NORML Canada: September 2015 Newsletter
Greetings Cannabis Law Reform Community
In this month’s newsletter:
NORML Canada’s National Conference
NORML Canada had its cannabis legalization conference on Saturday, September 26, at Vapor Central in downtown Toronto. It was a resounding success and featured many talented speakers, such as Amy Brown, Erin Goodwin, Joey Baker, Tracy Curley, Craig Jones, Jenna Valleriani, Paul Lewin, Alan Young, Matt Mernagh, and John Conroy. Big thanks to Board Member at Large John Vergados and SKUNK Magazine who organized the amazing giveaways and fundraising initiatives for NORML Canada, and a large audience came out to support the event. NORML Canada raised some money, had some fun, and as an organization, learned a lot. Every day we get closer to legalization, and events like the NORML Canada Conference help move us forward on the path to legal cannabis.
NORML Canada wishes to thank Vapor Central for the use of their amazing space: http://www.vaporcentral.com/ as well as Erin Goodwin, Chris Goodwin, and Matt Mernagh for their incredible help and support. We could not do events like these without their support. We are looking forward to holding next year’s conference already.
Thanks to everyone who came out and showed your support for NORML Canada! Kudos to NORML Canada’s team who worked hard to keep the event rolling smoothly!
Ontario Judge Strikes Down Mandatory Minimum Sentence For Grow Op: R v Vu
A judge in Brampton, Ontario, has ruled that the six-month mandatory minimum jail sentence for growing between six and 200 cannabis plants for the purpose of trafficking is unconstitutional. The mandatory minimum penalty is a staple of the Conservative government’s “tough on crime” agenda, but on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015, Justice Durno of the Brampton Superior Court of Justice ruled that the penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The accused, Mr. Duc Vu, was a gardener in a medical cannabis grow operation that was grandfathered in through the Allard injunction. NORML Canada’s founder, John Conroy, is counsel on the Allard case.
The case, R v Vu, is not binding outside of Ontario, but could be persuasive for other judges in other jurisdictions. Furthermore, the case only deals with instances where an individual has grown between six and 200 plants.
For further information, please read here:
Are You Ready To Vote?
NORML Canada is encouraging all of our members to Get Out The Vote this October 19th, to oust Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, and elect Justin Trudeau and the Liberals who are the only party to endorse the legalization of cannabis. NORML Canada is normally non-partisan, but for this election we are actively encouraging our members to vote Liberal. Professor Alan Young, speaking at the NORML Canada conference, stated that he believes the Liberals are sincere when they say that they plan to legalize cannabis, and for this reason, NORML Canada is encouraging everyone to make sure they vote, and vote Liberal.
To support our election project, please check out our website: www.norml.ca and to learn more about where you are supposed to go to vote, what ID you need to bring, and whether or not you are registered to vote, please check out the Elections Canada website: www.elections.ca/scripts/vis/Find as well as Lead Now’s helpful voting page: www.votetogether.ca/pages/voting
Please be aware that Lead Now advocates for strategic voting to oust Harper in several key ridings. NORML Canada, however, is advocating for an across-the-board Liberal vote in order to send a clear message to Ottawa that cannabis legalization is an issue of vital importance. NORML Canada is also supporting Conservative candidate Scott Reid in Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington (near Kingston Ontario) because Mr. Reid is the only elected Conservative official to vocally support cannabis legalization.
Legalization is an issue that affects us all. If all NORML Canada members get out and vote, it can change this election. We can actually legalize cannabis if we work together. If you have time, volunteer for your local Liberal candidate, and encourage others to do so as well. Let your candidate know that cannabis legalization is important to you, and let them know that because the Liberals are supporting legalization, you are voting for them and supporting their campaign.
If you need help locating your riding, or need help knowing what ID to bring on election day, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at NORML Canada, and we will help you to vote: firstname.lastname@example.org
More Evidence In Favor of Cannabis Legalization
Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) podcasts have released a fascinating interview with Dr. Sheryl Spithoff, an addiction medicine specialist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Spithoff and colleagues investigate policies in jurisdictions where cannabis has already been legalized.
Give it a listen right here: soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/150657-ana
Other local governments in BC vote to obtain power to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries
Vancouver recently became the first city in Canada to approve regulation of its 100 marijuana shops, imposing a $30,000 license fee and requiring the establishments to locate 300 metres from schools, community centres and each other.
Now other municipalities in B.C have also declared they have similar authority to license medical marijuana dispensaries, which of course defies Federal laws.
Delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention voted in favour of a resolution endorsing the position that they have the power to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries just like the city of Vancouver did.
The resolution states that an ongoing court challenge of Ottawa’s medical marijuana laws has created uncertainty and thus the need for action to resolve the issue of the rapid proliferation of dispensaries.
Joy Davies resigns as Liberal candidate over pro-marijuana Facebook comments
Joy Davies, the Liberal candidate in the B.C riding of South Surrey-White Rock has re-signed after her previous pro-marijuana Facebook posts were made public during this Federal election campaign.
Back in 2013, Davies used Facebook to share her personal opinions about marijuana, which included commenting that marijuana reduces family violence and that growing plants in a home should pose no danger to children.
The Liberal Party announced her resignation earlier this month after Justin Trudeau commented that Davies’s comments do not reflect the official party policy or his personal beliefs.
Harper was quick to attack Trudeau as Davies’s resignation put the spotlight back on Trudeau’s call for legalization of marijuana. Harper reiterated that Trudeau’s legalization stance is “totally irresponsible.
An unintended consequence of the State of Washington’s new marijuana laws
Marijuana possession by a youth was previously a misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day jail sentence. However, the same offense is now a felony in the State of Washington.
A prosecutor in southeastern Washington has charged three teens with felonies for marijuana possession, saying a new law demands the higher level of offense.
The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports that three teens ages 14, 15 and 17 have been charged in Asotin County, Wash., with felonies that could sentence them for up to five years in prison.
NORML Canada Wishes To Thank Our Supporters
NORML Canada could not do amazing work without amazing donors, volunteers, and supporters. A big thanks and shout out to the following folks who helped make our National Conference a success:
Crop King Seeds: www.cropkingseeds.com
Three Happy Cats: www.threehappycats.biz
Ross’s Gold Glass and West Coast Gifts: www.rossgold.com and westcoastgifts.ca
SKUNK Magazine: www.skunkmagazine.com
Altered Native: thealterednative.com
Where Headz Meet: http://whereheadsmeet.ca/
The Baked Baker: thebakedbaker.ca
Remo Brand Nutrients: www.remonutrients.com
Green Candy Press: facebook.com/GreenCandyPress
TNB Naturals: tnbnaturals.com
Underground Café & Comedy Club: www.puffmama.ca
Crop Tops: croptopsgreenhouses.com
Vapor Central: www.vaporcentral.com
Please show your support for NORML Canada by signing up to our election campaign: www.norml.ca/election and donate if you can!
Help end cannabis prohibition in Canada by donating to NORML Canada or purchasing some merchandise. Check our website to keep up to date on our Election Campaign project, as well as our upcoming Cannabis Legalization Conventions. NORML Canada’s President and Founder, John Conroy QC is also lead counsel on an important case for medical cannabis patients known as Allard. You can stay up to date on the Allard case at: johnconroy.com
Also stay tuned to NORML Canada’s social media and YouTube channel.
Thank you for your support.