The Friendly Stranger is a "Cannabis Culture Shop" dedicated to direct action against the prohibition of cannabis.
It is upsetting that our society puts up with prohibition of any kind, but when that prohibition is environmentally detrimental, it's not just upsetting, it's a crime against mother nature and humanity.
The Friendly Stranger promotes the individual's right to make educated choices as to what one does with one's body and mind. We encourage people to express their opinions and to stand up for what they believe in. We also ask that people start taking the responsibility of going further. Taking action, and doing something about the prohibition problem, is YOUR responsibility. The number one thing you can do to help, is to get the facts and start educating. Only by raising the consciousness level of our planet, to the realities of the cannabis issue, can we make the necessary changes to end prohibition.
The Friendly Stranger was created as a vehicle for continuous activism on the cannabis issue. We opened the doors for the first time on July 7th 1994. The store was an eighth the size it is today and had a small selection of items one would find in a "Cannabis Culture Shop".
To let people know we were here, we held a "Cannabis Revival Rally". On August 20th, 1994 three hundred people marched from Nathan Phillips Square to Queen's Park. There, they were informed and entertained with a full afternoon of live bands and guest speakers. It generated a small amount of media coverage, but it was the August 18th issue of Eye Magazine with the cover "Free Dope" that caught the police's attention.
A detective of the "Morality Squad" came in to visit us on August 23. He told us that we couldn't sell any of the items that we had in the store, and that we were in contravention of 462.2 of the criminal code. He promised to return with a search warrant to clean out our cases and shut us down.
What he wasn't expecting, was the spot light the media gave the issue. We rented a fax machine, and printed up a form letter that asked the chief of police to stop the investigation and to leave us alone. One customer at a time, read and filled out the form sending it directly to the chief's desk. To speed things up, we used a "Fax Tree" (an Amiga and a fax modem) and sent an urgent press release to all the news desks in the city.
Over the next few days we made TV news on City TV, Global News and CBC. We stopped faxing the chief of police after 1000 faxes had been sent! Needless to say, the television coverage was beneficial as it allowed us to get our message out loud and clear. It created a huge public response, and to this day continues to bring in people from across Canada, who heard the story. (Now that you have heard it too, why not come down for a visit!)