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Holy Smoke Celebrates Seventh Year

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The Holy Smoke Culture Shop will celebrate its seventh anniversary this
weekend and one of the business' founders said he's amazed that they've
been around for so long.

"It's worked over the years and we've had really good support of the
community. We want to thank all those people who have helped us make it
through," said Dustin Cantwell, one of the men who started the venture back
in 1996.

The trio Cantwell, Paul DeFelice and Alan Middlemiss never intended to get
into retail as a business but instead as more of a "political action."

"We're activists foremost and retailers second."

Cantwell said the group felt there was a need for Holy Smoke as there was a
"right, right-wing upsurge at the time" and they wanted to counteract that
"with the expression of our beliefs and the beliefs of the cannabis
community in the area."

Holy Smoke provides a place where people can come (who are over 19) to
smoke cannabis, be safe and feel they're in element where there are "other
people of like mind who enjoy cannabis as a sacred herb," and who enjoy
smoking for recreation and for health reasons, said Cantwell.

However, Holy Smoke is not just a place for people to go puff on a
joint. The business sells marijuana paraphernalia, literature and the
employees are available to answer anybody's questions about the drug,
said Cantwell.

Some opponents may say that the service Holy Smoke provides only enables
people on their path to substance abuse.

"I would tell them that if we're trying to show the things that lead to
drug abuse we would find that 95 per cent of people who were breast-fed
later became addicts," said Cantwell sarcastically. "You could say
everybody who has ever had a Coca-Cola in their lives later became addicts."

He furthered that the "myth" that pot is the "gateway drug" to harder
substances has been disproved by the Senate in Canada and by the House of

The public is invited to celebrate their anniversary at the David Thompson
Cultural Centre tonight. There will be no smoking permitted in the
facility however deejays will be spinning tunes. As well Sound Foundation
is playing and information on the store will be provided.

Admission is $10. Doors open at 8

Pubdate: Fri, 17 Oct 2003
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Section: Page 7
Copyright: 2003 Nelson Daily News
Contact: news@nelsondailynews.com
Website: http://www.nelsondailynews.com/