At 1pm on Thursday, January 4th, both the retail storefront and thewholesale office of Hemp BC were raided by Vancouver police. They wereacting on a search warrant issued on the grounds of possession of marijuanawith intent to traffic. This was in reference to the Hemp BC cannabis seedselling operation.
The police occupied the store until about 4 or 5pm, and cleared it out ofbongs, pipes, herbal bliss, mushroom kits, germinable seeds, rolling papersand a selection of hemp clothing and books.
The Hemp BC wholesale office, which is also the Cannabis Canada magazineand website office, was occupied and searched by Vancouver police officersuntil about 8pm. All of the above mentioned goods were seized, as well ascomputer disks containing past issues of Cannabis Canada.
Marc Emery, owner of Hemp BC and publisher of Cannabis Canada, was arrestedand led from his office in handcuffs. The store manager and two employeeswere also arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail in the paddy wagon. Theywere held until about midnight, a total of eleven and a half hours.
Records & Invoices
Despite our fears our computers were not seized. Hemp BC destroys allinvoices and purchase records more than a month old. Our logbook does notlist the items purchased, and only lists customers by name and city.However, some invoices were in the office at the time of the raid, and theywere removed by police.
If you ordered from us in the past week and are concerned about possiblepolice hrassement, call Marc Emery and he will be able to tell you if thepolice took your invoice. We take all possible precautions with names andrecords while still trying to run a business. We don’t expect police tohunt down those who have made purchases from us, but we will assist anyonewho is adversly affected by this in any way we can.
Spontaneous Public support
Emptying out the Hemp BC wholesale & mail order department required atleast four unmarked police cars and a huge Budget Rent-a-truck. Anotherfour marked police cars were successively brought in as a crowd of aboutforty people gathered downstairs of the Water Street office. Although thecrowd was peaceful, there was up to six uniformed officers guarding thefront entranceway at any one time.
The crowd chanted and drummed and politely told the police that they werefascist pawns, while the cops alternately smiled and aggressively removedpeople from their way, unloading box after box of our products into theBudget truck.
Business as usual
The Hemp BC retail storefront opened the next day, selling pipes and bongsas usual. The store was not fully stocked, but we have been well supportedby other hemp stores and manufacturers, and expect to be fully stockedsoon.
Destructive Police Action
Hemp BC employs over twenty people full time, and all of their jobs arethreatened by this invasive and unnecessary police action.
Hemp BC is also the vanguard of the Canadian hemp movement, and many hempstores across Canada rely on Hemp BC to supply them with stock andmerchandise. This growing network of hemp stores is acting to revitalizethe Canadian economy and employ more Canadians in meaningful and productivework. It should not be attacked by arbitrary, invasive, and destructivepolice action.
Pattern of Harassment
This police raid is part of a pattern of increased police harassment ofhemp stores in Vancouver.
These capricious attacks by police mirror the intolerant prohibitionistattitude of Bill C-7, which was surreptitiously passed by Parliament on theday of the Quebec referendum. Bill C-7 is presently being examined by theSenate.
This kind of vicious police harassment is just the beginning of thetreatment Cannabis Canadians can expect if Bill C-7 becomes law. We cannotafford to tolerate this kind of oppression.
Grasstown Police Riot
These police actions also echo “Operation Dustbin”, a municipalzero-tolerance policy which has its 25th anniversary this year. Ananti-prohibitionist demonstration by concerned citizens resulted in the”Grasstown Police Riot” of August 1971, in which Vancouver police ran amockand beat many peaceful residents and tourists.
Marijuana is Good. Prohibition is wrong.
Canadians must no longer tolerate these attacks upon peaceful citizens whouse marijuana. All Canadians must demand the immediate ending of allgovernment persecution of cannabis users.
The Canadian cannabis community is peaceful, with a vibrant culture thathas managed to thrive despite decades of relentless persecution. We willpersist in breaking these unjust laws until they are acknowledged as beingvicious bigotry and are completely removed.
Updates & CClist
We will be providing updates to this website as often as possible. Pleasecheck here often for more information.
We have a mailing list with information about Bill C-7 and other recentevents at Hemp BC. To subscribe, send an email with the word “subscribe” assubject to [email protected] The mailing list is confidential andencryptedand police should not be able to access it.
Let your voice be heard
It is very important that the police and the politicians know that thiskind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They mustcontinue to be deluged with calls over the weeks to come.
You can call the Vancouver police to voice your opinion about the raid at:(604) 665-3081.
You can call Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre (where Hemp BC is located)at: (604) 666-0135. She can be faxed at: (604) 666-0114.
We also have a letter that you should fax to Hedy Fry.
Some articles from the Vancouver Sun
Hemp Store Staff Charged With Selling MarijuanaSeeds, Friday, January 5
Hemp Store Open for Business, Saturday,January 6