There are too many Canadians locked behind bars for cannabis “crimes”.
I am one of them, currently incarcerated at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in British Columbia for charges stemming from my establishment of the The Vancouver School of Drugwar History and Organic Cultivation, where I openly sold marijuana and other herbs as part of my activism.
While serving my time, I’ve been talking to a lot of my fellow prisoners and have been somewhat shocked and alarmed at realizing just how many of them are here for cannabis convictions.
My conversations with these men, most of them everyday guys I would be happy to have a smoke with, were often insightful, and I wanted to share some of them with Cannabis Culture readers.
These are just a few Pot Prisoners I have run into while locked up, but there are many, many more.
Pot Prisoner Profile #1
Name: Mike Sloan
Date of arrest: Dec 26, 2006
Sentence: 9 months + 13 months remand
Reason for using cannabis: Relaxant, social lubricant
How he got popped: Heat-score roommate brought Vancouver and Squamish police to his house looking for guns. Suffered four broken ribs and lost three front teeth after being electrocuted with a taser and beaten for spiting on a cop’s boot.
Age of first joint: 13
Tip for the pot community: Be careful who you associate with.
Pot Prisoner Profile #2
Code Name: Goodman
Vocation: Cannabis salesman
Date of arrest: March 7, 2008
Sentence: 6 months
Reason for using cannabis: social, rarely smokes
How he got popped: Too much “bling” led to surveillance, nosey neighbors smelled something and called the cops.
Age of first joint: 13
Tips for the pot community: Location, location, location! Attic space is less heaty. Always park in the garage.
Pot Prisoner Profile #3
Code Name: Unlucky Farmer
Vocation: Maintenance laborer / construction
Charge: Possession for the purposes of trafficking & cultivation
Date of arrest: June 2007
Sentence: 7 months
Reason for using cannabis: Enhances senses
How he got popped: Neighbors smelled gas when the water heater broke and called the fire department who phoned the cops.
Age of first joint: 10
Tips for the pot community: Always flush your grow, it improves the weight. Move to a place without neighbors and grow in trailers (he gets about 7 pounds a light, believe it or not).
Pot Prisoner Profile #4
Name: Thomas Nichols
Vocation: Carpenter, welder, entrepreneur
Charge: Cultivation of marijuana, possession for purposes of trafficking
Date of arrest: November 3, 2006
Sentence: 9 months
Age of first joint: 14
Reason for using cannabis: It’s been 30 years since he used pills, 25 years since he used hard drugs, 20 years since he drank alcohol and 18 years since he had a cigarette. He uses cannabis medically for burns that cover 65% of his body. The herb calms his mind and relieves symptoms of aggravation from the burns. Has a tattoo of cannabis buds going up his arm to his neck, and believes adamantly in the medical use of cannabis.
How he got popped: Busted with 287 plants (sea of green – many small plants). Growing Northern Lights crosses with Blueberry, White Rhino crossed with Mr. Nice, Sensi Star crossed with Maple Leaf crossed with Berry Mix. He was a breeder. A heater he added to the grow caught on fire and the firefighters called the police.
At his trial, Justice Heslop would not allow him to speak to his sentence or bring up his medical reasons for using cannabis. He is launching a formal complaint against his own lawyer, who, at the trial, was laughing along with prosecution lawyers.
Pot Prisoner Profile #5
Code Name: Stupid One
Vocation: Insurance underwriter
Date of arrest: May 4, 2007
Sentence: 1 year
Reason for using cannabis: Relaxant, helps unwind at the end of the day.
How he got popped: Some people offered him $5000 every harvest, plus the promise of a house, to put his name on some property. The same people paid a bank manager to secure a mortgage. As it turns out, he was paid $5000 only once on the fourth harvest. After one and a half years, these people offered him $20 per hour to water plants on the premises. The police happened to have the place staked-out.
Age of first joint: 14
Tips for the pot community: Never sign a mortgage contract for pot growers. Never sign a line of credit for pot growers. Never work with people you don’t know. Never put your family in a situation where they can be threatened.
Pot Prisoner Profile #6
Code Name: Juicy Brucy
Vocation: Retail manager
Charge: Cultivation and production of a controlled substance, possession for the purposes of trafficking
Date of arrest: June 2008
Sentences: 12 months conditional sentence order, breach leading to 7 months jail + 3 months probation
Reason for using cannabis: Heightens senses, enhances experiences like music, sex, food, movies, videogames and outdoors.
How he got popped: Cops witnessed botched home invasion on his house.
Age of first joint: 25
Tips for the pot community: Be secure! Steel frames, steel doors, secure windows, safety glass, and a charcoal filter are all very important.
Pot Prisoner Profile #7
Code Name: B.C. Bud 69
Vocation: International transportations expert (mule)
Charge: Impaired driving (never been caught for smuggling)
Age of first joint: 8
Reason for using cannabis: Rarely smoke it – use to make money. A relative is quadriplegic and uses it for pain relief and insomnia.
Tips for the pot community: Use night vision and bug detectors (bugs are fence vibration devices). Use a branch to rub out footsteps. Take your time; look both ways before crossing the border. Work below the snow line so there are no tracks and use seasonal camouflage.
Successes: Moves about 200 pounds at a time with four mules (50 each). Each mule makes $100 per pound. Has made up to about $60,000 in three months. Crosses the border about 30 times a year, and has been working for about eight years and never been caught.
David Malmo-Levine is a Vancouver marijuana activist incarcerated at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge, BC, for his establishment of the Vancouver Herb School. Please click here and here for more information on David’s case. Read David’s blog on Cannabis Culture and watch his Pot-TV show High Society.