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Cafe Owner Gets 15 Months In Jail For Selling Pot

LdyLunatic

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British Columbia
16 Sep 2006



by Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun,
Carol Gwilt Had Openly Sold The Drug At Commercial Drive Establishment

The owner of the now defunct Da Kine Cafe on Commercial Drive has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for openly selling marijuana to customers.

At the height of the coffee shop's success in the summer of 2004, police say it attracted thousands of customers to its doors, gaining international attention.

Justice Catherine Wedge of the B.C. Supreme Court took only minutes to render her decision in sentencing Carol Gwilt.

Gwilt, 39, who has no previous criminal record, told reporters during a break in the proceedings she was prepared to receive a lengthy prison sentence, but admitted she found the reality of the situation difficult to accept.

"I think it's really hardcore. I'm going to have a hard time," she said.

The length of the jail term was part of a joint sentencing submission made to the court earlier in the day's proceedings by Crown counsel Paul Riley and defence lawyer Jason Gratl. The submission also called for a 10-year firearms ban and forfeiture of all cash and a vehicle seized by police following Gwilt's arrest.

In May, Gwilt was found guilty of charges of possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime charges involving Da Kine. She pleaded guilty to a second set of possession for the purposes of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime charges in July, again involving Da Kine.

Earlier on Friday, Gratl asked the judge to consider imposing a more lenient sentence on Gwilt, urging her to consider Vancouver's more relaxed attitude towards the sale and use of marijuana.

"How bad a crime is depends on the community and the community's attitude towards the crime," he argued.

Gratl said his client had been given "conflicting messages" from authorities in the months leading up to the raid on her business on Sept. 9, 2004, in which investigators seized nine kilograms of marijuana, some hashish and 300 cannabis-laced cookies, as well as about $60,000.

One week later, on Sept. 16, police arrested her in a car along with a bag of marijuana and some $5,000.

Though the sale and recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Canada, Gratl said his client was able to openly dispense pot to thousands of customers for five months without any interference from authorities -- including police, health authorities and city hall.

Gratl also told the judge that Gwilt never meant any disrespect to the courts when she was rearrested days after the Sept. 9 police raid for breaching her bail conditions by continuing to operate the cafe.

"The point is, when she defied the order, she was defying the [Vancouver Police Department] and their search. She was not defying the judiciary," he said.

But the judge put a swift end to Gratl's arguments, calling them irrelevant.

"[Gwilt] has accepted responsibility for the offences," the judge said. "I simply can't have it both ways: 'I'm responsible, but I want you to take into account the actions of others.' "

In an interview outside court prior to sentencing Friday, Gwilt said she will never again flout the law as she did in 2004.

"I wouldn't do it again like that," she said of her involvement with the cafe.

She said her reason for trafficking marijuana was never about making money.

"I was trying to make a good, positive thing happen in Vancouver. It just became too much of a good thing," she said.

But Gwilt said she has nothing now to show for her once-booming business.

"I definitely didn't get a thing out of this except a jail sentence," she said.

A medical marijuana user who is legally permitted to smoke and possess pot under a Health Canada exception to ease symptoms associated with chronic vertigo, Gwilt openly smoked a marijuana joint outside the courthouse.

Friends said they feared Gwilt's health will suffer in jail where she will not have access to marijuana.

"Jail is not a safe place," said a tearful supporter, Dori Dempster, adding she was disappointed the judge failed to consider Gwilt's medical need for marijuana during sentencing.

Dempster said her last words to her friend before she was led off to jail were those of encouragement: "I said, 'We love you.' And we hope that love is going to keep her safe."

Outside court, Gratl declined to comment about his client's sentence, saying: "It's within the appropriate range of sentencing."

"There's a question of law and a question of feeling. If it was a question of how I am feeling, [Gwilt] would still be out here," he said.

Gratl noted that several businesses where marijuana can be purchased and openly smoked remain operating in Vancouver "without disruption from police in a manner similar to the Da Kine."

He said heavy media attention focussed on the Da Kine during its months of operation likely contributed to its demise.

"I have no doubt the store was a victim of its own success," he said.
 
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astra007

Guest
wrong, here again you have a person who defied a police order. all she had to do was obey and not return to the cafe. so now she got 15 months for being arrogent. happens every time.
 
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seattle420

Guest
Here is a CBC report on the sentencing of our beloved cannabis commrade Carol Gwilt. Carol was the owner of the Da Kine, a cannabis cafe trying to sell cannabis by adults to adults. The police ignored her for several months until the media got hold of the story and brought her down. Now everyone is forced to buy their pot from the ****'s Angels' dealers who she had put out of business....that's much safer....right?
We send her our love and total respect.

http://www.pot.tv/archive/shows/pottvshowse-4347.html
 
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seattle420

Guest
Etheridge Admits to Medical Marijuana Use
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/category?blogid=7&cat=233

AP / Reed Saxon


Melissa Etheridge smoked marijuana to combat the side effects of chemotherapy during her treatment for breast cancer.

The 44-year-old singer, who was diagnosed over a year ago, is now cancer-free, but admits to using the herb on a daily basis to help her through her health troubles.

She tells NBC's "Dateline," "Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to go a natural route and smoke marijuana.

"Every single (doctor) was, 'Oh, yeah. That's the best help for the effects of chemotherapy.'

"The minute I didn't feel (the pain), I stopped (smoking marijuana)."

The use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation is legal in California and nine other U.S. states, but is against federal law. And Etheridge insists she had no fear of any legal repercussions, adding, "I didn't worry. But it was worth it."
 

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