The Battlefields of 1995
by Marc Emery
You won't get something for nothing,
You won't get freedom for free,
You won't get wise with the sleep still in your eyes,
No matter what your dream might be ...
Something for Nothing
Neil Peart, Rush
A Remarkable Dare.
Since the summer of 1993, Chris Clay has been pushing the edge of that
envelope they talked about in the movie epic The Right Stuff. Going
where no one dared to go before.
That summer, Chris opened Canada’s first modern day hemp store in sleepy
London, Ontario. It was an in-your-face legalization store at 183 King
Street (a mini mall, no less!), and everything in the store broke the
vicious censorship and restraint of practice laws that have kept the
cannabis culture chained in helpless silence since the mid 1980’s. Chris
sold pipes, bongs, and grow guides, all illegal. Chris was also
instrumental in financing and assisting H.E.M.P. Canada back when it was
In December 1994 Chris pushed the envelope even further by selling high
quality marijuana seeds out of his store. Illegal? Maybe. I certainly used
to think so. But the police didn’t complain. Earlier that year Chris had
also opened the Marijuana History Museum.
In Spring 1995 he opened the Hemp Nation Caf?, a refuge for the cannabis
connoisseur with an all-cannabis (and a bit of caffeine) theme, tucked
further inside the Fraser Mall.
As a political protest, Chris erected a six-foot high statue of a chicken
with the label “Chicken Fantino” in the front window facing the busy King
Street sidewalks. The Fantino the chicken stood in mockery of was the
police chief of London, and police privately told neighbouring businesses
that they would dearly like to rid themselves of this thorn in their side
and get Chris Clay and The Great Canadian Hemporium on substantial criminal
On the afternoon of May 7, Chris placed twenty Skunk #1 “clones” on display
for sale, mentioning the event only to a few friends. The clones were two
week old marijuana plants, measuring between two and three inches high, and
they were being sold for
Chris later told me that his intent was to challenge the law, which is
widely understood to prohibit the sale of live, albeit young, marijuana
“I thought they might charge me. I felt that it was a legal grey area
because there is no THC or drug quality in the plant at that stage of
maturity, and that we could challenge it in court. I had no idea they might
take most of my store…”
That night, several armed city police and RCMP raided Chris and the Great
Canadian Hemporium. They seized vast quantities of pipes, bongs, rolling
papers, mushroom spores, and all his cannabis clones and seeds, including
sterilized food seeds. Along with the
in cash in the till, a total of over
worth of inventory was carted off.
The police also raided Chris’ home, which was trashed in the typical drug
warrior fashion that so many of us living in this police state are familiar
with. Two guests staying at the house were arrested and charged with
possession of marijuana simply because they were there at the time,
although no marijuana was found on them. A quarter-ounce (worth
was found in the home, but for all the police-inspired mayhem on his
residence, nothing much else was found of police interest.
For daring to push the envelope, Chris has had his store pillaged for
worth of goods, his home trashed and his houseguests arrested, and
he has been charged with all possible charges under Canadian law:
Possession of marijuana (NCA s3.1) Punishable by fine up to
and up to six months in jail.
Cultivation of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking (NCA s6.2)
Punishable by up to seven years in jail.
Trafficking in marijuana (NCA s4.3) Punishable by up to life imprisonment.
Selling Paraphernalia (Criminal Code s462.2) Punishable by fine up to
and up to six months in jail.
The police did not seize any books or printed matter, thanks to a court
challenge by Umberto Iorfida that defeated the literature provision of
section 462.2 last October. (This decision is being appealed to the Supreme
Court by the Chr?tien government, which wants to repeal this
constitutional victory and ban all literature advocating legal marijuana).
If convicted on all four charges, pushing the legalization envelope could
net Chris Clay up to seventeen years in jail and up to
which, if unpaid, result in further jail time
of unpayable fine equals
one day in jail). If convicted under section 462.2, all
in inventory may also be forfeit.
Chris was held overnight in jail on the night of his arrest. His bail
conditions are stringent. His store is operating and is as popular as ever,
but his case may be the greatest challenge before us all.
Chris has retained one of the nation’s great criminal lawyers in the field
of marijuana prohibition, Alan Young, Professor of Criminal Law at Osgoode
Hall Law School in Toronto. Mr. Young is &
lawyer, and represented Shakedown Street (Kitchener) and
Hemp (Kingston) in successfully protecting their legalization stores from
Mr. Young and Chris Clay are launching constitutional challenges to all
four charges, but this will be extremely expensive and full of risks. There
is no guarantee that a judge will listen to a constitutional challenge to
any of these charges.
The Bottom Line
So here’s the bottom line: Chris needs money. You can buy stuff from his
store, you can donate money anonymously, into the Hemp Nation account
specially set up for Chris’ court defences, at any Royal Bank in Canada.
The last time I appealed to you for money, it was for Umberto Iorfida’s
costs in defeating section 462.2 of the criminal code, the vicious
marijuana censorship law that, until Umberto’s victory last October, had
strangled the legalization movement for six years. I made an urgent appeal
to you, our readers in the Canadian Cannabis Culture, in the January 1995
issue of the Marijuana & Hemp Magazine. I asked you for donations to cover
the costs of his two and a half year court battle, pointing out that I, as
publisher of this magazine, would match dollar for dollar all donations up
(We also gave Umberto several hundred dollars at the time).
Appallingly, less than
was donated by all of you combined! That issue
sold out, so several thousand people were aware of the urgent need for
money for the NORML Canada constitutional challenge fund regarding section
462.2. I told you about all the hard work that had gone into the case, the
years of frustration and labour by Umberto and lawyers Edward Morgan & Alan
Young (who worked for free!). The money raised is just to pay for court
documents, travel expenses, fees, copies, etc., and doesn’t even reward the
lawyers for their brilliant work.
