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Ted’s response to Marc Emery’s Allegations

By Ted | August 31, 2001

more by Ted Smith

By Ted Smith

President, Victoria’s Hempology 101

In a previous article, Marc Emery wrote to express his dissatisfaction with Ted’s lack of support for the Marijuana Party. Today, Ted states his position in this area.

Ted Smith writes, “Recently, Marc Emery and Dana Larsen of the BC Marijuana Party have
been attacking me for openly supporting the Green party in the last
provincial election. Apparently their party’s policy of “CHOICES” is
not meant to imply that people would be respected for supporting other
political parties. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that the
Marijuana Party is making a mockery of the democratic process and
should not be supported by people seriously concerned about poverty,
multinational corporate control or the environment. While I have a
great deal of respect and admiration for many members of the Marijuana
Party who have come forward to publically speak out against the War On
Drugs, I strongly believe that the other policies the party has
adopted are unnecessary and should be dropped from the agenda…”

Ted Smith continues, “My first contact with the Marijuana Party happened when Chuck Beyer, a
candidate from Vancouver Island, contacted me on the phone shortly
after the federal election was called last fall. Since I decided a
long time ago that I would never become a politician, I declined the
offer to run as a candidate, just like when I turned down the federal Green
Party after the national leader, Joan Russow, called me and asked me
to seek office with that party only a few days before. I invited
Chuck to come to a Hempology 101 meeting and to pay a visit to the
Vancouver Island Cannabis Buyers Club so he could meet local people in
the movement, promote the Marijuana Party and possibly find people
interested in running for the party. He declined and proceeded to state that
if I knew anyone who would consider simply submitting their name as a
candidate, the Marijuana Party would sponsor them even if they did not
want to appear in public. They were even signing up people who simply
sent an e-mail to the party.

Even though no one else from the Marijuana Party made contact with me
through the federal election, we supported them at every opportunity.
At the beginning of the provincial election, Chuck was driving past the
Ministry of Health when he saw a Hempology 101 meeting on the front
steps and he decided to stop and introduce himself. Other candidates
appeared at meetings over the next few weeks, passing out information
and taking the microphone to make speeches.

Things began to change when comments appeared in the Vancouver Sun
explaining some of the opinions of Marc Emery. The article quoted
Marc Emery as saying that, “We should make accomodations possible so
that people with extra income can buy extra services. Socialized
medicine will always lead to crisis.” While everyone will admit that
the health care system in Canada is currently underfunded and needs
serious changes, most informed people realize that universal health care
is a pillar of Canadian society which needs reinforcement and
restructuring. The introduction of private medical services in Canada
directly threatens the lives of people who have unfortunately become
dependant upon the system for their health care. The use of cannabis
as medicine would alone dramatically improve the financial costs of
universal medicare as hospital visits would be less often and shorter,
people would use far less prescription drugs and the health of the
general population would improve as less alcohol and tobacco is used.

The personal beliefs of Marc Emery were not apparently consistent with
the policies of the BC Marijuana Party, something pointed out by many
of the candidates in later conversations. In fact, when asked about
the health care policy of the party, every single person I talked to
gave me a different answer. One candidate did not even realize the
party had any policies other than opposition to the War On Drugs.
Head office declared that candidates needed to constantly monitor the
web-page so they could stay current with party policies. When it
became clear that party policies were being determined by Marc Emery
and not the grassroots membership, that the policies were in general
anti-government stances with no effort being made to produce solutions
to problems regarding the environment, energy or poverty, and that
people were being unknowingly drawn into a disfunctional organization,
it seemed as though I had little choice but to stand up and declare my
opposition to the direction the party had taken. I refuse to
support any party where the leader has different policy opinions than
those publically stated by the party.

This was not an easy decision to make. Ever since I joined in the
fight to free cannabis, I have faced internal conflict within the
movement. I have learned the hard way that it is very important to be
careful about who you are associated with in public because there are
many extremists drawn into this campaign making it difficult to work
together for a variety of reasons. I am well aware that by standing
up against the BC Marijuana Party I am reinforcing the impression that
cannabis activists are uncooperative and unruly. However, I am
prepared to defend my dissent from the movement because the policies
and agenda of the BC Marijuana Party are not being generated for the
good of the public and I refuse to appear to be an ignorant sheep
following a self-absorbed sheperd. Mr. Emery should realize that I am
involved in this movement because I question authority.

As word got out about my opposition to the BC Marijuana Party and it’s
new agenda, people began to call me. Marc Emery himself contacted me
to discuss the problem. He made it clear that his intentions were to
take control of the country politically because he felt we could not
win in the courts, on the streets or in the minds of the public. After
realizing that I would not be easily swayed from my strong beliefs
about universal health care and that any party policies should come
from the membership, Marc went on the attack. He seemed to think that
I had swore some kind of oath to the cannabis community which would
force me to work with him under any circumstances. He called me a
hypocrite and said I was not a friend of the cannabis community before
he hung up on me.

We had hoped that this situation would be forgotten soon after the
provincial election. However, Marc Emery had other intentions.
Shortly after the election he announced that the Marijuana Party would
be opening a chain of stores which would sell medical marijuana in the
back. This was all Brian Taylor, the ‘leader’ of the party, needed to
hear for him to break ranks and leave. Many people feel that Mr.Emery
has gone too far with this plan, mixing business, politics and
medicine together under one roof. While I believe that it is very
important that medical marijuana is made available to everyone in
need, I do not think it is the role of any political party to start
businesses, period. Mr. Emery would be serving the community better if
he was to sponsor the creation of medical marijuana organizations
without tagging the name of the BC Marijuana Party onto it.

Soon after this announcement, Mr. Emery had Dana Larsen write a letter
to me complaining about the fact that I had supported the Green Party.
They stated that they had been big supporters of mine. While Dana had
taken the time to come to a symposium I held at the University of
Victoria 1 1/2 years ago, neither had made an attempt to assist me beyond that.
In fact, because they had ignored Hempology 101 and the VI Cannabis
Buyers Club for so long, people were given the impression that nothing
was happening in Victoria. The weekly Hempology 101 meetings are the
largest weekly pot rally in the world and Cannabis Culture, which Marc
owns and Dana is the editor of, has never printed a word about it.
When I was arrested twice last November for trafficking cannabis an
article appeared in CC, but it failed to mention the weekly meetings
and only briefly mentioned VICBC, which was celebrating it’s 5th
anniversary last January. It is the oldest public medical marijuana
organization in Canada and the second largest to the Vancouver
Compassion Society. Perhaps one of the reason we did not receive any
exposure is because Mr. Emery was giving pot and money to the
Vancouver Island Compassion Society, an organization which formed
about 2 years ago because people had the impression we were not
providing adequate services. The lead article in that issue was
actually about VICS because they had been robbed and then busted by the
police. That article lead people to believe that if VICS was shut
down there would be no place for people to buy their medicine. This was
not true at all as VICBC was operating the entire time.

When Mr. Emery uses his donation to VICS as an example of how he has
supported me, he deliberately confuses people into believing that this
somehow helps me and VICBC. It would be much easier to debate Mr.
Emery if he were to stick with the truth. It would be nice if
Cannabis Culture were to print the truth, instead of covering up
stories and favouring friends of Mr. Emery. It would be really nice
if the Marijuana Party would drop all other policies except their
opposition to the War On Drugs. Alas, the only thing in my power is
to carefully watch my own words and actions to make sure that I am
as reasonable and proactive as possible, despite what other
people in the movement may be doing.”

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