Stomp goes to Pot

The Mirror, 14 August 2003
By Patrick Lejtenyi

Ska fans upset about the recent closing of Stomp Records' Latin Quarter store may find some solace when they find a cannabis café there by late September. The city's pot politics braintrust - the provincial Bloc Pot and the federal Marijuana Party - will be opening the space for weed aficionados to meet, spark, smoke and discuss the current state of drug laws, right in the middle of one of the busiest and most tourist-friendly neighbourhoods in the city.

"Historically, the Latin Quarter has been a place to exchange ideas," says the BP's Hugo St-Onge. "But in the past 10, 15 years, it's been focussed on commerce. We want to bring back that atmosphere of uncensored ideas." Being near UQÀM and CÉGEP Vieux-Montréal may help business too.

"Our goal is to have a public, no-attitude space," St-Onge says. "We will use it to advance the cause, where activists can meet and discuss the problems around cannabis laws." He says the café - its working name is the Coffeeshop - will be similar to the Blunt Brothers' one in Vancouver, but "more political."

St-Onge, however, says that no marijuana will be sold in the store. There will be food, drinks, video games, music and special events, but they themselves will not be involved in any transactions - which may help keep the police off their backs.

Not that he's expecting much hassle from authorities. He sent letters to the police, the provincial Minister of Public Security and the media, and expects the public attention will help them in the long run.