Cannabis and Marijuana News
POT FOR HEALTH CLAIM STILL DRAWS JAIL TERM
By Amanda Morrall – Thu, 10 Dec 1998 – Edmonton Sun, A chronic pot smoker was jailed for five months yesterday despite claims he needs his daily takes for health reasons. A provincial court judge told Kenneth Kirk that he was compelled by law to send the 37-year-old marijuana advocate to jail and that finding him would be inappropriate. “I don’t make the laws,” Judge David Tilley told Kirk as he delivered the sentence. “My sole purpose is to interpret them. The best I can do in light of your medical condition is to impose a sentence I consider the rock bottom of the range,” he said. Kirk suffers from epilepsy and other ailments including bipolar disorder and chronic inflammation of his lower back. Crown prosecutor Larry Acker had asked that Kirk – the Pope of the Church of Reform Druids – be jailed for nine months and a year for the drug offenses. He pleaded guilty earlier to two counts each of trafficking and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. One of the sets of charges was laid while Kirk was out on bail for the first offense in December 1996. Tilley said Kirk’s actions were an aggravating factor that had to be taken into account along with the fact that some of the drug sales involved minors. “It would be immoral and against community standards to try to change the laws so minors can buy hemp,” Kirk remarked. But Tilley said he wouldn’t hold it against Kirk that he was a staunch advocate for the legalization of marijuana and that he wanted to make a political statement with his actions.Kirk’s lawyer Mike Furman said his client wasn’t trying to profit from selling drugs and that he was doing it only to support his 22-year-old habit. He asked Tilley to consider an intermittent sentence that would allow Kirk to serve the time on weekends to minimize any potential injury that could befall him in jail. Tilley rejected the proposal but asked that Kirk’s medical condition be made known to corrections officials.
A Brief History of Ken Kirk
A Brief Autobiography of Kenneth-Leonard: Kirk
Born in Edmonton, I was raised in rural Alberta with strong social, moral and work ethics. I’ve lived in Edmonton most of my adult life.
I have three children, a beautiful daughter Mackenzie (22) a handsome son Jason (21), and an ultra-cute baby daughter named Astarte who is three. Astarte’s mother is Avril Magara, a wonderful, talented and beautiful woman who I adore. I have two sisters and one brother.
My Mom is Irish and my father is a retired self-employed gasfitter, gas systems inspector, horseman and Equestrian judge who owns a small cattle and horse farm near Nevis, Alberta. His brother was a WWII veteran who served with the Royal Canadian Commando in the Dieppe raid and finally died in 1973 when I was twelve from wounds he sustained in the raid. He was a hero in my eyes because he fought against fascism.
My mother is a Jehovah’s Witness who’s trained as a mental health nurse and retired a bookkeeper. When I was eight years old mom taught me that we all are the only true ministers of our own faiths in accord with the Bible and the law. Now I’m an adult I understand what this means, and how our being ministers protects our real rights of conscience, belief, and assembly.
My mother’s father was a Mulatto/Irish farmer and jazz/swing saxophonist in Delburne, Alberta who dodged the draft in world war one. Before hemp was illegal Grandpa smoked hemp and grew hemp for windbreaks, seed grain, medicine and fiber like his grandparents did. He was part of the 1919 One Big Union coal miners strike in Alberta which was violently put down by the army. He told me of his co-workers who were rounded up like cattle and shot down like dogs. Grandpa also supported the Social Credit Party of Alberta while the party actually wanted to socialize the credit system, but he quit in disgust when that party sold out to the financiers and ultra-conservative religious extremists.
I have a confession to make. When I was fifteen I smoked my first joint in the basement of the Stettler home of Mr. & Mrs. Harle (the Solicitor General of Alberta and his wife) with their son and a couple of other friends, and I didn’t exhale. Hey, it was the seventies, and we wanted to be cool. I smoked pot for several years after that.
Eventually, I grew out of smoking it in the middle-late eighties and thought it the stuff of my rebellious youth. In 89 I found out that cannabis (from the Hebrew Kane boss) is in the original Hebrew text of the old testament in the list of ingredients for a sacred anointing oil mentioned in Exodus 30:22-33 while reading Zondervan’s Hebrew-English Old Testament Interlinear. Since, I’ve learned that cannabis appears four more times (Song of Solomon 4:8-14, Isaiah 43:23-24, Jeremiah 6: 20, and Ezekiel 27:19), and is spoken of as valuable or good. I have yet to find an English Bible that has cannabis translated correctly.
