The Greens on marijuana legalization

published on January 6, 2015 in Cannabis Digest

An Interview with Elizabeth May

Cannabis Digest: Do you know anything aboutHempology 101in Victoria, or what we do as an organization?

Elizabeth May:No

We have been involved in the Victoria scene for 15 years. We are an advocacy group for hemp and marijuana – both sides of the cannabis coin. We have a club at the University [of Victoria] that teaches a weekly lecture series where we talk about different aspects surrounding cannabis. We also have a weekly club meeting to go along with that. I have brought you a picture of the weekly meeting at the University. We are also working on a rally for our 15th anniversary tomorrow night. Denise [Savoie] and Keith [Martin] have come down to speak at some previous ones, so if you would like to come down that would be really cool.

I would be very happy to do that. It’s kind of last minute but I think that should work.

*author’s note: Ms. May did indeed make the rally, and offered inspirational words to those attending.

We also work in conjunction with the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada. We are one the oldest medical cannabis dispensaries in Canada. We have been providing medicine to people with permanent physical disabilities and diseases since 1996.

Is that Phillipe Lucas that had a lot to do with that?

No, that is the other club in town.

So there are actually two buyers’ clubs?

No, The VICS is the Vancouver Island Compassion Society and we are the Cannabis Buyers’ Club.

From the beginning (pre-1988) the Green Party has had a platform of legalization of what they consider soft drugs. That is drugs that they consider less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. What is your stance on legalization, and why has your party chosen to go this way.

It’s a policy based on research. It is based on a couple things. One is that prohibition is a failure. It directs law enforcement resources in the wrong place. People who feel insecure in their homes feel insecure in their homes, not because someone down the street might be smoking pot, but because they are concerned about break and enter or home invasions, or crimes of violence which generally are on the down turn. But there are pockets where people want to know they are safe in their homes. Police resources should go to those kind of crimes. And in our view [the solution] is not just decriminalization, but legalization of marijuana – putting it on the same status as tobacco or alcohol where you have programs for awareness. You don’t want people to be abusing any of those substances, because that represents both a health hazard and a danger to society from misuse of those products. So we have looked at it, and the World Health Organization has found in all of its studies, that marijuana is no more of a health hazard than alcohol or tobacco. The same thing has been found [in Canada]. The Senate of Canada did a study and came to the same conclusion. So there is solid research that prohibition doesn’t work. There is no reason to treat marijuana as an illegal substance; and by regulating, legalizing, taxing, then you have a much more sustainable ongoing access to marijuana for people for medicinal reason, for recreational reasons, but with the proper limits and all the same programs of awareness for “don’t drink and drive,” “don’t be under the influence of any kind of drug or artificial stimulant when you are behind the wheel.” So it’s a full package recognizing marijuana as legal which is different than promoting its use.

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