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Saturday, September 20, 2008

NDP purges pot activists. Where will marijuana policy reform voters go?

Western Standard editor Peter Jaworski wrote: “The NDP…is insisting that [Dana] Larsen's marijuana-related activities played no role whatsoever [in his resignation as the NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country], but that his involvement with coca seeds was the real concern.”

In my post, “Some tough questions for Jack Layton on the Dana Larsen resignation,” I published an email by Dana Larsen that implies that his marijuana-related activities were, in fact, troubling to the NDP. On July 24, 2008, Larsen wrote “Right now I am getting a little heat from the local NDP over my plan to open a medical cannabis dispensary while I am also currently the federal NDP candidate in my riding.” Why would he be “getting a little heat” for a medical cannabis dispensary from a party that is supposed to be committed to legal access to medical marijuana, not to mention limited access recreational marijuana?

The report by Western Standard GM Kalim Kassam on the resignation of NDP candidate Kirk Tousaw might help to answer this question. Tousaw, a marijuana activist and criminal lawyer, resigned as the party’s candidate in Vancouver Quadra with this statement: "I feel compelled to make this difficult decision in light of the events of the past few days and the likelihood that my past involvement in drug policy reform work might serve to continue to take the focus away from the issues that matter most to Canadians."

Tousaw has been publicly associated only with marijuana-related activities, which the NDP is insisting is not grounds for being disqualified as a candidate. If this is true, why did the Tousaw resign?

By not standing by their candidates, especially two very articulate and qualified candidates like Larsen and Tousaw, who have made nothing secret about their respective pasts, the NDP look unprofessional, unprincipled and undisciplined. Watch “Warren Kinsella on NDP's candidate vetting process” if you want to see him poke fun of the NDP for their candidate selection process.

In July 2008, I wrote about the drug policy reform vote:

So what would it mean to own the marijuana law reform vote? It’s hard to say. CBC reported in 2004 that “45 per cent of Canadians have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. About 70 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 reported using the substance.”

That’s a lot of people who can’t be happy with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s $64 million drug war initiative, but what percentage, if pushed, would take marijuana law reform to the polls? And how does the Libertarian Party keep these people away from Dana Larsen and the NDP, for instance?

As it turns out, Layton has answered the latter question by pushing Larsen, Tousaw and marijuana law reformers out of the party. After courting the drug policy reform vote with an informal agreement with BC Marijuana Party founder Marc Emery, the NDP is now backing away from this constituency and its candidates. This betrayal represents a major opportunity for the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, both of which support marijuana legalization. Of course, only Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young has been endorsed by Canada’s undisputed heavy weight champion of marijuana law reform, Marc Emery.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 20, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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They can go right back to the pot smoking lives they live. We dont need them in the CPC I can tell ya that.
awww poor pot heads cant find a home?

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-20 11:16:05 AM

"Where will marijuana policy reform voters go?"

Hell? Toronto? Well, same thing really.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-20 11:25:47 AM

There is no shortage of affordable, high quality marijuana. It is easy to get and use in your home, car or at the beach perhaps.

It will not ruin your life or have much of an effect on your life or health.

The cops are NOT out with marijuana radar looking to bust you. They know it's a waste of their time and yours.

Why does it need to be legalized?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-20 11:38:39 AM

It needs to be legalized, John because goons like Harper want to put ANY cultivators in prison for the minimum of six years. That means that when Timmy the college student grows a plant in his dorm room, as many do, he'll be pulled away from his studies and his future as a productive citizen. Then he'll be put in an institution where he'll be a tax consumer (jail) and be beaten, raped and possibly killed. All because he chose to ignore a dictator's rule.

It's broken, John. We need to fix it.

Posted by: attitude | 2008-09-20 11:51:10 AM


You actually believe Harper will do this or be allowed to do this? In the permissive society we live in?

Not likely.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-20 12:35:24 PM

Spare us the melodrama, Attitude. Harper has no more power than any other Prime Minister. The fact that he's not going anything about marijuana laws hardly makes him a dictator. I suggest you take a trip to the dictionary.

And here's another question: Why is it that college students, who are presumably the brightest the up-and-coming generation has to offer, are so much more likely to try drugs than those that enter the workforce directly from high school? What makes supposedly intelligent young people do something so stupid?

And here's the big one: Why are you defending people who provide a market that feeds organized crime? Why do you speak up for those who are knowingly and willingly and even enthusiastically an accessory to every grow-rip, every biker war, every murder? Why is blood for pot morally superior to blood for oil? A reason for that, ye potheads!

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-20 4:24:12 PM

"Where will marijuana policy reform voters go?"

Green Party of Canada or Libertarian Party of Canada are the only choices now.

Posted by: Keith Fagin | 2008-09-21 9:59:53 PM

"Where will marijuana policy reform voters go?"

I'm hoping to a place that makes sixty-year-old children finally grow up.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-22 2:43:47 PM

Shane: You really think that Timmy the college student growing a plant in his dorm room causes bloodshed? 1 pint of beer has 10 times the likelihood of causing bloodshed than an ounce of pot.
Look man, yes when Timmy goes to his classmate Joe and asks for a "hookup" there's a good chance organized crime was involved at one point.
And that's one of the BIGGEST reasons that small amounts should be legal to cultivate and possess. Then no more need for Joe's Uncle Bubba the biker.
Marijuana reform is about getting it under government control and out of the control of organized crime.
And sure, MOST cops do realize that going after potheads is a waste of time. The problem is that in court, the law prevails - not our tolerant society's common interests.

Posted by: Nick | 2008-09-29 7:12:18 PM

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