“Ill start this by reminding everyone that while I cannot attest for the rest of the world, in Canada it remains a punishable offence to prevent someone from relieving pain or sufferring, as well as preventing their own death; be it immediate or eventual. The same applies to one person trying to save/relieve someone else. At one point the police we “of the people and for the people”, and now they are there to enforce the law passed down by the government. A very staunch difference between the two.”
“That difference led to enforcement of current law by officers in the capital city of our country on November 4th. shortly after having opened for the day, Ottawa city patrol officers, as well as members of the drug squad clad in camo and balaclavas executed search warrants at 6 dispensary locations. The raids were targetted at the GreenTree chain which includes CannaGreen and WeeMedical locations as well.”
“Just after 10am they came in and asked who worked there. The two girls I was working with were on the sale side of the counter and were immediately moved to the side to confirm that they worked there. I was on one knee wiping the customer side of the display
cases not 3 feet from the front door when they came in. No one yelled, no one broke down doors or tried to act intimidating when they came in, it was all very calm. Almost like any other time that the police had come, whether it be to collect info on a previous robbery, or ask questions about crimes in the neighbourhood that staff may have witnessed. For about 1.8 seconds, it was just another day. That lasted until the first man with his balaclava stepped onto the sidewalk and started towards the store. At this point, on high alert, I wake up from the morning fog im in to realize that not only is there a squad car parked out front, but theres several white vans, and unmarked patrol cars littering the street like the halloween wrappers from halloween not 3 days before.”
“Hello. We’re here to execute a search warrant.”
“For the rest of my life, I’ll never forget those words. The smell of the jar we had spilled just before opening. The beeping of the door – opening and closing as more officers came in. Someones phone buzzing on the table. The swish of officers pants as they walked around, and the zoom of a city bus as it drove by. The taste of betrayal from a city I’ve grown up in, like a dirty mettalic sting in my mouth. I stood frozen for what was only a second, but as you can imagine felt like a lifetime; and in that moment, every one of those feelings, sights, smells etc were permenantly etched onto my brain. The entire world seemed to spin around me like a time lapse video, yet I remained frozen in time. So many thoughts racing eachother to be the first down the barrel, adrenaline starting to pump as my bodies only reaction to the anxiety creeping up my spine. The silence in the room only accented by the ringing in my ears.”
“These are the moments that define you.”
These were the words of one of my dear friends, Shawn Macalese, after experiencing an albeit peaceful raid on a local dispensary in Ottawa. Along with the obvious waste of government resources, there was a stain left in the mind of Shawn after having been through this. Should this be what he deserves for standing up against an unjust governmental proclamation? For helping people have the proper reasonable access to their meds that dispensaries provide? For working tirelessly ten and twelve hour days at near minimum wage for the sick and injured?
I stand here and say NO.
Now, all these things aside, when situations like raids arise, we expect that the dispensaries employing our beloved bud tenders will proudly stand behind them! Cannabis Culture is a prime example of a good company doing good things for good employees! They even go so far as to offer severance for employees that wind up with conditions that don’t allow them to return to work. What happens when the dispensaries that are the ones making the shot calls, the ones owning the inventory, the ones renting or owning the location decide they don’t want to stand behind their employees?
You wind up with people in one hell of an unfortunate position, like that which my friend Shawn is currently experiencing. Since the raids, Shawn has received help, he has received support, he has received even some bits of money… But only from those of his friends and family that have been kind enough to see him for what he is: a hard worker, not a drug dealer. Unfortunately, GreenTree and associates have decided that it’s not important to back their employee. They’ve decided he can and will go it alone. They’ve decided he can foot the bill, possibly the jail time, and all responsibility all while having only paid him near minimum wage!!!! This is unacceptable.
The reason for this article is to warn, and inform. If you do, or are considering working in a local dispensary, please be sure that it’s a reputable one that will stand behind you when the need arises. Please be sure that you are aware of all the laws and procedures in case of raids. Please be sure to cooperate during the raids, be peaceful and compliant, all the while maintaining your INNOCENCE. We as people have a right to our medicine. A right to our way of life. A right to fair access, and a right to choose from whom we choose to purchase said natural medicine.
To Shawn, and all others that were effected in these and any past and future raids, we thank you for helping us access our medicine. To dispensaries like Greentree, shame on you for jumping in as a cash grab, instead of as compassionate people trying to help those in need. To Cannabis Culture, thank you for being a stellar model of excellence when handling raids and the aftermath of, and for never forgetting that your budtenders are the blood and bones of your establishments. They deserve to be treated as such.