Watch this panel discussion on the legalization of cannabis in Canada and public activism from the Cannabis Hemp Conference, in Vancouver.
The panel was moderated by the Vancouver Chapter of Women Grow co-founder Jamie Shaw.
Panelists included activists Jodie and Marc Emery from Cannabis Culture, barrister and law reform advocate Kirk Tousaw, Vancouver Dispensary Society founder Dana Larsen and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies chair Mark Haden.
With the Liberal government now in the process of legalization cannabis Tousaw said he’s prepared to return to court to fight the government if their regulation system isn’t inclusive.
“The reality is if there’s no home production, if there’s no right to produce this plant for yourself … then it’s not truly legalization and the lawsuit will be filed the day after the law is brought into effect,” Tousaw said.
Mark Haden pointed to literature arguing that societies which have a disparity between rich and poor as being less healthy as reason for dispensaries to be a part of a legalized cannabis system.
“If we build a system that sells cannabis that concentrates money at the top the pile we will have a sicker society than if we spread the money around,” Haden said. “So the dispensaries, by definition, tend to be very small … they’re not large multi-national corporations and so, in a public health argument, you’d keep the existing dispensaries, you’d require them to stay relatively small and you’d have lots of them.”
Haden said while cannabis is currently being pushed for legalization, it has opened the conversation to the legalization of psychedelics and other substances.
“Yes, cannabis is a gateway drug — it’s a gateway to legalization,” he said. “We need to continue the process.”