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The moment I knew I was going to be a pot dealer

I remember the moment I knew I was going to be a pot dealer.

It was Oct. 19th, 1996. The sun was shining down on Grandview Park. The leaves were lying crisp on the ground, crunching under my spinning-around-dancing feet. I had just had my first day of “Harm Reduction Club” pot sales. There were still a few joints left on the table but the cops had decided to leave early instead of try anything. Even though I would get busted a few months later, on that day I stopped worrying about there being no food in the refrigerator. I stopped worrying about not knowing what I would do to support myself financially without compromising myself ethically. I saw a way to live well with no boss here in Canada – finally – after witnessing it first hand by visiting Holland.

I was destined to be a pot dealer.

I had just quit the greatest job ever – being an “in-house activist” for Marc Emery. It was the best pay I ever had combined with the best job description I ever had (“Do that thing you did in Edmonton with your money except this time do it in Van with my money!”). I guess pot dealing is the only job that is possibly better than being a pot activist for someone else – I could make enough with pot dealing to support my expensive habit of pot activism!

I mention all this now because I just came back from the Edmonton Global Marijuana March and I was reminded of that special feeling of “hey, we DO have power” … but Edmonton is a different game than Vancouver.

In Edmonton, the cops still give the lectures. In Edmonton, everyone knows the cops are bad-ass “take-no-shit” tuff guys. There’s no “looking the other way” tolerance and discretion like we have in Vancouver. Edmonton was harsh city – trying hard to be Texas – compared to the softness of the left coast.

But we still had power. We had banners and a big joint and we marched around the place and we made the windows of City Hall, the Law Courts and even the cop shop a block away tremble with our mighty chants of “We’re HERE, we’re HIGH, get USED TO IT!!!”

And when the cop came and told some poor guy to put his joint on the ground so he could stamp it out, I reminded people that they had another option … they could just come in close and pass the joint into the center of the crowd and let the cop take on the whole non-violent yet assertive crowd. I had already explained “Hug Power” to the crowd … if you don’t know what that is just google it along with the word “cannabis” and you’ll get the crash course …

… anyway the cop backed down … even though he had the gun he didn’t have the heart to pull it out over cannabis on cannabis protest day. We should try to make cannabis protest day exist a few more days every year until every day is cannabis protest day. Maybe the cops of every town and city will leave us alone like the VPD did on Oct. 19th, 1996.

Or maybe not. I’m doing a show on Obama and the racist drug war which should be out shortly … I have a funny feeling he’s gonna look the other way when California and Massachusetts vote to legalize cannabis … I have a funny feeling we all have a shot at a good job with no boss.

By the way, you can check out the photos of the Edmonton by becoming Facebook friends with Colin Bott or Wild Under Ground and checking out their albums.

David Malmo-Levine’s blog


If you want to get involved with the Edmonton activists, check here:

For more on the Harm Reduction Club, check here:


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