Chatting With The Dispensary Cop

CANNABIS CULTURE – Police, pundits and politicians must ignore the facts to remain effective prohibitionists.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

― Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked

Part 1: The Dispensary Cop

So the now aptly-named Stressed And Depressed cannabis dispensary got robbed again. Two men entered the SAD premises at approximately 8:30 pm on Thursday, August 13th, 2015. It was the second robbery in as many months – the first being the “smash and grab” that we finally finished the renos on.

It’s definitely not easy moving green.

I got to the Dispensary at around 9PM or so, and the police were already there. It was the classic good-cop/bad-cop routine with a new twist – the good cop was investigating the robbery and the bad cop – the “dispensary cop” – was there to see if we complied with the new regulations.

If we didn’t comply, he told us he – the VPD – would take what the thieves didn’t.

My co-worker Sean compared it to a police officer threatening to rape a rape victim if she didn’t comply with his post-rape interview. I thought about the comparison for a bit, and have come to the conclusion that it’s an invalid comparison in that the rest of society doesn’t applaud the cop-rapist, but cop-who-throws-the-flower-criminal-in-jail-with-other-rapists or cop-who-impoverishes-harmless-dealers-into-wage-slavery gets accolades from greater society, so it’s just apples and oranges.

Anyway, the cop demanded to see a few things. We didn’t have our file cabinet key on us – our bad – to show them our medical documents (which, being documents of the medical type, I imagine should sort of be private and requiring a warrant to see but what do I know?). The key remained with the day manager, an oversight we promised to remedy ASAP.

The other concern vocalized to me by police was about the SAD policy of respecting other compassion club cards – at least the ones that have yet to be shut down by the police – arising from the reason that the police should not be both claiming that there is no way to tell the illegitimate dispensaries from the legitimate ones while undergoing precisely that duty themselves.

I told him that we were planning to phase out that practice as soon as possible, and that seemed to keep him semi-happy. It was hard to tell his mood, because of the slightly tense exchange we had on the topic of what a “legitimate user” was.

I had been studying the issue extensively, going so far as to name my dispensary the Stressed And Depressed Association because those are universally experienced conditions – both the sick and the healthy, the young and the old, the rich and the poor all suffer from some times (or all the time – especially if they don’t have regular access to reasonably priced, high quality cannabis).

I placed the research I conducted with my associate Rob Callaway (who has his masters degree in Health and Psychology) in front of the police and asked him this very pointed question:

“If it’s true that cannabis is the safest, cheapest and most effective preventive medicine for things like stress and depression, doesn’t that mean that every user is a legitimate medical user and you don’t have any legitimate targets anymore?”

I watched as a look of horror washed over his face – as if he was confronted with his “attack those with inner autonomy and an intelligent preference for an effective herb” crimes for the first time – all the intimidation power left him immediately. Something akin to fear mixed with guilt replaced it.

“I don’t want to discuss political questions. I’m just here about the regulations.”

Just so everyone understands, when a police officer says “political questions”, he means discussing whether or not to persecute harmless scapegoats to the absolute maximum, and when he says “regulation enforcement” he means perform that exact persecution but with no discussion.

I noticed this “semi-fear, semi-guilt” look on other people’s faces recently.


Part 2: Pamela “Uncool” McColl

There’s an anti-pot crusader who has popped up on the scene recently named Pamela McColl.

She heads – and seems to be the sole organizer behind – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada – an off-shoot of the US corporation SAM which is paid for through big pharma bucks.

So anyway, she and I went on CBC television to debate the existence of medical cannabis dispensaries.

The part where she showed true fear was the part CBC edited out – right about at the 5:36 mark – where I had been asking Pam to explain her concern over teen cannabis use causing schizophrenia for the previous 60 seconds and then my reply was edited out by the CBC. But what I said – that the CBC edited out and gave Pam that look of fear-guilt – was this:

“Macleod, et al. (2004) – published in the Lancet – proved that schizophrenia rates have not risen alongside cannabis use rates between 1970 and 2001 – it’s just more reefer madness – Reefer Madness 2.0!”

Or something along those lines. I don’t know what I actually said because the CBC – for reasons yet stated – edited my coup de grass out of the debate. It was the only thing edited out of the debate.

At the end of the CBC video of the debate you can see me looking down at my copy of this document – which has sources to other documents backing up what I said.

I tried to pass copies of this pamphlet to the CBC reporter and to Pam but neither of them were interested in any additional information on the subject, which is strange considering they’re both in the business of knowing things. I guess it’s just certain things they want to learn more about. Maybe they are just picky about the quality of the source, and refused to read anything handed to them by someone wearing cutoff jeans.

I suspect their reasons were a combination of that and the “drug-war-genocide-complicity-anxiety-disorder” the cop was feeling: a sort of willful ignorance about the relative harmlessness of the people they are persecuting. Or in the case of the CBC, the harmless pot scapegoats they mostly just monitor but occasionally attack or defend.

The same information – in book form was offered up to the cops at the Cannabis Day event – none of them wanted to read about cannabis and the developing minds of the young either – they just wanted to wage war against a huge chunk of the population to defend those developing minds they have no time to learn about.

Some of them looked scared or guilty. Check out their faces in the photo that accompanied this link.

Part 3: Mayor Robertson, Council and the Bureaucrats of the City of Vancouver

Vancouver’s foray into regulating the med-pot industry was a short two stage process.

1) Have “hearings” that let everyone get their two cents off their chests and preserve the illusion of “consultation”, and

2) ignore practically everything that was said at these hearings and go ahead ramming through all the discriminatory licensing practices you were planning on installing anyway.

During the hearings, the truth that seemed too much for the local government to handle came at the end of my speech, when I compared the harms that came with cannabis to that of alcohol and caffeine.

I start talking about the cannabis-caffeine comparison to the Mayor and council at about 1:28:00 of this video.

Cannabis has a lower risk than caffeine, by the way, using most drug risk evaluation critera.

And that’s the real crux of it. Because if cannabis is as bad as they say it is, we cannabis dispensary owners and Cannabis Day protesters are a bunch of no-good child-destroyers.

If, on the other hand, cannabis is safer than caffeine, our persecutors – the police, pundits and politicians that take part in the attacks on harmless people – they end up being something even worse than a child destroyer. They are the destroyers of human medical autonomy itself.

Once we lose human medical autonomy, we may never ever get it back again.

Fighting back

I’m not the type to take this crap lying down – and neither are most of you! Join me in my efforts to beat back their stigma foisting with reason and dignity! Keep doing what you’re doing – because all the other activism that is being done is excellent and having a major impact – but join me in my efforts to get this guilt-and-shame-inflicting-upon-the-scapegoaters set of facts out there:

If you happen to be really flush, help me make these arguments in court with our “farmer’s market court challenge” fundraising campaign.

It’s really just a fight over our dignity. As long as we keep our heads held high and keep speaking the truth – through art, music, humor, business, social events, Facebook posts or however we choose to express ourselves – we should end up with the kind of legalization we all want. The kind that leaves no smoker, grower or dealer behind.