Marijuana proponents plan to open Montreal cafe

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. Marijuana proponents plan to open Montreal cafe News Staff

    Updated: Mon. Sep. 8 2003 1:34 PM ET

    Montreal cafe patrons may soon be able to get a real buzz along with their coffee. But only if pro-marijuana activists succeed with plans to open a downtown coffee shop where customers can freely toke up.

    Unlike 'compassion clubs' which allow members suffering from illnesses to smoke joints publicly, the proposed restaurant in Montreal's downtown would be open to anyone.

    "People could come here and smoke their joint peacefully while sipping a nice espresso," one of the cafe's owners, Hugo Saint-Onge, said in an interview.

    The cafe, which doesn't yet have a name, plans to sell rolling paper and cannabis seeds so customers can grow their own -- but not marijuana.

    "We won't exclude the idea if the law eventually allows the sale of marijuana and hashish like in coffee shops in Amsterdam, but we won't do it for now," said Saint-Onge.

    The plan for a pot cafe follows a decision in May by Ontario Superior Court Justice Stephen Rogin that criminal charges for simple possession of marijuana were unconstitutional.

    The Ontario decision was followed by similar rulings in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

    Since no Quebec judge has ruled on the constitutionality of marijuana possession, police in Montreal have said they are still treating simple possession as a criminal act.

    But the groups behind the pot cafe proposal, including the Bloc Pot and the Marijuana Party, say they are willing to take risks in light of federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon plans to decriminalize possession countrywide.

    Quebec pot activist Marc Boris Saint-Maurice, who runs the Montreal Compassion Club, says pot smoking will be neither encouraged nor discouraged once the cafe opens.

    "We're not going to be policing people as to whether they're medicinal or recreational users -- we won't encourage them, but we won't prevent them," Saint-Maurice told CFCF News.

    Regardless, some are already opposed to the idea, including medicinal pot user Vincenzo Pitzi who says opening the cafe would be wrong.

    "I think it's should be used only for those who need it for their health like me," Pitzi said.

    And nearby business owners aren't looking forward to what they anticipate will be the cafe's effects on the neighbourhood.

    Boutique owner Sasha Marcus told CTV the pot cafe will encourage the use of drugs in an already notorious area.

    "Guaranteed. People who don't know or know St. Denis Street will not come around here because they know there will be bad people around," Marcus said.

    As for the local police reaction -- they've made no comment, so far.

    The cafe is slated to open October 1st.

    With reports from CFCF News and The Canadian

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