Coastal Cannabis Crusaders Won’t Quit

By Cori Petersen

Social media plays a huge role in the life of an activist and those fighting against Cannabis prohibition. As each individual unlocks the power they have to broadcast themselves via the avenues they may already use in another way, we all become more efficient and stronger as an organism.

While these brave souls who have provided access to plant are being bullied, robbed and humiliated with permission from the crown, it is all for the sin of affording safe access to Cannabis. As more and more city councils address this topic the Mayor and of Sechelt resists leading any charge towards the future before the Federal Government, with the exception of;

“We will probably try to sort out a few things in advance of that so we can think about appropriate locations… Nobody on council indicated any interest in getting any further staff reports or knowledge, so it sort of slid at that point back into administrative limbo.”

Creating positive motion for Cannabis must seem like an alien concept to any governing body at this point, however the opposite direction seems to be second nature. On one one hand the local leaders seem to mincing around the subject and deferring to the Federal Government, yet on the other they are making defined strict negative policy specifically regarding Med-Pot use.

“We really don’t want to start treading into federal criminal law, and that’s the other delicate side of this. We’re working as well as we can to be supportive of the RCMP, our policing, and also to work within community values, and it’s a bit of a balancing act right now.” – said Bruce Milne the Mayor of Sechelt, regarding a Nov. 18th meeting City Council Meeting. A third such meeting where co-owner Michelle Sikora of the S&M Sweet Shoppe spoke in favour of regulation and licensing.

Michelle Sikora

Vancouver City Council broke ground with a proposal to regulate land-use actions that would dictate many things to do with how 100+ businesses operated however it would not regulate the herb itself. That premises seemed quickly forgotten as Vancouver has gotten nitty and gritty seemingly stipulating all kinds of things outside that scope. Vancouver will only be approving 11 out the 176 applications received, and is issuing a lottery for some 30 more waiting in smokey wings.

Current political wrangling seems prone to duplicity, not that this is a new modus operandi for politicians. Its just a bit shocking to see the duplicity up close and the democratic process not at all in action. Where, exactly you might ask?

Nanaimo area Dispensaries letters that came from nowhere, (literally only one Captain in the entire force knows a thing about it)! Vancouver’s move in the direction they went in, came from internal sources only, not the voice or will of the people at large. Health Canada changing regulation in order to force patients enrolled in their MMAR program to to stop growing an purchase Cannabis only from a Licenced Producer, came completely from within. It was passed off as “just because it’s time to,” and glossing over the riches being divided up in the back room.

The limitations on future med-pot facilities was something City Council members of Sechelt could all agree on. Defining where all future medicinal Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, possible research and development which can take place in the municipality was a unanimous decision.

Placing buffer zones around facilities at least one kilometre away from schools, a distance of 500 metres from recognized parks and 100 metres away from all residential neighbourhoods came standard. The new by-law lays out lot size, security and re-enforcement protocols required in the future was another lock.

Apparently honesty and opening a dialogue may not the best policy on the Sunshine Coast. After repeated up front and candid conversations with local leaders, their in-person response was chilly to say the least, however the long arm of the laws response has been worse by far.

Those in the community looked on in shock as the following disturbing updates came up for those acquainted with Michelle Sikora.

3:30pm:
“COPS HERE WITH A WARRANT!!!

6:30pm:
DO NOT CALL604-741-1178 THE COPS TOOK IT!

6:30pm:
Cops just left. Took all ediblies, oil and tea! And seized our van!! Cell phone and laptop. Devastated”

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After the action taken against the Sweet Shoppe it is hard to believe that Mayor Milne genuinely meant it when he reportedly said “…once [Dispensaries] are a legitimate business I want to treat them like any other legitimate business.” This was supposedly heard after the November 18th meeting.

If an entrepreneur were to make a misstep in another field of industry, it is doubtful that this tactic or level or response would ever be warranted.

With a  $326,000 expenditure on the horizon regarding a technology upgrade project for council chambers, it is a wonder that the economic aspects have not been more thoroughly researched by the number crunchers.

Someone needs to let the government know that they are getting it wrong though.

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