Vancouver pot activist Dana Larsen has rejected the idea he would be a one-issue candidate in the provincial New Democrat leadership contest.
“I’ve got a lot of other things I’d like to talk about,” said the one-time leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party and outspoken advocate for marijuana legalization.
He said, for example, he would like to see B.C.’s minimum wage increased to $10 and tied to inflation, the training wage eliminated, the HST reversed, and a provincial police force established to replace the RCMP.
But Larsen acknowledged government pot-policy is a priority, saying it is linked closely to issues like crime, human rights, and the economy.
He described the B.C. bud industry as a massive “underground” sector of the economy that should be subject to taxes and regulation.
“It’s a massive employer,” he told the Straight today (December 21) by phone. “It provides a lot of revenue to individuals, but nothing to the government.”
Larsen recently announced he is considering a bid for the provincial party leadership and says he will announce his decision by the end of this month.
Since B.C. NDP Leader Carole James announced last month she will be resigning, potential leadership candidates have been emerging.
A one-member, one-vote provincial leadership election is set for April 17, 2011.
Larsen, who says he has been an NDP member since 2003, also talked about the direction the party should head in with James departing as leader.
“I think we’ve got to look to our grassroots and our membership of the party,” he said.
“I think when we’re developing policy we have to make sure we base that on the resolutions that have been passed and what the membership of the party wants.”
He said NDP party conventions are not focused enough on debate and discussion about policy by party members. Also, he said the internet could be used more to encourage ongoing internal party dialogue as policy is developed.
In 2008, Larsen resigned as the federal NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country amid controversy about video footage showing him taking hallucinogenic drugs.
He said he stepped aside to avoid creating a distraction to NDP campaign efforts.