Are Kingstonians Ready For Home-Grown Pot Cafe?

Are Kingstonians Ready For Home-Grown Pot Cafe?
Posted by CN Staff on August 27, 2003 at 06:57:20 PT
By Greg McArthur 
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard 
You lean back in your barstool on a lazy, hazy Sunday afternoon at a Princess Street pub, strike a match and light … a joint? Don’t get the giggles. This isn’t some sort of psychedelic fantasy. With the province’s marijuana laws in limbo and police not laying charges against smokers carrying less than 30 grams of weed, a pot cafe has already opened in London, Ont. And Canada’s most prominent pot protester predicts that one will open in the Limestone City within a month. 
At Monday’s rally outside Kingston Police headquarters, Marc Emery, president of the B.C. Marijuana Party, told a crowd that he was surprised a marijuana cafe hadn’t opened here, yet. Was he being realistic or just blowing smoke? Is the Limestone City destined to become the next Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands that has about as many legal smoke cafes as Kingston does doughnut shops and prisons? Mike McDowell hopes so. The owner of the Hippy Cafe in London, one of the first pot restaurants to open since an Ontario Superior Court justice upheld a lower court ruling to quash a charge against a youth for simple possession, effectively nullifying laws against simple possession, said he wants more competitors. He’s even willing to share his business strategy with budding entrepreneurs in Kingston. “I’ll tell you the secret. Don’t sell weed to anybody,” McDowell said yesterday from his cafe, which was being used by 16 customers. At McDowell’s cafe, which opened on July 26 at the back of his hydroponics shop, all customers have to bring their own stash. As long as they carry less than 30 grams, there’s no grounds for police to charge anyone, McDowell said. The 33-year-old father of four doesn’t make any money off customers when they first arrive at the shop, lounging on picnic tables next to a picturesque rock garden, smoking joints or using McDowell’s bongs, provided free of charge. But after they’ve puffed away and gotten a gander at a menu that includes garlic bread, jello and a breakfast combo – a berry ice drink with toast and a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal – the dough starts rolling in, he said. “Don’t sell them the weed. Sell them the munchies,” said McDowell, who claims he’s had nights where more than 100 customers – some tourists from the U.S. – have packed the establishment. He said the police have stopped by numerous times and every time he has assured them he’s not selling pot. He’s also been visited by London bylaw officers because, just like Kingston, London has a smoking ban. Also like Kingston, London’s smoking bylaw only prohibits tobacco smoke and says nothing about marijuana, so McDowell hasn’t been charged with any violations. “I’ve had old people coming in here who just want to shake my hand. You’ve just got to do it, man. There’s no laws against opening a marijuana cafe if it’s done right.” Kingston City Councillor Rick Downes acknowledged that McDowell is right; Kingston’s restrictive smoking bylaw, which prohibits anyone from lighting a cigarette in a pub or on a patio, doesn’t prohibit someone from smoking marijuana. But Downes, one of the city councillors who was the most passionate in his support of the smoking ban, which was implemented in May, had a warning for any pot-smoking capitalists out there with dollar signs in their eyes. If a shop opens up, it won’t be long before council amended the bylaw, he said. “It would be pretty simple to amend the bylaw. We’re talking about adding one word,” he said. Some marijuana activists argue that the second-hand smoke from marijuana is harmless, arguing the drug doesn’t contain the same toxins as cigarette smoke. But Downes and Justin Chenier, a spokesman for the local health unit, said marijuana is equally harmful. “Second-hand smoke is second-hand smoke,” Chenier said. “I would find it hard to argue that it is less dangerous than smoke from cigarettes.” If the federal government votes to decriminalize marijuana, as they are expected to do by the end of the year, a shop that offers a setting for people to get high would be a prime target for police to issue fines, said Doug Ritchie, the managing director of Downtown Kingston, an organization that represents downtown businesses. He also didn’t think a marijuana cafe was the answer to a SARS-ravaged economy that has hurt tourism this summer. If a shop opens up on Princess Street, don’t expect new signs to pop up on Highway 401 directing traffic downtown for a groovy time. “I can’t honestly say I think it’s going to be a big help,” he said. The Sleepless Goat, a restaurant and coffee shop near Princess and Wellington streets, will likely discuss the idea, said Thor Hunsgen, one of 20 part-owners in the worker co-operative. All the members of the co-operative meet once every two weeks to make managerial decisions, he said. The shop went smoke free to protect children from second-hand smoke long before Kingston’s bylaw, but Hunsgen said some members might want to allow pot smoking “to prove a point” about freedom and marijuana laws. “It’s an interesting possibility,” he said. “If it happens, you’ll know about it.” Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)Author: Greg McArthur Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 Copyright: 2003 The Kingston Whig-StandardContact: whiged thewhig.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis Culture Magazine Smokers Get Off Scot-Free Advocate To Light Up at Police Station Cafe a Mellow Spot
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on August 27, 2003 at 12:13:39 PT:
The September 11, 2001, airplane crashes, the war in Iraq, and the concealment of the truth by the newspapers and television from the American sheeple, are part of the plan of the Bush/Rockefeller/Vatican Illuminati, for global control of our fuel, IRAQI COMMANDER SWEARS HE SAW USAF FLY SADDAM OUT OF BAGHDAD, by Bill Dash,, as part of the Pentagon's War against Dissent, HORRIFYING US SECRET WEAPON UNLEASHED IN BAGHDAD, by Bill Dash,; to prevent us from living free from government control, which would easily be done thru the use of Hemp for fuel. See, e.g.:; Shadow of the Swastika, shouldn't be believe it was state-sponsored terrorism? The Bush and Rockefellers financed Adolph Hitler. See, e.g.,; Shadow of the Swastika, supra. These government supremacists have lied their way to power since they coaxed the colonies to sign the Constitution with the promise of a Bill of Rights, which, by the way, was put together after the people rose up in arms as Congress wanted to instead revise the tax laws. See, e.g.: Hologram Of Liberty, Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159, richardzuckerman2002, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990; Member of:;;;;;;;;;;;
Diploma in Paralegal, New York University, 2003;
Diploma in Truck Driving, Smith & Solomon School of Truck Driving, Edison, N.J., 1995;
B.A. in Political Science, Kean College of New Jersey [presently named Kean University], Union, N.J., 1987.
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