Monday, April 20, 2009

Fun with Quicklaw: 4:20 edition

Today, April 20, marks the observance of a widely publicized secret holiday. Marijuana enthusiasts the world over will congregate to sample the hobbit's leaf and listen to some Marley. Maybe some Floyd, if there's time. There might not be time.

The origin of the holiday is shrouded in scented mystery. According to the 'pedia, it has something to do with the hour at which misguided youth get out of detention, and are again free to get themselves into trouble. In actuality, the origin is irrelevant. Stoners don't care. Over-thinking it will kill your buzz, 'cause then you realize it's also Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, and it's hard to stay mellow thinking about stuff like that.

On Twitter, noted film director and marijuana enthusiast Kevin "Silent Bob" Smith began enthusiastically trumpeting the day's celebratory activities at a particularly un-weed-like hour: "8:45 on 4.20. All I've got today is conference call, so... LET THE BLAZIN' BEGIN! First up, strain called NY Diesel."

Silent Bob keeps it mellow. Something else that's mellow? Schadenfreude!

A quick search for '4:20 AND marijuana' leads to R. v. Smith, [2005] B.C.J. No. 176.

On November 8, 2000, police arrested Leon Edward Smith on campus at the University of Victoria, and charged him with weed possession with intent to traffick.
Smith, while not actually a student, per se, was nonetheless the president of a club called Hempology 101, which gathered on campus for open air meetings every Tuesday at 4:20 in the afternoon. Smith set up some signs, passed out some weed pamphlets, and then proselytized to his assembled listeners for half an hour or so. Then, a little puff, puff, pass with a fist full of joints.
Smith was arrested with 7.8 grams of weed. He had a lot of excuses:
  1. he brought some of the weed, yeah, but he got the other bag at the gathering, and didn't know what was in it;
  2. man, his back was hurtin' from playing rugby, and he needed that weed, 'cause it relaxed him; and
  3. weed kept him from alcoholism and depression.
A retired university professor's testimony regarding the health benefits of weed was initially allowed, but ultimately given no weight, since Smith forgot to present evidence that he actually had any actual medical need in the first place.

He did profess to consider himself a political activist devoted to spreading the word about weed's medicinal uses. However, the Court was unimpressed by freedom of conscience and expression arguments under the Charter, since he wasn't arrested for his beliefs or the expression of his views, but rather for smoking and passing around an illegal drug.
It's the difference between saying stupid things, and actually being stupid.

So what have we learned?
  • Marijuana, or marihuana? When writing a judgment in the British Columbia Provincial Court (Criminal Division), there is no need to choose! Alternating the spelling makes it fun for the reader, and also increases the chances of your case being discovered in legal database searches.
  • Saying you play rugby negates all possible credibility as a stoner.
  • Just 'cause you think you're a political activist, doesn't mean the laws don't apply to you. Nor does getting arrested make you a political martyr. You're probably just a d-bag.
  • Hempology 101 is not offered by the University of Victoria. No, not even in the philosophy department. It wouldn't look good on your transcript anyway.

1 comment:

Will said...

"Saying you play rugby negates all possible credibility as a stoner."

Just what I was thinking.