This is a continuation of my report on day one of the hearing:
The small court room was full of supporters (about a dozen or so)who listened attentively and respectfully to what was being said.
David gave testimony about the Herb school;
The school had 3 rooms,the first room was as far as minors could go this is the room where the woman and her child would have been. Minors were only alowed access after a face to face with the parents and written permission was obtained. This room had an extensive wall display of information about the ancient and global use of herbal medicine and the early history of prohibition.
The second room was a waiting room, the wall displays were about the more recent history and was always a place where lively discussion and education would take place.
The third room was the distribution room where students would have a one on one with a herbal expert, with many strains c/w advise available in a relaxed non-rushed atmosphere.
Other than "center-fold pot", most of the strains were under $10 per gram. People were taught how to best choose their trichomes.
The profits were spread around to many people and supportred many activism related projects as well as local artists and renovations that were underway to expand to the other side of the building. people were even paid to regularly clean the entire sidewalk on the north side of the block.
David's duties were to conduct or assist on some of the walking tours, to supply the partners, to solve problems, to cover for anyone who was sick or unable to do their shift, including working the door, David was the main spokesperson for the media and the several documentary film makers who came through.
David did "many things"
David had tried to get legitamacy and ironically the day of the raid, got notice that The Herb party had been registered.It has since been dispanded due to lack of funds.
David was asked if there had been any problems over the three plus years? He said that there had but much less than he had expected. Nobody got " high" and became violent, there was no M. J. related events, that in fact the opposite was true with the calming effects of cannabis.
He knew the risks going in but had decided it was safer to work to end prohibition than to wait for our rulers to free us.
Next he talked about Dana Larsons experience and how he discouvered that the Liberals and conservatives had near identical drug policies that were not in any way based in science and reality so he joined the NDP but found that they also were under great pressure to maintain the status quo.
The system is designed to prevent change. Study after study but nothing changes, for David the fear of arrest was not as great as the fear of doing nothing, the fear was that there would be no change. So in order to offer his community some hope he took his cue from some of the past protest movements.
He knew that cannabis had no victims but the drug war had lots of victims, selling herbs is a good job, homeless people got roofs to live under. If we were to end the prohibition we would have lots of jobs for people and it would really help our economy.
In Holland there are over 700 cannabis shops and most are independantly owned.
ABOUT THE RAID,
It happenned on the busiest day of the month, welfare Wednesday with the police presenting some warrant or badge and anouncing that they were coming in. There was no escape plan. He's thankfull they did not pull their guns like he had witnessed before. He thinks it is wrong for police to point guns at people.
He said the police did not seem too "into" their jobs, like maybe they would have rather been out finding missing women or something.
He told the judge he tried to break his cell phone to protect his friends but other than that he was co-operative.
After they sorted out who were students and who were staff, he and four others spent the night in jail.
he was born in Edmonton where his parents divorced when he was young.
He stays in constant comunication with both his parents as well as his 2 siblings
His parents influenced him greatly, his mom taking him to anti-nuke protests taught him to question everything.
After 3 years of university he decided to seek the truth reather than accreditation. He since has taken control of his own education where he finds more motivation to study and learn.
His parents taught him to use moderation and good judgement and to use drugs responsibly.
His parents are understanding and supportive although they might have perferred him to have become a lawyer.
He started using cannabis when he was 14 years old and found it to be a wonderful familiar feeling, time seemed to have slowed down and everything was funny. He was impaired at first but found it to be very useful later.
It helped him in the activities that he liked but hindered him in the activities that he didn't like.
He became a typical "pothead" with desires to be a professional clown and spent his time teaching people to juggle and then selling them the balls.
It was when he read the Emperor wears no clothes by Jack Herrer that things really changed, he was like "wow, cannabis is the most nutritous food on the planet and its a great fuel source, medicine, rope and paper."
He then went on a research binge and really found out about the history and about how prohibition was the longest running war ever that included the killing of witches who were just women who understood about herbs.
