Richard Standon y Marc Emery outside Peterborough Police HQ's!
Standon, now out on bail, announced plans to reopen the Peterborough outlet again in a few days. The crowd cheered wildly outside the ominously silent police station, despite the hard falling rain quickly turning our protest stomping grounds into a giant puddle. Emery then lead us out of the torrential downpour into the raided George St dispensary, it’s shelves stripped bare, for an candid, impromptu Q+A on his response to the thunderous rash of police pot dispensary raids now sweeping our province.
It was high times again -a new millennium pot protest love-in revival, led by Marc Emery; Canada’s most high profile and controversial marijuana activist, or as CNN has nicknamed him; our “Prince of Pot”! The Peterborough CC shop was once more packed to the rafters, but this time with eager, angry, pissed off activists! And simply concerned medical and recreational marijuana customers of all ages and stripes! Each keenly expressing their deep, heartfelt frustration over the ill effects of the Trudeau government’s badly flawed legalization process in Canada!
Our fears soon went up in smoke as Marc spoke passionately for over 2 hours, expanding on CC’s mission statement, inspiring the faithful with an action cry for the “power of activism and peaceful civil disobedience to advance Cannabis law reform and demonstrate what legalization should look like”.
First the basics! Marc spoke from a soundly progressive business point of view, explaining that Cannabis Culture takes great pride in paying it's workers a decent living wage. CC hires locally to create jobs within the community. They also cover any legal expenses resulting from the dispensary raids to protect those in their employ. Considering that CC plans to open 200 more dispensaries across Canada by next year that certainly seems a good standard to set! Perhaps an interesting business proposition too, for anyone who's so inclined. Indeed as Marc stressed, now's the time to get in on the ground floor of CC’s indie marijuana craft dispensary movement by starting one up following his model.
Note well dear reader: Regretfully, last week's Peterborough CC dispensary raid is but the latest dazed and confused episode of our own unique brand of Ontario Reefer Madness, as we await the Federal government legislation to legalize marijuana across Canada in 2017. Mayor John Tory’s Wild West show has simply spread further outside Toronto into Ontario’s “Wild East”. Peterborough City Hall has also decided to order its constabulary [“Me too! Me too!?”] to try to nip the cities first, new budding CC marijuana dispensary, since Trudeau announced legalization in the spring!
Marc was quick to emphasize that it is City Hall and not the police whom decide to lay charges! It’s the same in Peterborough as in “Toronto the Good”, or rather the “Bad”, especially considering all the senseless marijuana turmoil and grief that’s ensued. As Marc points out, municipal police don’t make local political decisions nor do they set the regulations. Moreover, with marijuana dispensaries, there aren’t any municipal regulations in place, period, to enforce. That's a result of the legal vacuum existing at the provincial and federal level of government in Canada.
In the absence of any clear leadership from Trudeau in Ottawa or Ontario’s Wynne government, the tragedy we now face across the province is truly deep and profound!
Marc notes that owner Richard Stanton, now out on bail, can’t even enter his own shop! That only 2 ounces of weed were seized and no cash! That local restaurants and businesses in the depressed downtown area had stood to benefit from the heavy new influx of overwhelmingly peaceful, everyday customers filing into CC’s new shop.
Marc Emery squarely places blame for what happens next at the foot of Prime Minister Trudeau for refusing to decriminalize pot while we await the Federal Liberal government’s new legal marijuana laws. Good, decent, everyday citizens imbibing medical and recreational weed, along with our counties enthusiastic crop of budding, craft boutique dispensary owners are still unnecessarily being busted and getting criminal records as we wait. Even with legalization pending in 2017, there aren't any assurances that the befuckling legal nightmare will be over anytime soon. Far from it!
As Marc warns, “Legalization will be a legal mess.” Most regretfully, our federal legalization committee consists of a dog’s breakfast of unlikely, former, anti-pot heads including former Reefer Madness “Health” Queen Ann McLennan. Also former Toronto Police Chief Bill “G-20” Blair, among others of their ilk.
Some early indicators of the legal problems ahead can be found within the misguided and highly controversial scientific, medical and legal half truths and faulty premises in Trudeau’s “Towards Legalization” discussion paper being used to framework the process. [LINK] Not to mention Ontario Premier Wynne’s highly discriminatory and oppressive Bill 45, seriously limiting our future rights to buy and enjoy our weed freely without unnecessary hassle. [LINK]
According to Marc, we face a very serious dilemma! Are we really free citizens living in democracy? Then why are we being manipulated and dictated to about what we can "legally" put into our own bodies? And why is the government, along with the Big Pharma industries and other such con men, treating us like big, bad criminals? Like little children? Telling us alcohol is okay, but marijuana is not?!?
Prohibition? It’s good for the police budget! Or perhaps, as Marc claims for their “inferior egos”. Seems when it comes to pot everybody benefits except for the very most vulnerable citizens whom our elected government are supposed to be here to serve, the police to protect!
