Saturday, April 3, 2010

Damaging the CALM

Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM) is a Compassion Club and has been operating out in the open in Toronto for 14 years now. It serves Medical Cannabis Patients who are sick, in pain and those with terminal illnesses. Their website states ~

C.A.L.M. is committed to:

  • Providing access and education on all aspects of cannabis to those with verifiable medical need
  • Ensure members receive access to safe, clean cannabis products, information, peer counseling and research
  • Empirically monitor the reliability and quality of the strains of cannabis being administered to clients
  • Use proven methodologies to convert basic cannabis into alternative medicinal compounds
  • Helping members achieve self-sustainability and independence by providing young plants

On March 31st. 2010, right before the Easter long weekend Metropolititan Toronto Police decided to raid the club, along with handing out a concussion to the unfortunate soul by the door when the plainclothes police officers stormed in. Read the story in the Toronto Star: Nine charged after Queen St. pot compassion club raided

I am so saddened by this, words cannot express how this makes me feel. Again I say, this is not a "War On Drugs" but a "War on People Who Use Certain Drugs".

Here you go, taxpayers, this is your money at work, MTPD arresting and charging sick people (who are licensed to use cannabis by Health Canada) for using a natural plant, receiving quality medication from a place that is safe from dealers on the street, a place that actually has the word/mandate COMPASSION. Find full length videos from the raid on the CALMToronto YouTube Channel.

"The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community."
~ The Charter for Compassion

More on the raid here in the Globe and Mail (why does this headline have the word "Compassion" in quotes?) and here on Cannabis Culture Magazine: Toronto Police Used Violent Force in Compassion Club Raid.

You can also let your voice be heard to the police responsible for the raid, much like Jennifer Pixie has in a Note posted on Facebook:

To the Officers of 51 Division, Toronto Police Services

Det. Jim Brons at 51 Division 416-808-5100

I would like to make a complaint against this division in protest of the March 31st raid on Cannabis As Living Medicine. CALM is medicinal resource & support centre – well respected in the community for helping to meet the needs of thousands of chronically & terminally ill Canadians. I was appalled to learn that officers used deceit & force to enter an institution that has repeatedly invited law enforcement with open arms to discuss their situation in the current legal grey area. Through this action the Toronto Police have forced many seriously ill people to actually rely on the criminal elements – purchasing questionable medicine from even more dubious sources. Or even worse – go without their meds.

Health Canada’s MMAR program is under persistent scrutiny from all across the country – due to its failure to meet constitutional requirements – which is why organizations like CALM need to exist and have operated for more than a decade to provide relief from the suffering caused by chronic illness

I am disappointed that time and money went into an investigation that does not in any way benefit the communities you are sworn to serve & protect, especially in an area so plagued by crack-cocaine, prostitution & violence.

You have not been truthful or open nor have you acted with integrity or respect as your ‘core values’ dictate. I also feel that by not identifying themselves immediately the officers put all those present at greater risk. The officers involved in this incident acted disproportionately - and were rude and belligerent towards club members.

Persecuting sick people is wrong and as a taxpayer, I am very disappointed in the Toronto Police and do not condone the action taken against CALM.

As a medical marijuana patient I feel that my rights have been violated and the judicial system is putting my health in jeopardy.

“As a public service organization, it is imperative for the Toronto Police Service to effectively communicate with the community we serve, especially in relation to providing information that could be useful to victims of crime and others wishing to engage our services.” - Toronto Police Service Website


A rally in support of CALM "KEEP CALM and CARRY ON" has been announced:

Sunday, April 11, 2010
1:00pm - 4:20pm

Protest the RAID by 51 DIVISION against CALM Medical Cannabis Club

At approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday March 31st, twelve 51 Division officers raided a medical cannabis resource and support centre. C.A.L.M. has provided support for patients with debilitating illnesses that range from AIDS,cancer, glaucoma and MS for years. The police arrested 9 individuals found on site and confiscated their medication. The Queen St. location was targeted despite the fact that all individuals in question had federal licenses to possess, store and/or cultivate medical cannabis. ~

Please join in the peaceful protest, whether you are a member of the club or not, showing support for this wonderful organization is a blessing to the Medical Cannabis community. On the Event page someone has also posted on the wall: Anyone living in Guelph, Cambridge, or Kitchener, the Medical Cannabis Club of Guelph is renting a bus that is free to anyone that needs a ride to the protest. Please read it for more info.

Hope to see you there!

Update 04/5/10 - News from Neev at CALM and more press coverage: EYE , CITYNews Excessive Force Used In Raid On Medical Marijuana Club, Lawyer Says and reports: Medical marijuana compassion clubs face new scrutiny

Please read what CALM Members have posted on their message board to the question "How Has This Raid Affected YOU?"
and I pose this question to the police who conducted the raid and all politicians who support Prohibition... "Are we safer now?"

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