Christopher Goodwin vs Toronto Police 52nd Division at CALM Protest

Since my last Cannabis Culture Hashmob Blog on Tuesday, April 6 (“Vapor Central Manager Arrested by Toronto Police 51 Division”), 2010 has been very busy for Toronto activists.

On April 11th, the hashmob supported all the members of CALM (Cannabis As Living Medicine) by rallying the troops to protest their raid, right out front of Toronto Police Headquarters.

Then on April 20th, the Toronto hashmob gathered 4,000 stoners for the biggest 4/20 smoke-out Toronto has ever seen, right in the centre of the Universe, Yonge & Dundas Square. Hundreds of national articles, news, video, TV, press, stories and hearsay about our civil disobedience persist even today.

And May 1st, just two days ago, The Global Marijuana March in Queens Park. The hashmob gathered what seemed like Every Stoner on the North Lawn, with Marc & Jodie Emery and a Megaphone, we circled the park and Marched through downtown yongesterdam with over 40,000 pot heads.

Then today, I was just arrested by Toronto Police for using hug power to keep Jae Dot Recollett from being arrested at the CALM rally in front of Old City Hall.

Just as the media, Global News, CBC, etc, was leaving the CALM rally, owner Neev Tapiero said we’re packing up in 10 minutes, I said the hashmob would do the same. As soon I turned, I knew something was up, as the Toronto Police were approaching a group, were one was rolling a joint in his lap.

I walked toward the scene, when I heard the Toronto Police Officer say “You are under arrest for Cannabis Possession.”

I said, “we were just about to pack up and leave, you don’t have to do this.”

The officer said to me, “it’s my job”, and then said to Jae Dot Recollett, “now stand up.”

I repeated, “you don’t have to do this”, and the officer started handcuffing the accused.

Arrested for a bud, less than a gram of cannabis, at a pot protest for a compassion club that was raided, I felt like I had to use Hug Power to prevent the arrest.

I dropped my backpack, told other hashmob members in attendance what I was going to do, and hugged Jae Dot Recollett.

The arresting officer said, “so you’re just going to hug him eh?”

Of course they pulled and pushed. They twisted our arms.

Then Eric Compton started hugging me.

Davin Christensen yelled shame from the megaphone.

At least three Toronto police officers then tackled three hashmob activists.

With many more Toronto Police Officers approaching, with other cops surrounding them, they spent 5 minutes, which seems way longer, trying to rip us all apart.

Eric Compton was pulled off us first and tossed onto the grass. While others took tones of pictures and video. It was a regular police takedown.

Video from YouTube

I was charged with Obstructing a Peace Officer.

Jae Dot Recollett was charged with Possession of Cannabis.

We were both released 20 minutes later on a promise to appear.

“Christopher Jason Goodwin was just released from Toronto Jail, arrested for Obstructing a Peace Officer, by using Hug Power to prevent Police from Arresting Jae Dot Recollett for Possession of less than 1 gram of Cannabis at the CALM rally in front of Old City Hall.” read the Facebook post.

Of course HUG POWER, at it’s best, is meant to un-arrest the accused. That is clearly the most desired outcome. But that did not happen today.

Not enough people at the end of this rally, not enough education on civil disobedience, whatever the reason, filming the police using force over a plant is always necessary, intervening to prevent the arrest may sometimes be.

I’m not one to just let the gestapo just snatch and arrest our culture from a rally, especially one where a compassion club was raided, and just had eight staff and volunteers charges stayed – but we need to further prepare our defensive tactics.

David Malmo-Levine will be coming to Toronto’s Yongesterdam district very soon to hold a seminar on peaceful resistance. An activist training session if you will. HUG POWER 101

Watch for the date…

Chris Goodwin
Chris Goodwin

Pot TV, Good Weeds Lounge, Vapor Central, 420 Toronto, Hashmob, Up In Smoke Cafe!



  1. Daniel Johnson on

    Dutch Provos did it too, and I recall a similar story from my mom about a rally in Vancouver around the time of the Gastown riots, shortly after the Stanley Park riot…and in 2001, the first year NORML Saskatchewan set up the GMM events for Saskatoon and Regina, I organized the Regina event and people started asking me about a “joint toss” that people were talking about, because giving out free weed was a common tactic in other cities, but someone else told me that a known police informant had spread the rumour about the joint toss and made it an expectation so that if we did it he could grab a couple and turn them in, since my name and the organization’s name were on the back of the posters. We bought some cheap tea at a store downtown, rolled up some joints and tossed them out.
    Nothing ever came of it except a lot of people bitching when they lit up, and less people showed up in 2002. But one of the people who caught one kept it and him and his friends got caught smoking it in his car, parked outside the library. They had lit it, passed it around a couple of times, realized it wasn’t weed, even realized it was chamomile tea, and were pissed off about it when the cop walked up. They weren’t pissed off about it any more. Friends of mine who pitched in together and bought a hookah that came with free “sheesha” tobacco decided that, before using it for weed, they would smoke only the sheesha in it until it was gone, and they only used it in the park downtown. Different cops broke up the circle and confiscated the pipe 3 diferent times. The “lead hippy”, whose idea it was, made them arrest him instead of just letting them take it, 3 times they had to go through the process of testing the resin and finding that it had not been used for criminal purposes. Now they can sit in the park and smoke weed all day with a hookah, out in the open, but they still keep an empty sheesha package next to it and the cops just don’t bother anymore.

