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Pot Plant Paraded

LdyLunatic

i wanna be cool too!
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British Columbia
11 Aug 2006

by Duncan Kinney,
A marijuana plant on a mock-up of the ark of the covenant carried by two men, one dressed in rough cotton robes with a wreath of marijuana leaves around his neck.

They were accompanied by 150 placard waving protesters as they paraded up and down Baker Street in Nelson Saturday, to applause and honks from passersby.

The protest was organized in part by Holy Smoke culture shop co-owner Paul DeFelice. He was arrested July 15 by Nelson City Police for controlled substance possession and trafficking charges.

"The police gave us word that there was going to be even more arrests, so that's one of the reasons we thought we would quickly get a rally together to let people know that the conservative crackdown is on," DeFelice said. "We just want to make the public aware, get some public support and, hopefully, put some pressure on politicians."

The rally had two rationales behind its formation he added.

"It's two pronged, it's the conservative crackdown and the police priorities. The police still have discretion and they still can prioritize what they go after, and we figure as long as there are unsolved violent crimes, assaults, and robberies, you know crimes with victims, they should probably spend their time doing that rather than chasing down people like us."

The march garnered a positive reaction from traffic and pedestrians, some waving, others honking and some joining in.

( continued on page 4 )

Crowd supports pot rally

"It was great how much support we got, how many people honked on the street, how many people waved. I think it's important that the police see that, see that support in the community and that it's not going to go away and people don't want it to go away,"said Christian Saint Pierre, Nelson resident and protester.

Police chief Dan Maluta received a different reaction from some Nelson residents.

"The feedback I received was that most of the public was chagrinned by the fact that it was going on and couldn't wait for it to end."

Sgt. Bank, the officer who arrested DeFelice, promised more arrests through the media shortly after DeFelice's arrest.

According to Maluta, they are waiting for the federal Crown prosecutor to get back to them.

"He didn't promise a crackdown. The work's already been done, now we're just waiting to do the mop-up."

"We're waiting for the department of justice to process the warrants and then we will be making further arrests and doing further investigation."

The investigation is looking not only into Holy Smoke but several licensed premises and a dial-a-dope operation.

Maluta also explained why a pot plant could be marched up and down Nelson's city street without any police interference.

"It was negligible...the law doesn't deal in trifles, he added.

"A group of people parading a single marijuana plant isn't worth our attention; the people we are targeting are drug dealers. Our biggest concern was that public safety was ensured, he explained.

"We do observe in a free and democratic society the individual's right to protest, to demonstrate or assemble within tolerable limits and this was within tolerable limits."
 

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