The May 16 British Columbia provincial election saw the newly-formed BC Marijuana Party capture 3.5% of the popular vote. 53,000 people across the province voted for our platform of legal pot and personal freedom.
Creating and supporting a fully-fledged political party in four months is a major task under any circumstances. Our achievements are due to the hard work of a core group of people, with support from many dedicated volunteers who brought their own skills and assets to help the party.
Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery financially backed virtually all of the project, and worked slavishly in the party headquarters, signing up candidates and ensuring they fulfilled their obligations, personally helping many to gather the 40 signatures required to back their candidacy.
In truth, there was some disappointment on election night, as we had set a target of 5% of the popular vote. Yet we shouldn’t let our failure to achieve this arbitrary goal detract from the very real things we accomplished in a relatively short time.
The real victories of our election and education campaign didn’t come at the polling station. We changed the nature of the debate, we forced voters and political leaders alike to listen to the issues of pot prohibition and personal freedom in a way that they have never have before.
Most rewarding for me was witnessing candidates develop skills and self-confidence as they did things they had been scared to do. Many called me the night before a debate, worried about their ability to perform, unsure of what to say. When they called the next day they were invariably excited and happy, proud at what they had accomplished and the reception they had received.
I expect that many of those who ran as candidates will not want to rest for long now that the election is over. Although we will be thinking and planning for 2005, we will also continue to remain active all across the province, building compassion clubs, constituency offices and political infrastructure.
If politicians continue to ignore our demands for freedom, then we have no choice but to take their place and write the laws to end this war ourselves!
Editor, Cannabis Culture