The BC Marijuana Party is gearing up for an election expected to be held during May. As of this writing in mid-March, the party had about 50 candidates lined up, out of 79 electoral districts in the province.
“We will have a full slate of candidates by the time the election is called,” said Party Leader Brian Taylor, past Mayor of Grand Forks (CC#07, BC’s hemp friendly Mayor). “We have ads out to recruit more candidates and volunteers, and people are calling us every day to find out what they can do to help out.”
An offshoot of the federal Marijuana Party, which ran 73 candidates in Canada’s November 2000 federal election (CC#29 Marijuana Party fights national campaign), the BC Marijuana Party has adopted a broader platform than its federal counterpart.
“Our main focus will always be marijuana,” said Dana Larsen, Cannabis Culture editor and the party’s policy advisor. “We see pot prohibition as a symbol for the many ways in which our governments fail to serve us, and for some of the new solutions to the problems which we currently face. We advocate legitimizing BC’s cannabis industry, ending the drug war, legalizing prostitution, opposing US cops and nuclear weapons in BC, introducing ballot initiatives and proportional representation, decentralizing the forest industry and creating more options in education and health care. These are all policies which we believe will protect our rights, create new opportunities for British Columbians, and respect the majority opinion of the province. We hope that these themes will resonate with marijuana culture, while also attracting broad-minded non-tokers.”
The growing list of candidates includes both long-time and new activists, young and old, people who have never voted and people who have switched from other BC political parties.
Candidates are excited about their prospects in the upcoming election. Some of them also ran for the federal Marijuana Party, and now feel battle-hardened and better prepared for campaigning and debates. With a longer preparation time for the provincial election campaign, literature, promotions and advertising are all prepared well in advance, and there is more opportunity to get the word out and attract volunteers.
The incumbent New Democratic Party (NDP) has been disgraced by a number of scandals and is likely to be eliminated from BC’s political landscape. The only other mainstream party is the BC Liberals, who have never held power but are poised to win a huge majority, essentially by default. The Green Party is hoping to do well, although their chances of winning any seats are slim.
“The NDP are a disgrace, Liberals are set for a corporate sell-out, while the Greens want to increase government power to over-regulate our lives,” said Taylor. “The Marijuana Party seeks solutions through more representative democracy, public referendums, and rational policies which empower local communities and individuals, restoring government to its proper role as a facilitator and protector of our personal liberties.”
BC Marijuana Party store
Old hemp bc location resurrected for new store and Pot-TV studio.
What was once the location for Vancouver’s Hemp BC Superstore is set to once again become a centre for cannabis activism and pot politics in downtown Vancouver. Marc Emery has rented the location at 324 W Hastings to house the Pot-TV studios and also a new BC Marijuana Party store, which will sell pot-party stickers and t-shirts, as well as grow guides, pipes and bongs, hemp products, and a full range of pot-culture items.
“It’s good to be back on this block,” said Emery, three years after Hemp BC and the Cannabis Caf? were forced out of business (CC#16, The Prince of Pot speaks out). “It’s exciting to know that we are making history, right now!”
The store opened for business on March 9, and had its official grand opening on Saturday March 24, when all party candidates gathered for a convention and media conference. The opening was heralded by a pair of full page ads in the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers, promoting the new store and the BC Marijuana party platform.
Party Leader Brian Taylor inaugurated the retail enterprise. The store will also carry Taylor’s Personal Grow Units ? portable, closet sized systems with everything needed to grow primo buds.
One thing the new store won’t be carrying is marijuana seeds. “It was the over-the-counter sale of marijuana seeds which spurred the busts at Hemp BC,” said Emery, referring to the many police raids which forced him to sell his businesses. “I’m sticking with mail-order only.” The store will serve as the central headquarters for the BC Marijuana Party. Customers will also be able to watch some Pot-TV shows being filmed in the studio, including the daily 4:20 Marijuana News.
? BC Marijuana Party Bookshop: 307 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1H6; tel (604) 682-1172; fax (604) 682-1193
Nova Scotia Marijuana Party
Maritime activists register party and run in local by-election.
A provincial pot-party has also formed in Nova Sctoia, where activists are already preparing for an election scheduled for 2003.
“A new Nova Scotia political party can only be registered right before a provincial election, or a by-election,” said Mike Patriquin, the party founder who last year ran for the federal Marijuana Party. “We had a by-election coming up, so the Chief Electoral officer registered us as a party after we brought in 10 affadavits from people who promised to run as candidates in the next provincial election.”
With two and a half years until the next provincial election and 23 candidates now confirmed to run, Patriquin is confident that the party will have a full slate of 59 candidates.
“A major policy for us is hemp restoration. North America’s first hemp crop was planted in the Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and we see 25,000 new jobs being created by returning the hemp industry to this province,” said Patriquin, adding that the new party is working closely with provincial hemp farmers, including Mike Lewis of the Halifax Hemp Co. “They go all the way from planting seeds to over 100 different finished products,” said Patriquen. “That’s the kind of industry Nova Scotia needs.”
Patriquin has also founded a magazine called Hempworks, with a circulation of 20,000 copies.
? Halifax Seed Co: tel (902) 678-6859