Yesterday (Monday) was the second successful protest organized by two grass roots activists: Wayne & Tony. These individuals, just like the majority of us in the cannabis industry, are appalled by the suggested legalization framework proposed by the Ontario Government. These individuals took action and started organizing protests, with the first one being the Monday following the Friday announcement.
The first weeks’ protest took place at Kathleen Wynne’s office in North York. Over twenty protesters came through to show they opposed the proposed CCBO (Cannabis LCBO) monopoly, with lots of drivers honking in support as well. Wayne and Tony had a big vision for the protest; first protest at Wynne’s office, then at Queen’s Park and the third week at your local LCBO.
With the first protest going well, we set our sights on the next protest at Queen’s Park. When we all got to Queen’s Park we noticed the protest had caught the attention of Canadian cannabis activists Marc & Jodie Emery, who were present. Marc and Tony have known each other for a long time and Marc was eager to help with the protest. After a short discussion it was decided to move the last protest to Saturday, September 30th and should start around 2pm culminating at a 4:20 smoke out.
Once that was decided, Jodie and Marc went back to City Hall to have their voices hear at the Ontario Licensing and Standard hearing. This is where the protest started getting interesting, just wanted to make sure I see you all September 30th!
We continued to protest out front of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, (Queen’s Park) but not many people were walking by. We decided to head to the south end of the park so we could be seen. Not long after, we had security approach us saying protesting by the John A. Macdonald statue can be distracting to drivers and wanted us to go back to where we were before. They did point out that if we go into the median between the street to protest we would be off their property and they couldn’t do anything.
We decided to go back out in front of the government office, as we would hate to cause an accident. Not ten minutes later security came back up to us saying we couldn’t smoke cannabis where they asked us to protest. Being medical patients we knew we could medicate wherever people can smoke cigarettes and we thought no different being a government property. Security admitted you can smoke cigarettes there, asked us for our medical documentation. Some of us had our documentation on us, others had forgotten theirs and some weren’t currently medical patients.
Anxiety is my main medical condition so I showed them my medical card and started medicating to deal with this stress. For the individuals who didn’t have their card present the security guards refused to call the 24/7-phone line set up to verify patients in situations like this or if you were to get pulled over. To keep the story short, we found out the phone number is only accessible to police officers and not the general public to which the security guards said we aren’t police we’re security guards, we can’t access that. They’re outside of a government building so they could access the number if they needed. I tried calling Health Canada so they could start verifying patients, but gave up after 15 minutes of waiting.
The security guards next used the tactic that this is private property and they can set whatever rules they wanted. One of the individuals who has been a medical patient for a number of years now, called up a lawyer and explained the situation. The lawyer advised that there has not been any president set that he knew of, but being private property (government or not) could do what they wanted. So we had to choose between staying and protesting, or leaving so we could consume our cannabis. While speaking to the lawyer the patient mentioned the areas around us were all private property so must he (and all of us) go medicate out in the streets that the tax payers own?
Though the lawyer didn’t necessarily advise it, it was the only way we could medicate and protest without security wasting our time. So that’s what we did! We went to the south end of Queens park, protested on strip of grass in the middle of the road, and set out into the streets slightly diverting traffic to medicate.
With the thirty or so of us that were there through out the day we made the most of our protest and were able to get a lot of exposure on the south end of Queen’s Park. Please come out to the next protest Saturday, September 30th at 2pm to protest at Queen’s Park with Wayne, Tony, the Dankr crew, and Marc & Jodie Emery!