And yet all our readers could muster was a grand total of under
is less than two cents per reader! That’s disgusting! That is an insult to
all those on the battlefield, working years in the courts and on the
These court battles are the most important action in the legalization
movement right now. These are serious battles for liberty. Your Liberty!
The Three Fronts of the War
There are three important court room battles that need your financial
First, Chris Clay needs your cash, and lots of it. You can deposit money
directly into his Hemp Nation account, anonymously, at any Royal Bank. Just
fill out your deposit slip with the five digit transit number
(this indicates what branch it goes to), and the account number
Second, NORML Canada achieved a victory in the courts last October. For six
years previous, it was illegal and punishable with six months in jail and
in fines to advocate or promote the legalization or use of
marijuana in any way whatsoever. Umberto Iorfida was charged when handing
out legalization literature to North Toronto high school students in April
1992. He faced up to a
fine and six months in jail for exercising
his most basic and fundamental political rights. Police trashed his office,
confiscating photocopiers, mailing lists and fax machines! Welcome to the
Umberto sweated two and half years, ultimately striking a major blow to
make all our lives easier and allowing us to enjoy a great big chunk of
liberty. He was aided by two brilliant lawyers working for free, simply
because they, too, believe in liberty.
The Chretien government wants to return to the Stalinist era and are
challenging NORML Canada’s victory at the Supreme Court. This vital defence
to our newly gained freedom needs a great deal of money too, certainly more
than the shocking pennies a few have donated so far! You may send cheques
or money orders (make payable to NORML Canada In Trust) to: Edward Morgan,
PO Box 63, #1 First Canadian Place, Toronto, Ontario, M5X 1B1.
Third, in July, Vince Cain of White Rock, British Columbia, will actually
have a courtroom listen to a constitutional challenge asking the question:
Do the marijuana prohibition laws violate the Charter of Rights as
guaranteed to all Canadians? It should be a fine showcase for attacking the
vicious bigotry of federal laws criminalizing the use of marijuana.
This exceptional challenge is also desperate for funding. I have pledged
(the minimum we contributed to any of the challenges listed above),
and since ultimately a positive decision by this court could end marijuana
criminalization possibly forever, money is desperately required! You may
contribute to this fabulous opportunity for justice by sending a cheque or
money order to: Vince Cain, In Trust of John Conroy – Attorney, Conroy,
Hammond & Co., 2459 Pauline St., Abbotsford, B.C., V2S 3S1.
If you are Canadian and a cannabis consumer, you must contribute to at
least one of these three campaigns. I will accept no excuses. I expect a
contribution of at least
to any one of the above campaigns from every
store in our hemp commercial directory, and I will be approaching all of
them, demanding “where’s the money?!” All of our subscribers, employees,
and regular customers will be dunned for a contribution. If you are reading
this magazine, you have a patriotic and moral duty (and an obvious vested
self-interest) to contribute at least
to any one of the above three court battles.
It’s the cheapest price you’ll pay in this lifetime. Any
one victory in these three courtroom battles will free us from shackles of
brutal jail time, vicious censorship, and severe legislative bigotry.
For our European Readers
Parisian legalization advocate Michka, who is the author of three books on
cannabis (and is also a Canadian citizen from the Grand Forks area of
British Columbia), is being sued for libel in a highly publicized lawsuit
in Paris. She is being sued by the notorious prohibitionist Gabriel Nahas,
whose “reefer-madness hysteria” articles on marijuana she challenged in
print, along with Dr. Bertrand Le Beau.
The case will feature experts from around the world verifying the facts
printed by Michka, and this is a great opportunity to defend Michka from
financial ruin and finish off Gabriel Nahas, the Count Dracula of the
Prohibitionists, whose lies and gross exaggerations about marijuana will be
subject to close-up scrutiny before media and court.
Michka has received generous financial assistance from Ed Rosenthal, Ben
Dronkers and Adrian Bronckhorst, but much more is required. You can
contribute to Michka’s battle by sending a cheque to: Dossier Vert, c/o
Michka, 1 rue Petion, 75011 Paris, France. Money orders can be sent to:
Societe Generale (30003), Paris Cheronne (03310), Account 5033 2709 (RIB
Directing Your Dollars
Giving money to specific cases is far more worthwhile than giving to
general advocacy groups, who I must say have been
disappointing. H.E.M.P. Canada has not operated for almost all of 1995,
producing nothing and refusing to return any calls. NORML Canada’s
Hemp-o-rama was cancelled, as was Hempology 101’s Hemp Awareness Day in
Vancouver. In short, give your money to specific courtroom battles where
real results are very possible, or to specific events where real movement
Right now, there are constitutional challenges attacking:
- The government’s censorship of the marijuana legalization
movement. (Umberto Iorfida – NORML Canada)
- The criminalization of marijuana. (Vince Cain)
- The criminalization of paraphernalia , and possibly challenges to
cultivation and sale of marijuana laws. (Chris Clay – Hemporium)
We have only a few heroes in this country, and their names are Umberto
Iorfida, Edward Morgan, Chris Clay, Alan Young, Vince Cain, John Conroy. We
have over a million potential beneficiaries, you and I are at the front of
the line to cash in on that rich bounty of freedom. The price you must pay
is small, but you must give now, and give generously.
"Never in the course of human history, has so much been owed by so many to
Winston Churchill, saluting the RAF at the turning point for the
Battle of Britain.
"...so that we can say 'This was our finest hour.'"
Winston Churchill, to Britons having survived the Blitzkrieg, and turning
away the dark forces of Nazi Germany.