In response to calls from supporters, Dana Larsen, former NDP Candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, founding editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, Founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank, Founding Director of the Vancouver Medical Cannabis Dispensary, and former Leader of the BC Marijuana Party, has announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a run at the leadership of the BC NDP.
“Over the past few days I have been meeting with current and former MLAs,” said Larsen, “as well as with my family, friends and supporters, to decide if a leadership race is something I want to get into right now.”
“I believe in the NDP and in the people of British Columbia. I have been an active NDP member for seven years,” continued Larsen, “going to conventions across the country and developing policy in many provinces, plus working in my local riding associations and signing up new members wherever I can.”
“I understand the kind of leadership that our party needs. The grassroots of our party need to know that their voice is being heard. The leader’s job is to articulate the distilled wisdom of our membership, and translate the grassroots resolutions into a successful election platform, and then into law.”
When he ran as a federal NDP candidate in 2008, Larsen resigned during the campaign after videos he had made were shown on the news, which showed him smoking pot and taking LSD.
“In the late 90’s I made a series of entertaining videos for Pot-TV,” explained Larsen, “a website that was part of Cannabis Culture Magazine. Part of the point was to be outrageous and entertaining. I don’t think that having experimented with LSD over ten years ago should disqualify anyone from holding public office.”
Larsen has proposed a broad-based social agenda, but pulls no punches in advocacy of his lifelong cause, the legalization of marijuana. Far from being a single issue candidate, Larsen is quick to move the conversation away from drug policy and towards healthcare, education, sustainability and homelessness.
“Obviously, as Premier I would legislate for our province to tax and regulate marijuana. It’s one of BC’s largest industries, an economic engine that employs hundreds of thousands of people across the province, and which could generate billions in additional revenue for provincial coffers if it was taxed and regulated,” said Larsen.
“This windfall could be used to help modernize our healthcare and education systems, to invest in the green economy, and to ease our homelessness crisis.”
“The NDP must be the party of ideas and progress,” concluded Larsen, “not simply the party of opposition. Whoever the leader is, that must be our party’s focus going forward.”
“While I have yet to make a decision about running for the leadership, I believe that I have the skills and passion to help bring our party forward to victory.”
Visit Dana Larsen’s Facebook Page.
UPDATE: Listen to a radio interview with Dana Larsen on CKNW about his possible run for BC NDP Leader (interview starts about 5 minutes in).