I got back into occasional recreational use in 1990.
I was motivated to be serious about the pro-marijuana movement mainly because I’m an epileptic who discovered my symptoms (like seizures, anger, tension, insomnia, and depression) are controlled by pot far better than they are controlled by the numerous pharmaceuticals I have been prescribed, and with far fewer side effects. Also, some of my friend’s lives and families had been destroyed by enforcement of prohibition.
I had my first grand mal seizure in 80 but was not sure what had happened and did not tell anyone for decades. I now believe that I experienced partial-absence seizures since I was a child. I was first diagnosed as an epileptic in Feb. 96, but did not speak of it to others until March 97. Life-threatening genetic epilepsy has been part of my father’s family’s history for centuries. In my family, the epileptic females tend to have it while young and grow out of it like my younger sister, but the males tend to see the disease progress until they die of it like my cousin at age 41 and my fathers father at age 53.
When I first started to fight the pot laws I hired lawyers to represent me and lost in court. My home had been invaded Gestapo-style by the tactical squad twice with battering rams, smoke bombs, concussion grenades, assault rifles with laser sights, and I witnessed cops abuse, humiliate, assault, bust bones, sexually molest and torture loved ones during hemp rallies and pot busts. With lawyers counsel, I got convicted by Judge Tilley and even served a five-month sentence in 98-99 for pot though Tilley admitted I used pot to control epilepsy. While I was in jail Amy von Stackelberg did a huge “Free Ken Kirk” poster campaign, which, combined with my epileptic seizures in jail, got us far more media than we ever expected. I was treated like a folk hero in jail, not a criminal.
Amy von Stackelberg and I spent 3.5 years running to the John W. Scott health sciences library, the Edmonton Epilepsy Association and my neurologist’s office educating my doctor about pot as medicine. In 99 he finally signed a Health Canada Exemption From Prosecution Application for me so I might possess and grow marijuana legally.
I independently produced, recorded, engineered, manufactured and distributed 2500 copies of a CD called “Love Songs From Drug Prison” with my old band “Dr. Reefer!” in 2000. Amy von Stackelberg and I were the two members of the band. The CD features Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School. He is the world’s foremost expert on medical marijuana. Also featured is Prof. Alan Young of Osgoode Hall Law School. He is the lawyer who fought the groundbreaking cases that led Canadian courts to rule cannabis laws unconstitutional, forced the government to legalize medical marijuana and provide pot to medical users. We released the CD at an Edmonton nightclub called the Rev in March of 2000. Amy was very brave and performed well though she had given birth to a stillborn daughter earlier that week and we were both in mourning. We dedicated our CD to us the memory stillborn daughter. I still get fan mail because of our CD.
I’m well known in Edmonton-Strathcona since running for the Marijuana Party of Canada against Rahim Jaffer in the 2001 federal election. I had only the pot issue and $1150 to work with, $1000 of which was used for my deposit, which left only $150 for actual campaigning. I received 814 votes (a little under 2%). I also met and taught thousands of people about pots benefits.
The Marijuana Party of Alberta was founded in Apr. 02 and chose me as a leader. The Stuart family of True North Hemp fame donated our office space at 98 St. and 77 Ave for several months.
Then I learned what my real rights are and how to beat the Marijuana laws (only one charge at a time, unfortunately). I learned about an exciting but obscure form of legal lobbying called a Demand Notice. On Sept. 01 I started to represent myself legally and I started to win. I was able to walk away from a free man from my last marijuana conviction in 01 by serving the judge, Justice Brooker, with a Demand Notice and not signing illegal order against me. In the Notice I privately charged him with fraud and treason for denying his oath to Her Majesty, thereby failing to prove the competency of his court, and proceeding fraudulently after failing to establish his jurisdiction to proceed against me. I also claimed he obstructed justice and violated section 176 of the criminal code by offering violence and obstruction to Edward-Jay-Robin Belanger who was helping as an officiating minister to represent me, and proceeding against me for having a herb that bears seeds which is part of my ministry (Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth,). Brooker did not reply within the lawful response period and thereby gave me tacit consent that my claims were true. I never had to pay his $3000 fine or serve any time, and the records of his conviction order disappeared. I swore to defend our Queen and Her laws when I joined the Armed Forces and this is how I did it.
