Cannabis Café Opening

Cannabis Café Opening
Posted by CN Staff on March 22, 2003 at 07:38:14 PT
By Bobbi-Jean Mackinnon, Telegraph-Journal
Source: Telegraph Journal 
Saint John could soon have a cannabis café, one of only a handful in Canada. Jim and Lynn Wood plan to open Hemp NB's Cannabis Café at 86 King St., above Shorney's Optical, on April 1. They won't be selling marijuana, but they're going to let customers 19 and older smoke pot on-site.Cigarette smoking, however, will be not allowed because it's "toxic" and "gross" and "should be illegal." They will also close relatively early each day, about 6 or 7 p.m., to avoid attracting drunk people, who can be "loud and violent."
Hemp NB's Cannabis Café will include a hemp products sales room and two smoking rooms, which will overlook King Street.The café will have a "laid back and groovy" atmosphere, said Mr. Wood, with tables and chairs, couches, plants, music and possibly some local artwork. It will offer coffee, soft drinks, juice and water, "munchies," such as chips, and maybe even sandwiches and subs."It's going to be a respectable joint," said Mr. Wood, a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana and former Marijuana Party candidate."People don't have to go sit in alleyways and hide behind buildings to get high anymore," he said. "They have a place they can come and feel safe and enjoy a coffee while they're at it."But Sgt. Kim Phillips, of the Saint John Police Force's street crime unit, disagrees.Anyone who does use marijuana at the café could be charged with possession, he said.Police will be investigating."We'll be dropping in to see what's happening," said Sgt. Phillips. "If it's open to the public, that's us."He could not say whether the Woods could be subject to charges without researching the matter. He did say he's concerned."It's very shocking they're openly condoning and supporting people breaking the law as it stands today," he said. "It's just flaunting of the law, in my opinion."I don't think we as a police force are going to condone that, nor do I think the citizens of Saint John are going to be very happy. It flies in the face of all reasonableness."But the Woods, who recently moved the hydroponic part of their Hemp NB business to 227 Bayside Dr. and will now be selling their hemp products at the café, say they have consulted a lawyer. They contend their plans are legal because they won't be selling marijuana or allowing any drug dealing."We're not breaking any laws. We're just not telling people they can't smoke," said Mr. Wood. And the city doesn't have any non-smoking bylaws, he said.Anyone who is caught dealing at the café, or is even suspected of dealing, will be banned for life, said Mrs. Wood. Warning signs will be posted."We don't want anybody breaking any laws," she said.The Woods have also consulted the owners of two cannabis cafés in Vancouver to "find out how they run things there and what to expect," she added.Ron MacNeil, manager of the Blunt Bros. café on West Hastings Street in Vancouver, said they have never had any problems with the police since they opened the café more than four years ago. But it's "kind of a grey area," he said."I would say, chances are, it's probably illegal . . . More or less I think it's just the tolerance level in our city."The Blunt Bros. sees about 500 customers every day, with as many as 50 seated at any given time, said Mr. MacNeil. The majority of them - about 80 per cent - are American tourists, he said."They come from all over to see what it's all about. It's a lot cheaper than flying to Amsterdam for the same experience." (Cannabis cafés in Amsterdam are different, however, because they also sell marijuana.)Const. Sarah Bloor of the Vancouver Police Department said police are aware of the Blunt Bros. café and the New Amsterdam café, also located on West Hastings Street."We continue to monitor these establishments that have been licensed through the city as businesses," she said.Customers using on-site could face possession charges, said Const. Bloor. But she too was unclear about whether the owners could be charged for allowing people to smoke pot on site. "It's something we continue to evaluate and assess under the Criminal Code of Canada."Police have shut down two other cannabis cafés in recent years after investigations revealed they were selling marijuana, said Const. Bloor. The owners were charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.Mr. Wood was charged about two years ago with growing marijuana, possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of marijuana. The charges were later dropped, with the Crown prosecutor saying the admissible evidence was insufficient.RCMP officers had discovered 780 plants in an apartment at a Barnesville house. The plants were about two or three weeks away from being ready to harvest. Police also found about $10,000 worth of equipment used in the grow operation.In 2000, Mr. Wood received a six-month conditional sentence for growing and possessing marijuana after the RCMP found 57 marijuana plants on his farm near MacDonalds Point.He said he needed the drug for relief from chronic back pain caused by crushing two vertebrae in a car accident years earlier.Mr. Wood applied to Health Canada for a licence to possess and produce a limited number of plants for his back pain, but was denied.Source: New Brunswick Telegraph Journal (CN NK)Author: Bobbi-Jean Mackinnon, Telegraph-JournalPublished: Saturday, March 22, 2003 Copyright: 2003 New Brunswick Publishing CompanyContact: newsroom nbpub.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Blunt Brothers News Canadian Links Asks Permission to Set Up Dutch-Style Cafe Cafe Proposed for Saskatoon
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Comment #5 posted by TecHnoCult on March 24, 2003 at 09:07:06 PT
I love it too. However, I think it is important that we respect peoples' right to smoke tobacco too. The ulitimate point is, we should have autonimy over our bodies!THC
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Comment #4 posted by BigDawg on March 22, 2003 at 18:44:46 PT
I love it!
"Cigarette smoking, however, will be not allowed because "it's "toxic" and "gross" and "should be illegal."Put their own mentality back at them.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 22, 2003 at 14:29:34 PT
St. John
This is a very cool little city, I"ve been there a few times. It's very close to the US border! About 2 hours. I think it's around 4 hours from Bangor, Maine. The whining Sgt. Phillips can "charge" all the people he wants, but every single possession case will be dismissed in court.
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Comment #2 posted by i420 on March 22, 2003 at 13:11:40 PT
Point made.
Good one Lumbar u hit the nail on the head. The police and the lawmakers are so far out of touch with society on this issue. It is unbelievable that such ignorance is so prevailant in todays world.
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Comment #1 posted by lombar on March 22, 2003 at 11:29:34 PT
Time is running out...on prohibition.
"It's very shocking they're openly condoning and supporting people breaking the law as it stands today," he said. "It's just flaunting of the law, in my opinion."I don't think we as a police force are going to condone that, nor do I think the citizens of Saint John are going to be very happy. It flies in the face of all reasonableness."I would say that the law prohibiting cannabis in the first place "flies in the face of all reasonableness" given the true evidence. (i.e. not presented by the DEA)
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