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BC Marijuana Party up in smoke after May 12: Emery

Today is 4:20, the international counterculture holiday on which as many as a million people will skip work and light up a joint at – you guessed it – 4:20 p.m. A few thousand keener stoners are expected to begin inhaling this morning at an annual rally on the north lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

But this could be the final toke for the B.C. Marijuana Party.

“It’s quite possible I’ll fold the B.C. Marijuana party and put my energy into the B.C. Greens after this election,” party leader Marc Emery told The Tyee.

The Marijuana Party has been active in B.C. politics since May 2001 when the party ran a full slate of candidates during the contest that elected Premier Gordon Campbell by a landslide.

The B.C. Green Party has the same stance on substance regulation as his party, Emery explained, and the Green Party is a better vehicle to make change happen.

“They have that one key element of their platform that I have a vested interest in making sure becomes as popular as possible,” Emery said.

Emery, who's been dubbed the 'Prince of Pot,' is also publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine. He made millions selling cannabis seeds for cultivation, until his operation was closed as a result of a 2005 raid by Vancouver police acting on the request of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. He currently faces extradition to the United States.

He said the Greens have the same stance on substance regulation as his party, and pointed to that as proof the party “succeed.”

“The purpose of a political party is to get your idea adapted by the governing bodies or by large opposition parties,” Emery said.

Jane Sterk, leader of the B.C. Green Party said support from anywhere on the political spectrum will be welcome, as it will assist the Greens in getting elected.

“For us to get elected, we need to take support from all other parties and all parts of the political spectrum and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Sterk said.

“If two per cent of the voting public want to put their votes towards the green party that would assist us.”

She indicated that the policy on drug reform was developed by the Green Party and was not influenced by the Marijuana party’s policy.

“We have long advocated for an end to the war on drugs and we think prohibition is the wrong way to go,” Sterk said.

Emery said that as a leader of a smaller political party he feels obligated to make the switch to larger more influential political vehicle that want the same policy on drug reform.

“The marijuana party does not have a role at the provincial level,” said Emery, now that one of the “big three,” political parties has the same principals.

Emery said he feels the Marijuana party has served its purpose and he would rather shut it down than pass the reigns onto another leader.

“I would tend to deregister the party before I would let anyone else have it,” Emery said. “Its accomplished its mandate.”

Morgan J. Modjeski reports for The Tyee.

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