Dana Larsen was asked on Wednesday, September 16th to resign as the New Democratic Party candidate in the West Vancouver/Sunshine Coast/Sea To Sky Country riding. The resignation was requested by NDP head office following a Globe & Mail newspaper interview conducted Wednesday in which the reporter asked about coca plant seedlings being sold at Vancouver Seed Bank, which Dana helped open but no longer owns or works for.
Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine for ten years, founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank (which sells hundreds of varieties of plant, vegetable and other seeds), creator of a New Democrats Against Prohibition group (www.eNDProhibition.ca), and author of “Hairy Pothead” parody books, was campaigning for the NDP in a battleground riding.
Here’s what Dana had to say about the platform when he was running: “I am about much more than just marijuana. Here are some of my views on other issues. These are the things I will prioritize during my campaign and the issues which I believe are important to the future of our nation and our planet. All of these things reflect aspects of the NDP policies and philosophy, as well as my own personal beliefs.”
– AFGHANISTAN: Legalize and regulate the Afghan poppy industry. Create infrastructure and jobs to pharmaceuticalize the opium and then give it to third world nations to deal with the global pain crisis.
– MARIJUANA: Tax and regulate marijuana. Allow all adult Canadians to grow up to six plants in their own home for personal use. Legalize larger cultivation of cannabis under a licensing scheme. Allow provinces to regulate the sale of marijuana through mechanisms similar to alcohol distribution.
– DRUG WAR: End the drug war. Treat use of illegal drugs as a health issue. Make safe forms of currently illegal drugs available in a safe and regulated form.
– CORPORATIONS: Work to stop the corporate takeover of every aspect of our society. Remove the legal fiction that a corporation is a legal person.
– SOVEREIGNTY: Protect Canada’s sovereignty. Strengthen our military and scientific presence in Canada’s north. Ensure that any northern waterways which open up due to global warming remain under Canadian control.
– DEMOCRACY: Preserve and reform our democracy. Introduce changes to our electoral system to make it more fair and representative. I support ideas such as proportional representation and/or preferential ballots.
– GMO FOODS: Mandatory labeling of GMO foods. Strict control of GMO plants. Look at removing the ability to patent life forms.
– HEALTHCARE: Quality healthcare for all Canadians, but with a focus on preventative healthcare instead of last-minute interventionist healthcare. Regulate the pharmaceutical industry. Ensure that Health Canada once again actually tests new drugs coming onto the market, instead of just looking over the tests performed by the company promoting the new drug. Also, create a government agency which would run trials and tests on the unprofitable, unpatentable but often very useful plant based medicines.
– GLOBAL WARMING: Research and use plant-based renewable fuel sources, including biomass, pyrolitic conversion and other options than just ethanol. Free up the hemp industry to meet the demand. Start using plant-based materials for construction, such as hemp-based cement (Isochanvre) which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere while growing, then locks it into the building material. (Current cement production is a very harmful process to the environment, but hemp-based cements are much more enviro-positive).
– LOCAL FOCUS: Find ways to decentralize production of goods so that we aren’t stuck transporting everything long distances. Organic lettuce in the grocery store which has been imported from California to Vancouver is not the solution. We need to localize production so that as fuel costs increase we aren’t transporting food so far.
– HUMAN RIGHTS: Remember that human rights include the right to clean air and clean water. Protect civil liberties in the face of hysteria.
About Dana Larsen
Dana was born in Burnaby and has lived in BC for his entire life. He has been living on the Sunshine Coast for about 10 years. As a young man Dana was very involved in the Scouting movement. He also went through the French Immersion program and is bilingual. Dana graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1993, with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology. From 1994 to 2004 he served as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, building it into one of Canada’s most successful magazines, with a print run approaching 100,000 copies.
Dana was co-founder of the BC Marijuana Party, and became a New Democrat in 2003. Dana is founder of a group called End Prohibition, which works within the NDP to promote alternatives to the war on drugs. Dana is the former Manager of the Vancouver Seed Bank, a retail outlet which sells seeds from dozens of rare and medicinal plant species. Dana is also the author of a humorous book called Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone. Dana is 37 years old, and has a ten-year old daughter named Lily. He lives in Roberts Creek.
B.C. NDP candidate resigns
By Robert Matas
September 17th, 2008
Vancouver – Dana Larsen has resigned as the New Democratic candidate in the British Columbia riding of West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast following questions raised about his role in a company that sold coca seedlings.
“There was concerns. We had discussions with Mr. Larsen and he has submitted his resignation as a candidate,” Gerry Scott, campaign manager for the NDP national campaign in B.C., told The Globe and Mail in an interview Wednesday.
“We don’t want this campaign to be about his activities in that area and he does not either. It was felt in order that there not be any distractions, that the resignation was a best course of action,” Mr. Scott said.
Mr. Larsen’s resignation came hours after The Globe and Mail questioned Mr. Larsen about his involvement with the Vancouver Seed Bank, which sells seeds for coca plants with leaves containing cocaine alkaloids. The company also sells marijuana, poppy and hemp seeds. Mr. Larsen said he helped set up the company and worked as manager but no longer works for the company.
Mr. Larsen was a founding member of both the Marijuana Party of Canada and the B.C. Marijuana Party. He ran in the 2001 provincial election as a B.C. Marijuana Party candidate, pulling in 3.5 per cent of the vote. He joined the NDP in 2003.
Mr. Scott said the party will work with the riding to put a new candidate in the field. “That work will start later today,” he said. The party had bees aware of Mr. Larsen’s past activities with the marijuana party, Mr. Scott also said. “That is not the issue,” he said. “The issue arose because of inquiries that brought to light the issue of the coco plants and that is in another realm.”
Mr. Larsen had wanted to campaign on improved medicare, jobs in the forest industry and lots of other things, Mr. Scott added. “But this is a controversy that is a digress and a distraction, and it wouldn’t be a distraction in the campaign.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton was not involved in the decision, Mr. Scott also said. As the campaign manager in B.C., he discussed the matter with NDP headquarters. Everyone agreed Mr. Larsen’s resignation should be accepted and that was what was done, Mr. Scott said. “I did that on behalf of the national campaign.”