CANNABIS CULTURE – Ottawa – Canadian Supreme Court Dec. 7th
Security was a little tighter today. “Would you turn that belt buckle over please, sir,” asked the man with the gun. It was easy to say, “Yes.”For the first early few in line at the court house doors, they got a seat ring side. The rest sat in front of a video monitor in the main hall. Clearly there is room for the scalping of court room tickets.
There were even more lawyers than yesterday. The room really was stuffed with them. I’m not sure if Canada has enough lawyers to go against Gerrard Comeau or against the computer like electric mind of his rep Ian Blue.
Lawyer Ian Blue took to the podium for sixty minutes, had his say and replied to the questions Justice posed the day before. And so, we heard more about the relationship between S-121 and S-122. Then I noticed that the Justices kept referring to his ‘theory’, your theory this, your theory that. We need a theory for a time machine is what we need.
There was a discussion about, doing the right thing and for a worthy reason but again, “Who gets to decide that?” Justice posed the question like they had a sword to slay the dragon.
The dragon answered, “You are. Justice will deal with those nuances. Justice has handled matters like this before.” Right back at you, pal. Don’t mess with Mr. Blue.
Again, with the trade barriers and restrictions. Justice didn’t feel there was much jurisprudence to make change. Ian Blue said, “Gold Seal was an absurd conclusion.” He just laid it on the bench, what don’t they understand? “S-121 strangles the baby in the cradle. Having to sell liquor to the liquor board as opposed to an independent is a trade barrier.”
“Won’t this have dramatic impact on constitutional powers?” asked Justice.
“No. It will be an addition,” replies the dragon.
Justice is flipped out. They’ve had a day to consider things if not more. “We are concerned that things are certain now. You would be introducing uncertainty in the law.”
“S-121 was put in to protect ordinary Canadians, Gold Seal went against that.” Blue said.
Then we got into a discussion about BEFORE CONFEDERATION. Now we were talking about 1859 and 1854 and 1864 reciprocity agreements. We noted a certain treaty with France in 1860.
“Gold Seal put words into 121 that were not there,” said Blue. He was still trying to help the Bench get the wax out of their ears. “Gold Seal was a temperance decision. The Gold Seal decision is so wrong it must be left to history.”
Justice began having thoughts and wondered what was a higher purpose. He mentioned that one person thought that was to make money and noted that the Nunavut AG rep from the day prior was the only one who actually spoke to a higher purpose and most everyone else was concerned about the cash bling-bling action. “I’m stumped,” says Justice.
Back to the purpose and the effect of law. Back to a national free market and then someone says Quebecker’s can’t order wine from British Columbia. So, this place is nuts.
Then Kirk Tousaw got his five minutes. He has to mention to the court that while he is talking about monopoly the old Cannabis Culture dispensary on Bank street, about ten minutes away, is being raided by masked police. The Canadian Supreme Court is just all about irony and coincidence.
Kirk Tousaw and Jack Lloyd said some pretty smart things in the factum so I’m just going to lay some of it down.
“Small craft cannabis producers and distributors, including cannabis dispensaries are likely to be disproportionately affected by interprovincial trade barriers. There will be discriminatory impacts.
“In addition to the lawful cannabis industry, a large and vibrant unlawful industry exists and is the principal source of the vast majority of recreational and medical cannabis consumed by Canadians.
“Provincial restrictions are overly onerous, thereby preventing dispensaries such as the intervenor Cannabis Culture, from transitioning to the licit market place. Ontario proposes a monopoly over the distribution and sale of recreational cannabis in the province.
“Cannabis Culture submits that the Gold Seal precedent can and should be overturned based on new historical evidence. Provincial liquor monopolies supervisory control over the forthcoming legal cannabis industry in a manner that will have significant discriminatory effect on trade in other provinces and that may well impair the purposes of the Cannabis Act generally.
“In 1921 when Gold Seal was decided, prohibition on alcohol was still in effect in certain Canadian provinces. The legislation at issue in Comeau and the proposed legislation relating to legal recreational cannabis are markedly similar; the provincial laws inhibit access to products from other provinces. Retail monopolies frustrate the growth of industry, de-incentivize illicit market participants from transitioning to licit activity and limit consumer choice,” read part of the Tousaw and Lloyd manifesto.
Boom. That factum is now before Justice.
I spoke with Talis Brauns (photo left). He said, “I uphold the notion that cannabis is not criminal. I’ve never seen sixty lawyers in a room.”
Matt Bufton (photo below) from the Institute for Liberal Studies said, “We are interested in this case because of its implications on law, politics, philosophy, political science and economics from a classical liberal perspective with an emphasis on individual freedom and rights. I’ve never seen a Supreme Court case before. Also, as a consumer of alcohol and sampling from different provinces I’m interested in the case.”
Jack MacLaren, MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills and representative of the Trillium Party said, “I’m interested in the case because I’m interested in property rights and inter-provincial trade. I’ve been following the Comeau case out of personal interest. Marc Emery is one of my newest friends.”
Then I got the word, the old Cannabis Culture dispensary on Bank Street was being raided by police. I looked to my left, I looked to my right. Our brothers and sisters were under attack, so I split the scene and headed up Bank Street. Good-bye, Supreme Court, til we meet again.
Once there I met Shawn Mac, Chris Morphy, Reggie Belanger and Thor the wonder dog. They let me know that their dispensary had been busted. Ten customers came by to try the door over five minutes. There was a sign on the door from the bailiff. “I don’t think the government bud tenders will be as motivated or aware,” said Reggie.
“One cop in balaclava told me he was embarrassed to show his face because he’s not after small fish. We don’t know who the owners are, we are volunteers. Bud-tenders are activists,’ said Reggie.
David Robson was adding another paper to the door. “Every time we get behind the counter it’s civil disobedience. People fought for the legalization of this plant, advocating it’s medical properties and now you’re throwing them under the bus. People who voted for you, Trudeau! People who wanted to see a change and now what, we’re all just scape-goats for a bigger monopoly for millions of dollars to go into the government’s pocket and others? We live by Canadian values and easy access is the heart of medicine.
And that was how December 7th went down. It started with nice smart people in an austere and important place and ended up with masked men and guns trying not to look like corporate stooges while wearing masks and pointing guns at really nice sweet young people whom, I hope someday, take charge before they get killed by corporate stooges on behalf of corporate stooges.