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Yesterday was the first day of a new blanket smoking ban across all BC ferries and ferry terminals. The ban includes both tobacco and cannabis, and extends to ‘vape’ devices as well as more traditional forms of smoking.
Since the ferry service is essential to residents on Vancouver Island and elsewhere on the BC Coast, and because taking the ferry often involves waiting at a terminal for several hours in addition to the hour and a half long boat ride, some medical cannabis users have expressed concern that this new regulation violates their rights under the Canadian Charter of RIghts and Freedoms.
In response to this, cannabis youtuber Sean “Smokey” Grimey organized what he calls a “mass smoke-in” to protest the new rule by putting a call to action on his latest video. The call was a huge success, and over 600 protesters caught the 9 o’clock sailing from Vancouver to Victoria on Monday.
“It was terrifying,” recalls Captain Bill Lawson. “We were about halfway through the Georgia Straight when out of nowhere, it was like we had hit a thick bank of fog. From where I was on the bridge, you couldn’t see more than 100 feet in any direction.”
Meanwhile, smelling the unmistakable odour of people lighting up, several cigarette smokers who were also on board tried to take advantage of the situation by joining in on the smoke-in. Unfortunately, they were soon accosted by protesters who took offense.
“What the hell were they thinking smoking tobacco at a weed protest?” asks one protester. “There we were, peacefully assembled, exercising our rights and freedoms, and these tobacco punks just barge right in and think it’s OK to foul the air and poison us?”
It wasn’t long before tensions erupted into a full blown riot, which soon spilled over to the interior of the ferry. Extensive damage was caused to all public areas of the ferry, with the exception of the cafeteria, snack bar, and buffet areas, where orderly lines formed and record sales were recorded in the short time before the boat returned to dock.
“We had to turn around,” says Captain Lawson. “We were already considering turning around due to the lack of visibility, but the riot sealed it.”
Police were waiting at the dock, and over 800 people were arrested on charges of public disorder.
“It was a huge success!” exclaims protest organizer Grimey. “I’ll be milking free media out of this for months!”
Court dates for the protesters are expected to begin sometime in late March. Stay tuned for more coverage of the proceedings as they transpire.
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Featured image courtesy of Ken Walker via Wikimedia Commons.
*This article is a satirical work.