This half-naked Ontario man just wants his weed and bong back
Jeffrey Shaver says he will not stop protesting on the streets of Kitchener, Ont., until he gets his bong and his weed back.
The 31-year-old Cambridge, Ont., man claims Waterloo Regional Police arrested him in October for possession and seized his bong and about two grams of pot, even though he is a registered medical marijuana user.
In a statement, police say they are reviewing the circumstances around Shaver's claim and confirmed they received a complaint from him in connection with his arrest that has been registered with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
Shaver, who was protesting at the courthouse earlier this week in a pair of tight, bright green underwear, spoke with As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner about the battle for his bong. Here is part of their conversation.
I can't quite believe I'm asking you this, but what are you wearing right now?
I am fully clothed right now, actually.
Ah, so you're not just in your underwear.
Not today. It's a little more chilly today than it was on Tuesday.
OK, let's go back to the essential question here: Who has your bong?
Right now it would be in the possession of the Waterloo Regional Police department. The charge for possession of marijuana is still outstanding, so that's why they have possession of the bong and marijuana.
Why is it you think those charges were unfair?
Approximately five months before those charges, I registered as a licensed producer, was authorized by my doctor and I began being supplied with medical marijuana. And on Oct. 20, I attempted to present my documentation supporting that when I was arrested, and that documentation was not accepted.
So you may have a case, but why did you decide that the best way to way to fight this was to protest outside the courthouse in your underwear?
I have been at the courthouse for the last four months. I've been smoking marijuana in the designated smoking area at the courthouse. So I have been doing this with clothes on for the last little while, but it was just recently I decided to do this to get some more attention on the matter and it seems to have worked.
Were you smoking marijuana before you took your clothes off?
Of course, yes.
So might that have contributed to your decision to take this route as a way of protest?
It was a plan. I intended to do this when I left my house. And I've done this on a few occasions as well at the local police house in Cambridge.
Where did the idea come from?
I did some research on what the limits would be for indecent exposure ... for protests and I decided I would keep my underwear and would go from there to get some more attention on the matter.
What sort of reactions have you been receiving?
You see someone with a bong and a lot of people just walk by it. Or they might see someone in their underwear and walk by it. But you see them both together — and I'm right outside the courthouse, right outside the police station — and people can't help just wondering what's going on and they normally laugh and smile.
So it's been a good experience overall.
What do they say?
A lot of them are very curious as to what's going on and why I'm here and I tell them about my story.
What about your family and friends? What do they think? What does your mom think?
(laughs) My mother is on my Facebook, so she was a little shocked at what I'm doing, but they are supportive.
She actually gave me a ride to the courthouse today.
Do you really want to be known as the naked 'return my bong' guy?
I needed to do something to push it forward.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. For more, listen to our conversation with Jeffrey Shaver: