Some Calgary 420 members were there already waiting in the shade of a tree. Jodie, Jacob and I exited my truck at the front door and entered the building and proceeded to the second floor where Harper's constituency office is in the building. Debbie parked my truck and gathered the Calgary 420 members together ready to enter the building.
I had the video camera rolling while Jacob tried to open the door but found it locked. Jacob knocked on the the locked door and to my surprise the door opened. We entered the office and Jacob announced we were there to occupy the office in protest of the Marc Emery extradition. The constituency office employee politely said she was ok with the protest. Jacob then proceeded to produce a large bag of Kush cannabis and roll large joints.
The Harper's constituency office employee then said she did not want to be video recorded please respect my right to privacy. I told her I would respect her request and not record her but if she did get recorded by accident I would be sure to blur out her face. She thanked me and then entered a internal office and started to use a phone. Debbie then entered the Harper's constituency office with a number of Calgary 420 members following her in. Debbie took over the video recording at this point. I got on the phone to the local media letting them know about the protest action that was under way. Some were surprised we were actually in the Prime Minister of Canada Calgary constituency office . One comment was "don't you think you will get arrested". I replied we are ready to be arrested and will not resist CPS actions to arrest and charge us. Note: We will always fight the charges in a court of law. In other words we will play their game by their rules and we will still win. We have been there and done exactly that before.
CTV News arrived with reporter and camera man. Followed by Global TV, The Calgary Herald and 660 News AM radio. 770 CHQR also were reporting on the protest.
By now the Calgary Police Service (CPS) had arrived. I told the CPS officer clearly in charge we are peaceful and can prove it. I went on to say I have phone numbers to two CPS officers I have worked with in regards to rallies and protests I have organized and lead over the last 5 years. Also I added we will respect the CPS and the office staff. The CPS officer in charge commented they had more important things to do then be there. I told the CPS officer our action was also very important but agreed they did not need to be there either.
At the same time all this was going on Jacob Hunter and Rob Blair (both legal medical cannabis consumers) are rolling joints. Jacob and Jodie are video recording, speaking to the media, and spreading the word on the Internet that our occupation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary constituency office was well under way. Then Jodie lead the group in song and chants while we stood on the balcony over looking the protesters below.in front of the entrance doors to the professional building where Harper's constituency office.
This is when things started to get real tense. The property management demanded the CPS remove us from the balcony. The CPS respectfully asked us to return to the office. I felt we should comply and we all went back in side. There is a old saying "give them a inch and they will try to take a mile". Now the property management demanded CPS remove us from the office because it was on private property and they wanted to close it.
I made the announcement we were being asked to leave. Jacob immediately stood up and refused to leave until the regular closing hour of 5:00 PM. I told everyone they could leave if they choose to and added I would appreciate it if they would stand outside with signs in a show of support for those of us that chose to stay in the office and risk being arrested and charged. Everyone decided to stay in the office.
The office staff made a statement she was leaving and wanted to close the office. Again we all refused to leave until 5:00 PM. The staff went out the balcony door and exited through another office. Some of our group left when they needed to use a washroom or medicate with their legal cannabis medication. The next step for the CPS was to not allow any of our group back into the building. I had suspected this could happen so that is the reason I stayed even though I needed to use a washroom.
The tension continued to build as the afternoon wore on. This ended when at 4:00 PM to plain clothes CPS detectives arrived and announced we would not be arrested and would be allowed to complete our occupation of the Harper's constituency office until 5:00 PM. The uniformed CPS officers left at this point.
4:20 PM our group cheered and chanted. We knew the risks were now over and we had won the battle. 5:00 PM we all left the office peacefully and were cheered on by Calgary 420 members waiting outside for us. CTV had their live satellite feed truck and broadcast a live report of the afternoons protest in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary constituency office. Our group continued the protest in the parking lot with signs, chants, songs and cheers.
Calgary 6th Annual Worldwide Marijuana March Saturday, May 10 / 2010
This year event proved to even more of a challenge to make happen then previous years. The weather was cool, windy but sunny. Alberta tends to get cold and wet weather in May. The 5 previous years we have had warm sunny weather so as each year passes the odds of having poor weather become more and more likely.
Days before the event our sound tech called and told me he was stuck in Ontario and would not be on hand with the sound system and required power supply.
The scramble was on. Renting the sound system was the easy part. Borrowing a AC power supply proved unobtainable Getting a reasonable price on a power supply that would provide enough power turned out to be expensive. The show must go on of course.
