Pubdate: Sat, 28 Apr 2001
Source: Agassiz Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Agassiz Observer


B.C.'s Marijuana Party leader Brian Taylor figures his candidates
could stage a Gordon Wilson-style coup in the May 16 election, moving
from obscurity to stealing a handful of seats, likely in the Kootenays
and Vancouver Island.

"We are beginning to feel the momentum," Taylor said.

Taylor was in Agassiz Thursday to launch his party's health care
platform at Blacksea Organics Health Foods, a store owned by
Chilliwack-Kent candidate David Ferguson.

"We're not proposing we do anything out of the Canadian Health Act,"
Taylor said. "We just believe there are different ways of doing things."

Canada's current health care system favours chemical drugs over
natural remedies, including marijuana, largely because natural
remedies cannot be patented by drug companies and controlled for
profit, Taylor claimed.

"We need to recognize alternative medicines, ethnic medicines," he

New federal rules legalizing marijuana for medical use when all other
options have been exhausted are so restrictive they require users to
gain approval from three medical specialists, in an age where doctors
are overworked, and submit to searches by "marijuana police, Taylor

"Where does the interference end? That's where our federal tax dollars
are going."

Federal drug regulators have restricted the use of several other
natural remedies in the past few years, including the popular golden
seal. B.C. should lead Canadian provinces in legalizing marijuana and
ensuring alternative medications remain unregulated, Taylor said.

However, current Chilliwack-Kent Liberal MLA Barry Penner said the
Marijuana Party is campaigning on issues the provincial government has
no control over because they are regulated by the federal government,
including drug regulations.

"It's a federal issue," Penner said.

Penner said all the provinces can do on the drug issue is lobby the
federal government, adding he and several other Liberal MLAs wrote to
federal health minister Allan Rock last year protesting a proposal to
treat herbal remedies as drugs.

Penner said he agrees any alternative medicine should be readily
available unless it has been proven harmful.

The Marijuana Party's health platform dealt with a handful of other

Taylor said his party would create a harm reduction plan - paying for
preventative techniques to prevent future health care costs - and
allow prescription heroin and cocaine for addicts.

The additional costs of these programs would by funded by tax revenue
from legalized marijuana.

They also want to legalize prostitution so it could be controlled, to
"take victims off the streets" and reduce the spread of disease.

Local party supporters plan to rally in Chilliwack's Area 51 on May 3.
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