Hemp BC in City Hall’s Kangaroo Court
Next hearing: Thursday, December 10, 7pm
By Dana Larsen
On December 8th Hemp BC had their first day of what promises to be a long
and protracted “show-cause” hearing before City Council. This hearing is
for City Council to decide whether or not Sister Icee should be granted
a business license to operate Hemp BC and the Cannabis Cafe. She currently
operates both businesses without a license, and has been raided by police
twice since she took over ownership from Marc Emery.
This first day had the City lawyer questioning Paul Teichroeb, the City’s
Chief Licensing Inspector. As expected, almost all of the questions related
to the activities of Marc Emery while he was owner of Hemp BC, and tried
to connect Sister Icee’s current ownership of Hemp BC with Marc because
she was a manager of the store during part of Marc’s ownership.
Violating of agreements
The city lawyer also repeatedly violated the agreement which had been previously
reached between him and Sister Icee’s lawyers. They city lawyers had agreed
to delete all references to criminal violations of section 462.2 (which
bans bongs and pot-literature), and Sister Icee’s lawyers had agreed to
withdraw their Supreme Court application to have the city’s hearings delayed
until after Sister Icee’s 462.2 charges had been dealt with in court. Despite
this agreement, and the repeated objections of Sister Icee’s lawyers, the
city lawyer repeatedly asked questions about 462.2 charges.
At the end of 2 hours of questioning, Brent Lokash of Hemp BC’s legal
team had the opportunity to question Mr Teichroeb. Lokash asked the Chief
Licensing Inspector if he had any evidence that Sister Icee had violated
her agreement with the city by having Marc Emery be involved in the operation
of the business after he sold it. Teichroeb answered no, and then when
pressed, fumbled for a better answer, flipping through the police notebook
in front of him.
Lokash didn’t have the chance to ask too many other questions before
the time alloted for the meeting ran out. The meeting chairman, councillor
Gordon Puil, arbitrarily decided that the next meeting would be two days
later, on December 10 at 7pm, since City Council had an opening then. Hemp
BC’s lawyers complained that they had all originally agreed that the next
date would be January 26. Chairman Puil insisted that the next date be
December 10 regardless of previous agreements, and even exclaimed “we’ll
do this on Christmas Day if we have to!”
Councillor Nancy Chiavario complained about this arbitrary change of
dates and asked for a vote on the issue, which she lost. So the next hearing
is Thursday, December 7 at 10pm, even though two of the three Hemp BC lawyers
won’t be able to come.
The whole proceeding had a very farcical and unorganized air to it. The
hearing began 20 minutes late because some councillors were tardy. Chairman
Puil seemed to have no grasp of how to run the hearing, and repeatedly
said things like “I may not be the smartest guy around” and joked about
Hemp BC’s “slick lawyers”. He was overheard during one cigarette break
saying that he had “better things to do with my time than be here.” This
committee would ordinarily be chaired by Mayor Philip Owen, but he removed
himself after accusations that he was biased, stemming from an interview
in the New York Times where he said that Hemp BC would be “toast”.
There was long articles in the next day’s Vancouver Sun and Province,
which will be available online shortly. There was also some radio coverage,
but nothing on television.
Sister Icee asks that anyone who wants Hemp BC to stay open come down
to Vancouver City Hall on Thursday December 10 at 7pm. The hearings are
open to the public and it’s very educating to see how ridiculous it all
* Sister Icee can be reached by email at [email protected],
by phone at (604) 681-4620, and by fax at.(604) 681-4625.
* Vancouver City Council and Mayor Philip Owen can be reached at:
tel: (604) 873-7621, fax: (604) 873-7685