Debbie and I worked many hours to cut the stickers, visit our sponsors pick up the prizes and give away products, meet with the police, get materials for signs to be made by Lyle Strand and on and on it went. Still all in all it is worth the effort and money to make the event happen in conservative Calgary.
Debbie, Mamakind and I arrived at Calgary City Hall at 12:00 noon to start unloading two trucks packed solid and get setup. Thankfully Calgary 420 event marshals Rev. Kevin Moore and Rob Blair were there waiting to help out when we arrived. Rev. Kevin Moore got to work on setting up the rented sound system and power supply. In short order more volunteers and event marshals started to arrive and the unloading and setup went smoothly. Right on time at 12:30 the 250+ helium filled balloons with the Calgary 420 logo on them started to arrive. 12:30 the media Global TV and CTV showed up so we could get the interviews done before the event start time of 1:00 PM. The media wanted to interview the parade marshals listed in the press release as well. Sadly two of the three parade marshals were not able to attend due to illness of which two are Health Canada MADD card holders. One Health Canada MADD card holder parade marshal Grant Cluff arrived late at 1:40 PM so the media were not able to get interviews. Thankfully Rob Blair a Health Canada MADD card holder agreed to be interviewed by Global TV. Rob did a excellent interview that Calgary 420 is very proud of. Big thank you goes out to Rob Blair for saving that part of the planned event.
The start of the event the crowd was pretty small. I found out that some how a message was sent out on Facebook telling people the event would not start until 2:00 PM instead of the usual 1:00 PM. 2008 I realized we needed a longer event due to it growing in size each year. 2009 and 1010 the events were scheduled to start at 1:00 PM.
This years event like past years events was started with the very appropriate tune For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield 1966 being punched out loud and proud. See the end of this article for the lyrics and a link to a Youtube video clip.
There was also an event across the street at Olympic Plaza and our rented sound system could be heard over there. It drew the attention of those event goers and some came over to join us as the crowd began to swell around 1:30 PM. One parent brought his children over after hearing speeches belting out the true facts about prohibition. He wanted his children to hear the truth. He insisted he felt he had to be a responsible parent and did not want to lie to them and have them end up distrusting his teaching them.
After I, Mamakind and Grant Cluff spoke to the crowd and some more music was played the parade was started at 2:00 PM. The Calgary Police Service blocked the cross streets so the marchers could cross safely in a large group. This has be one of my favorite parts of the event. Hundreds of people from all ages and walks of life joining together with hundreds of signs and helium fill Calgary 420 green balloons filling the 8th avenue mall for at least two blocks long. Chanting, waving signs enjoying being united in the right fight and being loud and proud.
Once the parade arrived back at Calgary City Hall Kelly Christie and Debbie Fagin were waiting to start handing out the hundreds of Treating Yourself Magazines and some Skunk Magazine and some Cannabis Culture magazines. Free posters, t-shirts, signs, stickers and the list goes on and on were given away. Kelly Christie setup by the Calgary Police Service officers again this year to had out hundreds of Calgary packs of rolling papers and other over 18 year old products once they produced picture ID. Of course there will always be the under 18 year old people at these events and we make sure they to get free products that are not restricted to the adult crowd only.
I am proud to mention Kelly Christie, Debbie Fagin and Rev. Kevin Moore all stood up to the microphone and spoke to the crowd this year. Debbie encouraged the crowd to chant slogans that were much more appropriate then some of the past year chants by the crowd such as smoke weed, we're high we here get use to it and so on.
More speeches and music and it was time to hand out prizes for best Ganja Fairies, best signs and best costumes. Next up was the glass art and vaporizer draws.
As has happened in previous years my head was seriously sunburned, feet were sore and my back was aching by the end of the event
Lastly but not least I want to thank all the volunteers, event marshals and many sponsors that help this event happen successfully every year!
As per each and every event Calgary 420 left the area cleaner then when we got there all thanks to the crowd, volunteers and event marshals.
See you next at the next Calgary event!
Special thanks to Bill, Jackie and Nick from Bongs and Such, Hemp Roots, Hemporium, KDK Distributors and quik Mick, The Next Level and Virtual Vales.
Additional we have gained a new hemp store sponsor called Green Thumbs.
There's something happening here What it is ain't exactly clear There's a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down
There's battle lines being drawn Nobody's right if everybody's wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down
What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down
Paranoia strikes deep Into your life it will creep It starts when you're always afraid You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down Stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down Stop, now, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down Stop, children, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down