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Canadian Marijuana Church Seized

By: skip

Church of the Universe leaders imprisoned

by Al Sweeney, CHCH News

Perhaps the most well known marijuana activists in our region are going to jail.
"The Church of the Universe" on Barton street is now under new management.
It’s been seized by the government. The two reverends who sold marijuana here as a sacrament in their church, have started serving prison terms.
Police took over the building late Friday afternoon following a court order by a judge, and the judge came down hard.
He sentenced Michael Baldasaro to two years for selling marijuana, and he gave Walter Tucker a year in jail.
The two men lived in their church, and this case made history in Hamilton. It’s the first time that a residence has been seized and will eventually be sold off under the drug law.

"So now we’re inspecting the premises, seized property management is here, they’re the people that are going to manage the property (during) the forfeiture process, just here to ensure the property’s secure, make sure there’s nothing of value in the property that could go missing, change the locks, board the property up make sure it’s secure.
This will send the message that if you’re going to carry on trafficking in drugs, growing drugs, in your premise or residence, it can be forfeited as offence-related property."
-Bob MacDonald, Hamilton Police

Now one of the aspects of this case is Baldasaro and Tucker are well-known in Hamilton. They may have been selling an illegal drug but they were friendly and very well-liked by a lot of people. They said they sold marijuana out of compassion to help people.
But the judge didn’t buy their church argument.
He said the church was actually a marijuana convenience store, run like a prohibition-era speakeasy, disguised as a church.
The two reverends being characters, there was a very touching scene in court as this case came to an end. Baldasaro as we said got two years in jail, Tucker got one year. But Tucker asked the judge to give him two years as well so that he could spend the time with his friend. The judge ignored his request.
As the reverends were led away to start serving their jail terms, they called out ‘bless you’ to the court. They say they’re also going to be appealing.

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