3-Over the Top-Toronto Underground Drug Culture Outline

Outline – Top Trend – The underground Drug culture of Toronto

Producer – Gabriel
Reporter – James
Camera/Editor – Rachel
2nd Camera – Tony

Our segment will take a look at the underground marijuana culture in Toronto. A culture that has seen a steady rises in popularity and has allowed an entire retail industry to thrive.

People to Interview:

-Josh Cho Sen , Marijuana user, regular patron to Vapor Central
-Employee of A head Shop
-Peel Region Police Officer
-Supporter of Drug prohibition

There is a thriving business directly related to marijuana use. That is evidence of a large number of users. After some research I found that to be true. There are at least 30 registered marijuana-related businesses in Toronto alone. Selling everything from seeds and growing equipment or rolling papers and recipe books, these businesses support a seemingly illegal habit. There are even at least 5 businesses that allow any of their patrons to smoke marijuana freely in their establishment. The goal of this segment is to shed some light on this hidden industry and to discover how it’s legally possible to run these businesses. Aiming for a fair representation, I feel its important to interview a legal expect to fully understand the law regarding this topic.

History of Canada’s Drug laws
- Up until 1908, the use of opiates in Canada was unregulated.
- The addition of cannabis to the Schedule (of prohibited drugs) of the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act in 1923 before cannabis was identified as a social issue in Canada — a "solution without a problem" (p. 179). The first seizure of marijuana cigarettes occurred only in 1932, nine years after the law had passed (p. 182); the first four possession offences (it is not clear whether these were charges or convictions) occurred only in 1937, 14 years after cannabis was criminalized (p. 599)
- Very few possession offences — in some years, none at all — between 1923 and 1966; 1966 was the first year when cannabis possession offences (or charges) exceeded 100 per year (pp. 599-600)
- Up until the 1920's cannabis extracts were used in patent medicines to treat about twenty different ailments, Queen Victoria herself was an avid advocate of cannabis medicine in her lifetime, as well as feeding it [hemp seed] to all the songbirds and rare birds in the Royal Sanctuaries.
- In the late 1950's, a federation of welfare agencies, supported by the British Columbia Medical Association, lobbied the federal government to take a more realistic view of the necessity for harsh anti-drug laws in Canada. They urged that the laws be re-written to at least distinguish between the so-called "hard" and "soft" drugs. The National Medical Association did not support this recommendation, and it was ignored.


Suggested Questions-

Marijuana user:
1.How did you start smoking marijuana?
2. Why didn’t the law stop or scare you from smoking?
3. Are you afraid of being caught when you go to places like Vapor Central?
4. Would you say marijuana is addictive?
5.How did you find out about Vapor Central or other marijuana related businesses?

Employee of a Head Shop
1. How long have you worked here?
2. What kind of people purchase marijuana related products?
3. Are there ever police here asking questions or do you feel a police presence around the area?
4. Do you notice any element of a black market or a connection to other illegal activities in the Toronto Cannabis culture?

Police Officer
1. Do you see or hear of a lot of marijuana related crimes?
2. Are you aware of how large the cannabis community is in the GTA?
3. Are you aware of the businesses that allow people to smoke marijuana in an open environment? How is this legal?
4. What is the law regarding marijuana?
5. Is there any truth to the notion that police are more lenient on marijuana user as opposed to users of those illegal substances?

Supporter of Prohibition
1. What is your opinion on Marijuana use?
2. What’s you opinion on marijuana for medical use?
3. Have you ever tried marijuana?
4. If the laws were to change, would your opinion of them change ?