING?
The last time that the police entered Hemp BC and arrested customers for
possession of minor amounts of cannabis was in December 1995. One month
after this “warning” Hemp BC was raided in earnest.
During that raid, police seized over $100,000 in merchandise and marijuana
seeds, and Marc Emery spent the night in jail, along with three of his
employees. Marc is still awaiting trial on the charge of trafficking in
seeds, against which he is mounting a constitutional challenge.
THE PEOPLE OF VANCOUVER SUPPORT HEMP BC
Philip Owen supports stepping up the failed War on Drugs, and has been
goading Vancouver Police into increasing their enforcement of drug
possession charges and other minor infractions in Downtown Vancouver.
The Vancouver cannabis community is also concerned about the impending
instatement of Bruce Chambers as Vancouver’s Chief of Police. Chambers was
formerly the Chief of Police for Thunder Bay, where he presided over a raid
upon a small Thunder Bay store called Kaiyun in December of 1995, and
seized $4000 in bongs and pipes.
ONGOING PICKETS AT CITY HALL AND POLICE STATIONS
The people of Vancouver appreciate the presence of Hemp BC in the city, and
they do not support police harassment of peaceful marijuana smokers.
Mayor Owen and the incoming Chief of Police need to be clearly shown that
the people of Vancouver do not want the police to spend their time
harassing portable toilet renters and marijuana smokers.
There will be ongoing pickets in support of Hemp BC at City Hall and the
Main and Cambie street police stations, beginning Monday, June 30. We
invite all supporters to attend and participate in these pickets. Contact
Hemp BC at 681-4620 for more information on how to take part.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Hemp BC needs public support now more than ever. If you live in Vancouver
and you support our cause then then is no greater gift you can give us now
than an hour of your time.
Spend that hour calling Mayor Philip Owen, as well as City Council and the
Vancouver Police, to express your displeasure at their attitude and
actions. You could also spend some of that hour writing a letter to the
media about police harassment of Hemp BC, as well as calling in to radio
and television talk shows to express your feelings about marijuana
prohibition. We also invite you to participate in the on-going picket line
at City Hall or at either of the downtown police stations.
CONTACT VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL
You can reach Mayor Philip Owen as follows:
phone: 873-7621; fax: 873-7685
All city councillors share the same fax line: 873-7750
You can reach all city councillors by email at:
Vancouver’s 10 city councillors phone numbers are as follows:
Don Bellamy 873-7240; Daniel Lee 873-7246; Nancy Chiavario 873-7248;
Don Lee 873-7247; Jennifer Clarke 873-7244; Gordon Price 873-7243;
Alan Herbert 873-7241; George Puil 873-7249; Lynne Kennedy 873-7245;
Sam Sullivan 873-7245
City Hall’s postal address is:
Vancouver City Hall
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1V4
CONTACT THE VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
phone: 665-3535; fax: 257-3716
312 Main Street, V6A 2T2
What follows is a press release from Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen’s office
on June 4, 1997
MAYOR OWEN ANNOUNCES ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN
Canada’s drug trade is out of control. In Vancouver, property crime is up,
home invasions victimizing the elderly are up and car thefts are up.
Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen today launched the City’s Anti-Drug Action
Campaign intended to raise public awareness and pressure the provincial and
federal governments, and the justice system to strengthen laws and hand
down stiffer sentences to convicted drug criminals.
In addition, Mayor Owen is calling for more emphasis on prevention and
treatment, noting the critical need for drug detox and recovery programs in
Vancouver and around the province.
“We have a serious drug problem and we must get serious about fighting it,”
Mayor Owen said. “It is completely unacceptable that youth drug use is up,
completely unacceptable that 70 to 90 per cent of crimes in Canada are
related to drug or alcohol abuse, and completely unacceptable that we seem
to continue to put up with it.”
The City’s Anti-Drug Action calls for government, the justice system,
police, community and the school system to take specific actions:
- Simplify and strengthen legislation to more aggressively fight the drug
- Ensure that the millions of dollars recovered under proceeds of crime
legislation goes to fight drugs and create treatment centres rather than to
- Seek advice from the judiciary about how current legislation hampers the
justice system in fighting drugs.
- Hand down stiffer sentences and larger fines to convicted drug criminals.
- Support police in their efforts to increase search and seizure powers
under the Narcotic Control Act so that searches of drug traffickers’
vehicles can be conducted without a warrant.
- Continue to push for stronger laws and stiffer sentences for convicted
- Increase community policing efforts to prevent drug use and trafficking.
- Lobby for stronger laws and support more active enforcement of laws
against drug use and trafficking.
- Support better reporting of criminal activity using a “Crime Stoppers” model.
- Increase efforts to prevent drug use by supporting anti-drug education
- Work with police to more aggressively enforce the law and fight drugs
Mayor Owen is planning to meet with Canada’s Minister of Justice, Allan
Rock, to discuss these Anti-Drug Action resolutions after pursuing them at
the Annual Convention of theFederation of Canadian Municipalities on June
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