tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.


Homeless fume over smoking raps

Smoking and spitting have become expensive habits for Gary Sherwood.

When the 28-year-old homeless man - who stays at a temporary shelter under the Granville Street Bridge in Vancouver- stepped outside for a cigarette last week, he didn’t know it would cost him almost an entire month’s welfare cheque.

Three police cruisers, six officers and one bylaw handbook later, Sherwood was given a $250 ticket.

The reason? Vancouver Health Bylaw 9535, which prohibits “smoking within six metres of doorways, windows and airtakes.”

It was the second time Sherwood, whose nickname is “Chains,” has been handed a hefty fine from police outside the Howe Street Homeless Emergency Action Team shelter, run by RainCity housing.

“They were abusing their power,” said Sherwood, who gets $275 a month from social assistance. “I don’t think they like the idea of the shelter staying open.”

Sherwood said he was ticketed another $250 and handcuffed for “spitting” and obstruction of justice a few days earlier, but has since misplaced the ticket. Shelter worker Jacob Schroeder witnessed that incident and confirmed it happened, calling it “over the top.”

Now Sherwood owes the city the minimum fine of at least $500.

“I don’t really see the point of ticketing someone in an alley,” said the shelter’s manager, Aaron Munro. “I can’t imagine how Gary would pay for it.”

Experiences like Sherwood’s are at the heart of a current debate over ticketing low-income and homeless people, with city hall searching for alternatives to fines.

Last Friday, several councillors attended a protest run by Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), to protest 1,000 tickets issued last December in the Downtown Eastside for infractions such as jaywalking.

Vision Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal said the city is looking at community service for homeless people who are ticketed, “without having to pay money that they simply don’t have.” She denied tickets are being issued by police in an Olympic-related crackdown.

Sherwood’s friend, who goes by the name Rob B., thinks it’s an intimidation tactic to get homeless people to leave. “That’s police harassment. They’re just doing that because we live in a shelter,” he said.

Sherwood claimed he shouldn’t have even been fined: He said he was smoking more than six metres from the door when he was ticketed at about 9:50 p.m last Monday. He said his friends used a tape measure to prove the cops wrong, but they brushed him off.

“I think it’s a waste of their paperwork. What are they going to do, throw me in jail for it?” asked Sherwood, who’s been living on the street for 13 years and has two drug possession charges. “Everyone smokes outside the door.”

Since Sherwood was written up, shelter workers have drawn a semi-circle with white tape around the door, to ensure the 40-odd people who use the shelter don’t get fined.

It’s all an example of the increased police presence in the False Creek North area, said Rain-City communications manager Bill Briscall. He said the story is “scary” but adds, “we want to maintain a decent relationship with the police, because we have to work with the police.”

Some False Creek residents have protested the shelter and say they now feel unsafe in their neighbourhood. Another HEAT shelter across the alley, at 1435 Granville, closed last month.

Kerry Jang, another Vision Vancouver councillor who was at Friday’s Downtown Eastside protest, insisted police are not actively targeting homeless people in False Creek.

“I don’t think it’s an excuse to get rid of the shelters . . . we made a pledge to the neighbourhood we would make it safe for both homeless people and people with homes.

“The law applies to everybody,” Jang added. “It doesn’t matter who you are.”

In an e-mail to The Province, Vancouver police spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton encouraged Sherwood to contact the police Professional Standards Section if he “had concerns regarding the actions of our officers.”

Sherwood said he’ll use the shelter’s free legal service to dispute the tickets. The Howe Street shelter is set to close July 31.

Until then, Sherwood will likely be smoking his Canadian Classics outside the white line.

© Copyright Theprovince

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