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Cannabis Activist Speaks Out On Raid And Booze

By Hempology | January 8, 2007

Local marijuana activist Mik Mann is worried a recent police raid of a Coombs compassion club means bad news for those who legally grow and consume the herb.

Mann has a licence to grow marijuana for his own personal use for six years now.

However, he says that since the Federal Conservatives took over in Ottawa, disturbing signs have arisen that the ‘moral right’ is unhappy with current laws that allow some to grow and use cannabis legally.

Mark Russell, the founder of the Coombs chapter of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada ( CBC ) was raided by Courtenay RCMP members on Dec. 22 and is now facing a number of charges, including several counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Russell had run the club for the last 5 years and had 85 clients, some of whom reside in Port Alberni.

Mann is disturbed that someone like Russell, who was running the club on a compassionate level, is being likened “to a drug dealer”

“It’s the Harper government-they don’t like this program” Mann said, adding that he has heard rumors of a steady push to quash the program that allows some 1,400 Canadians to use and legally produce marijuana for medical purposes.

Cannabis is used by people to help ease the symptoms of a number of diseases, including glaucoma and MS. It is also used to stimulate the appetite & ease nausea in cancer and AIDS patients.

Mann is allowed to grow & store a certain amount of cannabis for his own medical use. He has spinal arthritis and uses marijuana for pain relief and to stimulate his appetite.

According to Mann, some 76% of the population agree marijuana laws should be relaxed. He believes the only reason why the government has failed to act on this fact is pressure from the U.S., where a war on drugs has been the rhetoric of politicians for many years.

“They are bullies” he said.

Mann is not shy about his beliefs – most days he wears a bright bandana decorated with cannabis leaves – he also has a cannabis leaf tattooed on his forearm.

He displays his licence in a frame on the door leading to his basement, where his ‘garden’ is located.

While he’s never had any serious run -ins with the law here in Port Alberni, he does worry about events such as the raid of Russell’s Compassion Club.

He finds the stance of the police puzzling, especially in light of the many obvious problems alcohol causes in the community.

He pointed to an article in this week’s Times that recounted the fact that 40 per cent of the calls local police responded to on New Years Eve were alcohol-related.

He said cannabis users rarely engage in the kind of violent activities that drinkers do and calls booze the real “gateway drug” leading to family violence, impaired driving and other bad behaviour.

Mann is calling on authorities to legalize marijuana, regulate it and reap the benefits of the taxation of this popular substance.

“This would free up the police to go after the drunks” Mann said, adding he would like to see public opinion recognize the negative affects of booze on society.

“It would be nice to have an alternative to either drinking or not drinking” he said.

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