He thought to himself," wow, this is serious! I only have so much time. I want to help end this war"
So he began writing articles, and arranging smoke-ins on a shoestring budged for some postering.
They had jazz musicians play without a permit and some girls went topless due to a recent change in womens rights.
The smoke-ins got a fair bit of media attention so he kept doing them, 4-5 a year from 1993-1995.
In 1995 he was brought to Vanvouver by Marc Emery where he was given a budget to put on rallies and be a proffessional educator and agitator. He loved his job.
David then went on to give a very passionate plea to the court in reference to being sentenced. He said" if there is a good reason that you can give me to prohibit cannabis that can withstand my questions, then he will denounce and quit his activism."
He spoke of how civil disobedience is important to keep our rulers in line. He's proud of his activism, he can speak, so he must. Without evidence to justify prohibition, he will not stop doing what he has to do. That being said, he has never breached his conditions and does respect the courts, he just does not respect this particular law.
He then asked if he could bring in the cannabis that they seized for the judge to see it and smell it to check it for quality.
The judge asked "what would be the relevence?"
David said " many people find that the look and smell of cannabis is a familiar and pleasant experience and perhaps you will find it to be so as well."
The judge ruled against David's request.
THE CROSS EXAMINATION
He was asked about his original compassion club the"Dutch embassy flower and tea room"
He said it ran for close to a year but was busted within a week or two of a front page newspaper story about it. he thinks maybe the cops didn't bust it earlier because there was usually a guy with a video camera onsite and the cops likely were suffering from a bit of Rodney King a phobia or hug power which had proven effective.
The club required membership and a promise not to drive impaired.
He then went on to talk about how cannabis can impair but usually it does not impair veteran users, and that impairment should not be determined by fluid testing but instead by people trained to recognize impairement. That fluid testing does not catch people who are impaired by coffee or phamaceuticals or by fatigue, stress or anger and that fluid testing catches some people who are not impaired.
He brought up how alcohol and cannabis are different like night and day.
He was asked about the guy getting in his car and rolling a joint in front of the school then driving off.
David said that the people who worked at the school always did their best to deter people from driving impaired but ultimately people were responsible for their own actions once they left the school. He also said it was unlikely that the person described would be a novice user and probably was not impaired by cannabis.
That a couple of extra large coffees can be enough to cause impairment, should we criminalize that?
He went on to point out that the Herb schoo had strict policies about no hard, drugs including alcohol and tobacco.
The prosecuter then went on to accuse david of just being a greedy businessman, that the Herb school was the Dutch embassy 2.0 that it was opened next to insite because it provided a good "customer base"
David was asked if he had ever worked in retail, he said that he once worked as a clerk in a drug store selling sugar and porn and that he once had worked as a recreational therapist.
He was asked if he paid taxes on the cannabis and reponded"no, Marc Emery paid taxes and it didn't help him." He went on to say that he would gladly pay taxes if cannabis was regulated and taxed and that that would be a great way to raise revenues.
He also said if opium was a regulated product it would deny terrorists a lot of money.
He was then asked about the money side of the Herb school business.
David said there were no written records, that he kept track of numbers in his head, he did not have records to show but he could bring in the banners. He said that the money had all been spent on activism and that the supply on hand had been "fronted" to him"
He was asked to name his supplier's and he refused, saying he was not a rat.
He was asked if thats why he tried to destroy his cell phone to which he said no, he had kept the suppliers numbers in his head, he was just trying to protect his inocent friends from the hassel of being suspected.
He was asked about the nature of his suppliers, he said they were they not the heavy organized people. That they were gentle hippie, rastfarian types.
He commented about police "stealing" peoples cannabis,so mr. Eckles asked if he considered the police to have "stolen " the cannabis they took from the Herb school?
"Yes", David said.
He finished his comments by saing "we should bow to reason, cannabis users are some of the best humans."
This drew to an end a very amazing day.