- BC Games
Farmer’s Market rejects pot lobby
Folks with the decriminalizing marijuana campaign Sensible BC say they’ve been discriminated against by officials with the Duncan Farmer’s Market, after the Saturday market in Duncan City Square denied the not-for-profit group a booth.
But market officials maintain the decision was based strictly on long-standing criteria.
“We are a farmer’s market and an artisans market and basically go by the ‘You have to make it, bake it, or grow it, to be a part of it,’” said the market’s current president Mick Smith. “We try and stay as (non-) political as we can.”
Sensible BC representatives, including Duncan’s Steve LeSage have been canvassing at markets, including the Mill Bay, Chemainus and Koksilah farm markets. They want to gather signatures calling for a B.C. referendum on the topic, and recruit volunteers to aid their campaign to change the law to stop police from searching or arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for possession of marijuana.
Their proposed Sensible Policing Act also demands the federal government repeal marijuana prohibition, and mandates the B.C. government figure out the rules needed for a legal marijuana system in B.C.
“We’ve had a very warm response from the merchants and many have signed up to be canvassers with Sensible BC,” said the society’s Kirk Tousaw, who sits on Sensible BC’s board of directors and lives in Duncan.
“We were told in Duncan people wouldn’t support it. But with the idea of free speech, you should have the ability to communicate even unwelcome messages. But we think the public is wholeheartedly in support of Sensible BC.”
Tousaw said he’s currently writing a letter to the Duncan Farmer’s Market board, asking they treat the society fairly and reconsider granting them a booth.
“The next step would be, if we can’t convince them to treat us fairly is to have our folks go there anyway, just without the booth. Our people will be there, and walking around, recruiting canvassers, collecting signatures, and we’ll be there every weekend.”
However, Smith explained there a number of factora the market takes into consideration when looking at different applications. One is how full the market is.
Organizers are not inclined to bump a local farmer for a group that doesn’t have anything to sell, since their top priority is showcasing local products.
Even if they had space, Smith said, officials agreed Sensible BC’s campaign was too political to fit their format.
Smith said he’s had no verbal contact from any of the campaign’s folks since the application was adjudicated Aug. 15.
In the meantime, the marijuana referendum tour is hitting 15 Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast stops in six days, including Duncan’s Craig Street Brew Pub Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We need volunteers and canvassers in every community,” said Sensible BC Director Dana Larsen in a press release announcing its Cowichan stop. “My goal is to meet local supporters and register them as canvassers so they can collect signatures this fall.”
Larsen has prepared the legislation, which would effectively decriminalize marijuana. The law also calls upon the federal government to repeal marijuana prohibition, so that B.C. can legally regulate its cultivation and sale.
The proposed law has been accepted by Elections B.C., and Larsen will have 90 days to collect signatures from 10% of the registered voters in every electoral district, beginning Sept. 9. These 400,000 signatures can only be collected by people who have first registered as a canvasser.