The application for my exemption sat in limbo for 2.5 years until I successfully lobbied (blackmailed?) the Prime Minister’s office into pressuring Health Canada to grant it on Nov. 01 with a Demand Notice claiming the right to possess, grow and sell pot. It was granted in November of 2001 and allows me to possess 60 grams on me, 450 grams in storage, and grow up to 10 plants.
The Stuart’s lease on the M.P.H.Q. space ran out on Nov. 01, around the same time as the local MP executive wanted to disassociate itself from the money and control of the right wing agenda B.C. MP president Marc Emery tried to impose on us. I decided to move the office. Avril Magara and I owned a hemp store in 01-02 that doubled as the local M.P.H.Q. at 10253-97 St., across from the Alberta Provincial Courthouse.
I told Edmonton police and Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith by the way of Demand Notices I was going to sell pot seeds and marijuana in the old MPHQ and grew 170 plants in the window. They dared not reply to my Demand Notice (giving me tacit consent and contract) and let me. They even stopped walking down our side of the street so they could pretend they didn’t see what I was doing. We handed out thousands of copies of a Demand Notice that people could fill out and drop into a mailbox that would end up at the Prime Minister’s office. None of these Demand Notices were ever responded to in the lawful time limit for response and all who sent one in received contract with the government to possess, grow and sell pot. I even witnessed people get off pot charges in court with these contracts.
I lost my store at the end of Oct. 2002. An employee I fired after her third day ran off without returning the store keys. Later that night she and her gang of machete wielding methamphetamine addicts robbed me, and I realized she’d set me up when I found she’d removed the bell from the door before I fired her. Under financed in this venture and without insurance, Marijuana stocks, and cash, I had no choice but close down. One robber later confessed the gang was hired by bikers involved with crooked cops to shut me down. I have no way of proving that claim but my experiences make me wonder.
I’ve been to court so many times that I can’t count them, representing myself and educating others who’ve been able to get off of cannabis charges. I’ve been in or on local, national and international magazines, newspapers, radio, and television many, many times.
I’ve studied history at the U of A, accounting tech. at Reeves Business College, carpentry at Red Deer College, and audio/video (a/v) communications at Grant MacEwen Community College.
In 81-83 I belonged to the 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves. I’ve worked as a CN rail worker, groundskeeper at the Alberta Legislative Grounds, custodian, baker, cook, security guard, bouncer, bartender, music promoter, bar manager, painter, floor covering mechanic apprentice, carpenter apprentice, building caretaker, researcher, a/v tech, data cable tech, retailer, activist and politician.
I’ve mixed sound at over 200 live music events. I’ve managed three alternative music venues (the Ambassador Tavern 85-90, the Eco-City Multipurpose Rumpus Room 93-94, and Apocalypse 95-96). While at the Eco-City Multipurpose Rumpus Room I worked for Tooker Gomberg and Angela Bischoff (the late Edmonton City Councillor and his widow, both renowned environmental activists) doing fundraising, event and rally promotion and environmental activism. I’ve produced and hung over half a million posters for the over 500 alternative music shows, pot rallies, and political events I’ve organized and promoted the over the last couple of decades or more.
I’ve experienced in a/v and TV production. I learned TV production volunteering for Red Deer community cable where I produced several series and specials, and RDTV where I briefly edited news. I know how to construct a sound bite and give the TV editors what they want.
I produced a 40 band, a 3-day local alternative music festival in ’94, ’95 & ’96 called the “Band-O-Rama Gig-A-Thon” that had a peak one-day attendance of 7000 in1995. I worked doing legal research and real estate negotiation for lawyers who used to run the Justice Reform Foundation in 1996. I ran an audio/video company in 98-00.
In 2004 I attempted to obtain the NDP nomination to run in the federal election in the riding of Edmonton East. I lost at the nomination meeting by 24 votes.
I love to play guitar, sing, dance, cycle, ride horses and go to social, political and environmental rallies.