Holysmoke Culture Shop, Nelson BC.
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Holy Smoke Culture Shop

Holy Smoke Culture Shop is was more than a small retail store in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Three partners and dedicated activists Dustin Cantwell, Paul DeFelice, and Alan Middlemiss opened Holy Smoke October 15, 1996 intending for it to be more of a political action than a retail venture. Holy Smoke is was a sanctuary and rally point for members of the cannabis using community and has had been designated by the Church of the Universe as the Holy Smoke Mission of God. Psychedeli

In June 1995 a senior federal drug prosecutor had leaked the policy of not prosecuting simple drug possession so when a smoke-friendly space was found, Holy Smoke began to allow puffing in the store by adult customers. On October 15, 1997 Holy Smoke was raided by the Nelson City Police and charged with possession and trafficking in cannabis. The City of Nelson also tried to revoke the Smoke's business license and when that failed, tried to increase the license cost by 900%.

It's a long, sometimes sordid tale you can read about in our archives. The short story is that Holy Smoke won the court case and has been puffing ever since! until...


Holy Smoke co-owner Paul DeFelice was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking in cannabis on July 15, 2006, and later Alan Middlemiss along with associates Kelsey Stratas and Akka Annis were charged with trafficking cannabis as well. All four  have been convicted and sentenced to jail time but have been released on appeal. The appeal date has been set for December 11, 2009, in Vancouver
. Please see the News archives for further information.

Holy Smoke Culture Shop is currently closed for business.

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