BC’s hemp friendly mayor










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BC’s Hemp Friendly Mayor

Hemp Advocate Brian Taylor takes over City Hall

by Dana Larsen

On November 15, hemp advocate Brian Taylor was elected Mayor of Grand Forks, a small town in BC. Brian defeated 19 year incumbent Sugi Sugimoto by a three to one margin, and was sworn in as Mayor on December 2.

Brain Taylor, mayor

Brian Taylor. . .hemp activist

Brian is an active member of the Granby Hemp Co-op, which unsuccessfully applied for a hemp cultivation license in both 1995 and 1996.

When he learned that the co-op had been denied a license in 1995, Brian decided to grow some hemp on his own. He planted a crop on his lawn in the shape of the word “hemp,” and sent samples to the RCMP and Ministry of Health. He was arrested in July 1995, his preliminary hearing was in August of this year, but Brian’s not sure if the crown will now want to proceed with the charges, especially since he clearly has the support of his community.

Brian explained to me that the Russian Doukhabor community makes up about a third of Grand Forks’ population, and that they grew hemp in Russia and brought it to Canada with them. The local historical grist mill even has a hemp and flax seed press. “People in Grand Forks know about hemp,” Brian said, “and see it as an important component of their economic recovery.”

Brian decided that it might help his chances at electoral success if he trimmed his flowing locks, so he got a short haircut, but refused to stop wearing beads. Whatever his strategy it obviously worked, as he took 75% of the vote, with a high voter turnout of 70%. Only one member of the city council kept her seat, the rest of the incumbents being replaced by newcomers. This is the voice of a community clearly ready for change.

Brian Taylor. . .mayor

I asked Brian about his intentions as Mayor of Grand Forks, and this is what he told me:

“We need to balance radical action with consolidating the future of our community. I’m not a one-trick pony, and although hemp is important, we need to look at whole economic life of the community. My enthusiasm for hemp is simply one part of that.

“At the same time, I encourage any Canadian hemp entrepreneurs to relocate to Grand Forks. This is a community which will support hemp production. There are limits to the kinds of things we can do here due to our limited land base, but we’re friendly to hemp. We can’t do biomass or large scale fibre board, but we can do specialty paper and would like to be a biotechnical institute for Western Canada.

“Seed breeding and production could also fit well with our limited landbase, as we have many small farms and could isolate different strains without cross pollination.

“If we miss another growing season we’ll have missed an opportunity for BC to be competitive. We’re so far behind we can’t afford another year. With the power I have as Mayor I want to ensure we don’t miss another year.

“Some people here grew hemp last year, but next year we’ll all be far more open, with the full support of the municipality. Grand Forks will be growing hemp next year.”

  • For more information contact Mayor Brian Taylor at: (250) 442-8266;
    fax (250) 442-8000; Box 220, 420 Market Ave, Grand Forks, BC V0H 1H0.


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