CANNABIS CULTURE – Hundreds of protesters gathered this weekend outside police headquarters in Toronto to show support for the Cannabis as Living Medicine (C.A.L.M.) Compassion Club, which was raided last week in an aggressive police takedown.
Cannabis Culture reported on the incident shortly after it happened and the Canadian media picked up the story last week. Toronto police released a statement last week claiming the raid on the city’s largest marijuana dispensary was due to “community complaints”.
C.A.L.M.’s lawyer Ron Marzel told CC the rally was a “huge success” and that despite a few minor confrontations with authorities, “it was a very peaceful gathering”.
Canada’s corporate media even made it out for the protest; read their coverage below…
Protesters demand legal access to cannabis
by Adrian Morrow, Toronto Star
Some lit up bongs, some blasted Bob Marley and others waved flags emblazoned with the marijuana leaf in a Sunday afternoon protest outside police headquarters to protest the shuttering of Cannabis as Living Medicine.
Officers raided the Queen St. E. clinic of CALM, an organization that sells marijuana to medicinal users, on March 31 and charged nine people with a variety of drug-related offences.
On Sunday, some 300 people took to the street outside police headquarters to protest the raid and subsequent closure of the clinic, and to demand that Health Canada make it easier for those with medical needs to access the drug.
“A lot of people need help from cannabis, but it’s hard to get high-quality cannabis,” said Neev Tapiero, CALM’s owner, adding that the clinic’s users have rallied in the wake of the closure.
“Everyone’s in great spirits; the community is behind us.”
Police officers lined both the north and south sides of the building behind security fences and shut down part of the street, but no incidents were reported.
The crowd was a mix, with dreadlock-sporting marijuana legalization activists rubbing shoulders with sufferers of epilepsy and people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, who say the drug helps their conditions.
Kevin Clarke, a homeless man who briefly ran for mayor of Toronto, appeared at the protest, shouting at police.
Tapiero says it’s an uphill battle to get Health Canada to change its policy around organizations like CALM, referencing recent statements by Prime Minister Stephen Harper implying he wants to keep a tight lid on marijuana.
“I understand that people defend the use of drugs, but that said, I think I’ve been very fortunate to live a drug-free life and I don’t meet many people who’ve lead a drug-free life who regret it,” the prime minister said in a YouTube interview on the subject last month. “So obviously this is something we want to encourage for our children, for everybody’s children.”
Ron Marzel, CALM’s lawyer, is hoping to file motion next week asking police to return some of the approximately 18,000 grams of marijuana and hash to users.
If the motion goes through, he says CALM could be back in business.
For now, however, the organization is operating without marijuana on the premises. Instead, it’s serving as a place for clients to co-ordinate for the court battle and organize a campaign of protest and pressure against Health Canada.
Tapiero is hoping a protest planned for May 1 at Queen’s Park will draw tens of thousands.
Police had no immediate estimate on the size of the crowd, but said that the protest was peaceful.
CALM has been in existence since 1996 and boasts 3,000 registered members. Some have a license to consume medicinal marijuana, while others simply have a doctor’s note explaining their condition.
– Article from Toronto Star.
Pot users protest raid on downtown ‘Calm Club’
by CTV News
A protest was held outside Toronto police headquarters Sunday afternoon by dozens of pot enthusiasts who claim officers used excessive force during a recent drug raid at a downtown medical marijuana club.
The raid took place last Wednesday at the facility known as the “calm club,” located on Queen Street near Jarvis Street.
Police say the facility does not hold a Health Canada license, as is required. Authorities say they seized 16 kilograms of marijuana during the raid, which is worth about $160,000 on the street.
But one demonstrator said that people who use the club are licensed to smoke pot to deal with their medical conditions.
A lawyer representing the Calm Club says he is asking police to return the drugs to these licenced users.
The owner of the Calm Club and eight employees have been charged in connection with the raid.
Complaints from the community are what led to the raid, police said.
– Article from CTV News.
Hundreds rally in support of medical marijuana at police HQ
by Andrew Moran, Examiner.com
As the movement for legalizing marijuana is growing, Cannabis as Living Medicine gathered hundreds of supporters in front of police headquarters in downtown Toronto.
Toronto, Canada – After Toronto police raided the Cannabis as Living Medicine Compassion Club and arrested staff members of CALM on Mar. 31, employees of CALM, supporters and activists took the fight to police headquarters in downtown Toronto on Sunday to show their disapproval with the police force and Health Canada.
Were the raids justified? There could be plenty of debate on both the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana but a recent EKOS poll suggests half of Canadians believe those who possess small quantities of marijuana should not be considered a criminal and half of Canadians support decriminalizing marijuana, reports CBC News.
However, despite public opinion, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated in a YouTube interview last month that he does not support decriminalizing marijuana, “I guess as a parent, this is the last thing I want to see from my kids. I don’t meet many people who’ve led a drug-free life that regret it. And I’ve met a lot that haven’t, and regretted it.”
Nevertheless, hundreds of demonstrators justified their position of pro-medical marijuana as one protester said that she has HIV and marijuana assists her in her day-to-day life, while one man told police that he suffers from depression and cannabis helps lift his spirits.
Dozens of police officers surrounded headquarters on all sides of the building.
Many signs had statements that would make both proponents and opponents think such as one poster that read: “If cannabis was legal, 40% of Toronto police would be unemployed.” Another sign asked “Why Prohibition?” with images of convicts on a bus with other civilians.
One man told Digital Journal on the condition of anonymity that he personally isn’t upset with Toronto’s police but with Health Canada because they, according to the man, do not respect Canadians’ constitutional rights.
As the rally continued for three hours, dozens of drivers honked their horns in support of the demonstration. This should force one to ask the question: Should the government listen to the people?
– Article from Examiner.com.
Protesters decry closing of compassion club
by Elizabeth Bly, Examiner.com
At the Toronto Police Headquarters on Sunday afternoon, there was a rally supporting the legalization of medical marijuana and also protesting the shut down of CALM earlier on in the week that had provided medical marijuana. The club had been operating for years, although it didn’t have the licensing to operate as a medical marijuana provider, which was one of the reasons it was raided and shut down. Approximately 10 percent of people who were members of CALM had federally issued cards that allow them to have possession of medical marijuana. The remainder of members were just using notes received by Doctors, Chiropractors and Naturopaths to get the medical marijuana for their use.
The rally was in support of CALM which is an organization or a group that stands for Cannabis as Living Medicine. They have two locations in Toronto although don’t post their addresses on their website; you must become a member to acquire the addresses for their locations.
Medical marijuana is meant for people who have serious pain caused from serious and chronic diseases and illnesses such as Cancer and HIV/AIDS .
It is meant for use after treatment of chemotherapy and reducing nausea and pain.
It has also been used by people who suffer from Glaucoma and Multiple Sclerosis.
– Article from Examiner.com.