  2. Tea smoker on

    Great strategy though. Maybe some of the SXE kids would want to do something like this?

  3. Anonymous on

    I do not recommend running away from the police. This is a good way to get yourself shot in the back. Nor do I recommend that you go into hiding. Rodney Jackson, small time marijuana dealer from Hazelton BC went into hiding. The RCMP assembled a SWAT team and blew him to bits. He leaves six children and a grieving wife behind. Don’t run — it’s not worth it. Be completely cooperative, and completely silent.

  4. thewhitegorilla on

    Those cops should be ashamed! Public opinion has changed and laws will soon follow suit. Cannibis will soon be free. Nazis won’t be able to lock us up because we love a product of the earth. In reality they are now scared that they will be scorned for doing what the old gaurd wanted them to do.What will they do when their #1 activity (arresting peace loving herb tokers) is no longer legal. LEGALISE!!! It’s soon, we are verry near, but don’t relax now it is almost there, a couple more good pushes and it will fall.

  5. Anonymous on

    I believe the appropriate response to a cop saying you’re under arrest when you have a bud in your hand is to run like hell and toss the bud down a sewer grate. You were supposed to say “RUN AND TOSS”, not hug him. Hugging is nice and all but it didn’t help Jae much in that particular situation. If he’s not in better shape than the average cop then he deserves to be arrested. If he was charged with resisting arrest then he could argue that NOT to resist arrest when he had harmed nobody would be contrary to human nature and would indicate insanity.

  6. Anonymous on

    A long time ago in a place called New York there were a bunch of pseudo-hippies (some of whom you’d assume had lawyers for parents)who genuinely hated all illegal drugs, and didn’t smoke or drink (the story gets better), but felt they were being harassed because they had long hair and wore freaky clothes (as was the style at the time). What follows is a tale of CIVIL OBEDIANCE AS AN EFFECTIVE FORM OF PROTEST.

    As a rule the police make initial identification of illegal substances by visual recognition, then arrest you, then run a real drug test to see if they’ve falsely arrested you or not. Consult with a lawyer about the legality of arresting someone before being able to reasonably assume that a law has been violated. The police only think they know what illegal drugs look like, but in reality it’s how the substances are handled and packaged that gives them the motivation to determine an illegality: a little powder or a few pinches of herb raise no suspicion until they go into little bags, or envelopes, or get folded into shards of foil.

    To a hammer the entire world is a nail.

    To a police officer all hand rolled cigarettes are suspect.

    If it’s legal to smoke in public then it’s only illegal to smoke illegal things in public.

    Tetley tea tastes like tea when you smoke it (smooth and mellow) but smells exactly like marijuana when you exhale (why this is I don’t know- God made it so); this has been independently confirmed after several incidents, by several groups of police officers.

    Back to the main story- So these law abiding long hair dressed like Tarzan/smells like cheetah young men met at the college square and hand rolled and smoked some tea (street slang for seedless “camellia sinensis”) from zip lock bags. They were then arrested- yadda, yadda, yadda.

    In the end it was a huge waste of police resources that they not only regretted but (as I was told) put them in a position that the police could be charged with unlawful arrest and harrassment if they made the same mistake again.

    Consult with a lawyer about the legality of arresting someone before being able to reasonably assume that a law has been violated. I can’t tell the difference between a legal or illegal ground up leaf, but as long as the police have a reasonably successful guessing rate the constitutionality of arrest before identifying that a crime actually has been committed won’t factor into their behavior.

    If arrested it is in your best interest to say nothing to the police even if you know you are innocent as anything you say “can and will be used against you” and the police here in America are required to inform you specifically “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?” So once they arrest you guilty or not, the only right you have is to not talk to them, you don’t have the right to defend yourself in any way- other than not to talk; besides if you do talk they might misquote you later, let them try to build a case against you, but don’t physically resist them.

    In relation to drug laws I am pretty sure if enough people were falsely arrested the legal standard of what constitutes probable cause would have to be changed to reflect the average person has no way of telling if any drug law has been violated, as that is the job of an analytical chemist. It is generally believed that a law is unenforceable if the average person can’t identify if it is being violated, but drug law interpretation hasn’t advanced that far yet… The pseudo-hippies at the beginning of this comment were set free and totally avoided by campus police from then on; the “smelly hippies” lost interest in smoking once no one cared, so everyone lived healthily, happily and in peace ever after!