Marijuana and liberty

Cannabis activists in British Columbia are very excited and busy with the formation of the BC Marijuana Party, a provincial party which we intend will field a full slate of candidates in an election due before June 2001.
Unlike the federal Marijuana Party of Canada, the BC party has expanded our platform to include other areas where government intrudes too closely into our lives. Although ending cannabis prohibition is our absolutely number one priority, the BC Marijuana Party has adopted a platform of “Choices, Options, Tolerance” which we believe reflects the general belief of cannabis culture in Canada and around the world.

Our mission statement says:

As members of an oppressed and outlawed culture, many of us have experienced first-hand the indignity of police harassment, arrest and government persecution because of our personal beliefs and lifestyle choices.

We want to reverse the trend towards more government control over our daily lives, and stop the political weakness which prevents new thinking and innovative solutions to the problems which currently face us.

Our policies are aimed at maximizing the ability of all British Columbians to control their own destiny, and limiting the ability of the government and police to interfere with our peaceful, personal activities and beliefs.

Aside from allowing cannabis to be grown freely and introducing a non-criminal drug policy which makes harm reduction top priority, the BC Marijuana Party supports the creation of a viable ballot initiative system in BC, legalizing and licensing brothels, ensuring that police officers who commit criminal offences are charged instead of merely suspended, introducing “restorative justice” as an alternative for victims of crime, opposing US military, police and nuclear presence in BC, ending the DARE school program and introducing vouchers for educational choice, and opposition to Canada’s new gun registration law.

Our party’s founding convention was attended by people who had previously been involved with almost every party in Canada, including right and left wing, ex-Libertarian, ex-Green, and even non-voters. Young and old, First Nations and immigrant, tokers and non-tokers, new activists and long-time crusaders, all gathered in Marc Emery’s home on January 13 to create a new political party, to discuss strategies and goals, and to ratify policy.

We hope that the BC Marijuana Party will do what marijuana itself already does: transcend traditional boundaries of class and politics, creating previously unimagined solutions through innovative thinking.

A book by Mark Shepard, Mahatma Gandhi and His Myths, defines Satyagraha, a concept which I think should be embraced by marijuana activists around the world.

Satyagraha ? Gandhi’s nonviolent action ? was not a way for one group to seize what it wanted from another. It was not a weapon of class struggle, or of any other kind of division. Satyagraha was instead an instrument of unity. It was a way to remove injustice and restore social harmony, to the benefit of both sides.

Satyagraha, strange as it seems, was for the opponent’s sake as well. When Satyagraha worked, both sides won.

Dana Larsen
Editor, Cannabis Culture