According to Marc, parents, teachers, priests, police and politicians are still guilty of working together to suppress the real truth about marijuana’s medical, and naturopathic benefits! They need to be stopped from spreading their ugly reefer madness lies now! Taken to task! As Canadian citizen's we need to clearly and forcefully tell them that this is NOT OK!
Tragically, Ontarian's are remaining especially quiet while our new marijuana laws are being set! Perhaps with the faint, misguided hope that our "leaders" are somehow actually looking out for us?!? As if! We proceed at our own peril!
As Canadian activists we certainly must all help pave the way for more constructive, reasonable changes to our marijuana laws across the country, province by province, and in Ottawa! Especially in Ontario, before it’s too late! Hence Marc’s call to action!
Unlike in British Columbia, we need to get off our duffs! Sound marijuana reform can only come about by very loudly insisting and acting upon our all too often allusive rights and freedoms as truly, free Canadian citizens living in a real democracy! Fighting to change our oppressive and highly discriminatory marijuana laws provides an excellent rallying point for political activists of all stripes from across our country. Hopefully it's one that many of us, as free thinkers, can appreciate.
To paraphrase the Bible, as Marc is apt to do, from little seeds grow great things!
It’s a worthy catchphrase that says it all! In his Q+A Marc outlined a very pragmatic approach to political action. Everyone needs to work together. Provide a very loud and clear barrage of phone calls and complaints to all three levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, to tell them in no uncertain terms that we've had enough of all the BS!
Unlike in BC, Ontarian's are far too complacent. As a result the authorities here don’t even think twice before trampling roughshod over even our most basic human rights and freedoms. Are we really prepared to just allow Trudeau, Wynne and Tory’s Reefer Madness agenda to unfold as it will? Accept without reservation, their new corporate agenda for growing, buying, selling and using marijuana across Canada? In our own province? Cities?
Of course not! We shouldn’t be!
We are referred to legal aid Lee Hathaway, who then explained that we can now file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Lee explained that legal costs will be covered for any medical marijuana patient who wants to lodge a formal complaint. It’s a new legal option, only available since August 18, which very few of us were made aware of. Gee, I wonder why?!?
Our familiar activist rallying call of “No Justice! No Peace!” should never just consist of empty words. What compensation does Marc think is in order? To make up for all the unjust harassment and discrimination that has ensued under marijuana prohibition?
Marijuana consumers and business operators alike, who've been charged under prohibition, are owed an official apology. Criminal records must be expunged and financial remuneration provided for any jail time served. Also 50 years of free pot in compensation for the grave injustices suffered would be nice!
Will Marc’s call to action prove successful? As he points out, at the heart of our problem is the government’s fear of "free thinkers". Marc expects to be arrested again very soon. It's happened all ready 2 dozen or so times while he’s championed the good fight over the years. As the saying goes, "Into everyone's life a little rain must fall". In Marc's case, it's been a flood! Don't be too surprised if he gets arrested again, in the very near future!
Still, this isn't really all about Marc Emery per se. Saturday afternoon’s Peterborough Love In provided an excellent opportunity for developing a protest movement out of the growing crowds gathering to meet and learn more about how to effectively fight the battle for legal pot in Ontario and across Canada. To go spread the word that legalization must first and foremost be "for the people", not big business and big government!
It's especially interesting that many of the protesters, like in Peterborough are now from a very new and blended generation of avid political activists, medical-recreational marijuana consumers and just plain, salt of the earth, everyday citizens alike. It's hardly just a crowd of older pot heads and politicos who's caught the buzz! On Saturday, Marc left them with very excited and enabled with some do-able ways to flex their protest wings and take flight!
As Marc's Q+A drew to a 4:20 pm close many of the younger protesters sat enthralled as he reveled us over … er … munchies with his many often hilarious, absurd, real life tales of marijuana bummers, burns and rip-offs from over the years. The stories were only too familiar for an older protest generation who've long suffered the thrills, spills, and chills of marijuana prohibition. However, it's a great relief to see that there is now also finally a new budding political activist front, in Peterborough at least, mobilizing to help finally take our long Ontario fight across the finish line towards legalization!
As Marc noted in wrapping up Saturday’s Q+A, he has often proved to be most effective while in jail. Last time when he was imprisoned in the US, 4 states legalized marijuana! Imagine; this time a whole country will cross the line! Of course, to do it right takes an effective, enabled activist movement. If need be, Marc is clearly quite ready, willing and able to provide us with a martyr for the cause! Moreover, his long range plans include a South American legal marijuana initiative. It will be done Che Guevera style, after he's finished lighting the legalization fires in Canada. In the meantime, Marc Emery has definitely arrived here with us in Ontario, in no uncertain terms, to help point the way!
Peterborough police raid CC pot shop @ MyKawartha
Two charged @ JK
Richard Standen out on bail @ Peterborough
Protest planned Saturday @ Examiner
Cannabis Culture reports @ HERE!
Marc Emery video from Peterborough @ Facebook
My blog "On Cannabis Culture + Toronto's Wild West" @ HERE!
Regular Updates in my September News y Views blog