Milestones Spring 1996

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September 12, Chicago, Illinois.

Richard Posner, Chicago’s chief federal appeals judge and one of America’s leading legal scholars, became the highest-ranking member of the judiciary to publicly advocate the legalization of marijuana. In an interview published in the UK Times Literary Supplement, Posner stated “It is nonsense that we should be devoting so many law enforcement resources to marijuana” Only decriminalization is a sure route to a lower crime rate.”

September 23, London, Ontario.

The University of Western Ontario held their 9th annual interdisciplinary conference, focussed on cannabis and Bill C-7. Speakers included Dr Patricia Erickson of the Addiction Research Foundation, Dr Eric Single of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and Geof Kime of Hempline Inc. Sue Barnes, MP for London West, was quoted as saying that several members of the Liberal party had problems with Bill C-7, and that “prohibition inflicts more harm than drugs.”

October 18-21, Santa Monica, California.

The Drug Policy Foundation held its Ninth Annual Conference on Drug Policy Reform. The conference was well attended and provided accurate information on international drug policy and a chance for networking between the many drug policy reform organization that attended. For details on the DPF conference click here.

October 27, Prague, Czech.

Three owners of a Czech publishing house, Votobia, were charged with “promoting drug addiction” for publishing a book called Cooking With Cannabis. Although Czech law does not prohibit consumption of cannabis or possession for personal use, it does prohibit its production, distribution, and promotion. The case is a first for the post-communist Czech Republic. For more information contact Ronin Publishing at (510) 548-2124

October 30, Ottawa, Ontario.

Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, was passed by the Canadian Parliament. It was passed on the day of the Qu?bec referendum, in the absence of the official opposition, and no record was kept of which Members of Parliament were present or how they voted. For the whole story on this vicious and sneaky piece of legislation, see this.

November, Washington DC.

The American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, passed a resolution this past November urging lawmakers to make marijuana legally available as a therapeutic agent. The APHA represents more than 50,000 members and has been effectively influencing policies and setting priorities in public health since 1872.

November 1, Phoenix, Arizona.

A Phoenix court judge dismissed charges against Peter Wilson, Chairman of Arizona NORML, because of evidence that he is licensed by the state to sell marijuana. Under Arizona law, residents can purchase both a license and tax stamps ($10 per ounce) to legally possess and sell marijuana. Wilson possessed both a license and over $200 dollars worth of stamps at the time of his arrest. The state intends to appeal the ruling. For more information contact Peter Wilson at (602) 861-0855.

November 2, North Vancouver, BC.

North Vancouver police raided the “The Joint”, the first hemp and marijuana accessory store in the North Vancouver area. Owner Ryan Mawhinney was charged with possession of marijuana and spent a few hours in jail. Police confiscated almost all of his merchandise, supposedly because of an invalid business license. See November 22nd for the second part of this story.

November 11, Great Britian.

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, printed an editorial calling for the decriminalization of cannabis. The editorial, entitled “Deglamorising Cannabis”, concludes with the statement that “cannabis per se is not a hazard to society, but driving it further underground may well be.”

November 12, Germany.

The New York Times News Service reported that the German government is repealing its ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp. German Health Minister Horst Seehofer stated that “German farmers should be able to take advantage of the market potential for the hemp plant.”

November 22-28: Amsterdam, Holland.

High Times held the Eighth Annual Cannabis Cup, and BC bud took third place in the competition for best buds. This year’s Cup was the largest ever held, with over 2,000 judges in attendance from across North America. For the whole story on this event see the article in this issue.

November 22, Vancouver, BC.

Hemp BC was raided by Vancouver police officers, supposedly acting upon a complaint of marijuana use in the store. No goods were seized, but employee Shell Windsor and Ryan Mawhinney (of The Joint) were charged with possession of marijuana, as was a customer. The full story is right here.

November 27-28, Abbotsford, BC.

John Conroy began his constitutional challenge of marijuana prohibition on behalf of his client Randy Caine. With the help of expert witnesses Neil Boyd and Barry Beyerstein, Conroy chronicled the history of prohibition, from the Indian Hemp Commission to recent studies, and Caine stated that he felt “well received” by the Her Honour Judge Howard. Further court dates have been set for March 8th, and 11th to 14th. For more information contact Randy Caine at 583-9971.

December 5, New York, New York.

Our publisher Marc Emery appeared on the front page of the Wall St Journal, in an article titled “Pot Seed Merchant, Winked at by Police, Prospers in Canada.” Marc was quoted as saying “next year, we’ll sell 500,000 seeds.” The article prompted a new level of media attention, and Marc has since appeared on a number of Canadian and American national radio and television shows, as well as in many other newspaper interviews. See Public Exposure for the whole story.

December 9, Gainseville, Florida.

Elvy Musikka, who is supplied by the federal government with a monthly prescription of marijuana cigarettes to treat her glaucoma, was arrested at the sixth annual Florida Hempfest. She was dragged off the stage by two police officers after lighting one of her prescription “joints”. The rally’s organizers are taking legal action against the city for false arrest.

December 14, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Ontario police raided Kaiyun, a store in Thunder Bay which sold some pipes and bongs along with their main business of silver jewellery and semi-precious stones. Police confiscated over $5000 worth of merchandise, and arrested owner Ken Venema and one employee under section 462.2 of the Criminal Code.

January 4, Vancouver, BC.

The Hemp BC retail store was raided by Vancouver police, along with the Hemp BC wholesale office and the Cannabis Canada office. Marc Emery and three employees were charged with selling paraphernalia and literature, and with trafficking in marijuana seeds, and held by police for over eleven hours. About $100,000 in marijuana seeds and paraphernalia was seized. Hemp BC was open for business the next day. For the whole story see here.

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