Group against city pot-dispensary hearings associated with U.S. group with ties to Big Pharma

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      A group calling on Vancouverites to boycott a City Hall public hearing on proposed marijuana-dispensary regulations is an “associate” of a U.S-based group with ties to pharmaceutical-lobbying money.

      Pamela McColl, a local antitobacco activist and a “council member” of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada (SAMC), told 24 Hours on June 8 that citizens should disregard the meeting, scheduled to hear public speakers on Wednesday (June 10) at 6 p.m.

      “We’re telling everyone not to go,” she told the paper. “It’s a circus and we’re going to let the pot lobby be the main attraction.

      “This should not be a public hearing, this is illegal,” she added.

      The hearing is scheduled to examine recommended amendments to the city’s zoning and development by-law and two downtown official development plans regarding the regulation of retail dealers of medical marijuana. Dispensary locations will be a major point of discussion.

      SAMC—which launched itself in Ottawa in March 2014 with a breakfast for politicians and describes itself as “nonpartisan” and a “not-for-profit Canadian corporation”—is an offshoot of Project SAM USA, a coalition of groups that pushes for anti-cannabis legislation.

      That group was cofounded by reformed cocaine and OxyContin addict Patrick Kennedy, son of the late long-time U.S. senator Ted Kennedy. Canadian conservative commentator David Frum is also a member of Project SAM.

      Kennedy spoke at an event earlier this year that was hosted by a group called Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), which is against marijuana-policy reform; the event’s sponsor was OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharmaceutical.

      Some affiliate organizations of Project SAM have similar ties. CADCA is partially funded by other pharmaceutical companies as well, including opiod makers, according to an investigative article in the July 21-28, 2014, issue of the Nation.

      The article examined monetary ties between multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical interests such as Purdue (which has earned $27 billion from OxyContin alone since 1996), Abbott Laboratories (Vicodin), and Irish drug giant Alkermes (Zohydro) and U.S. anti-drug organizations.

      McColl, who has also called on B.C. Hydro to cut off power to all medical-marijuana dispensaries, is listed in SAMC’s 2014 inaugural news release as a “SAMC Council Member” along with three MDs. The only person quoted in the release is “Dr. Harold Kalant of the University of Toronto”, a 92-year-old retired professor and noted alcohol researcher.

      Interested citizens can speak at the Wednesday (June 10) public hearing by registering at Vancouver City Hall on the hearing day up to 30 minutes before the meeting starts. Call 604-829-4238 for information.



      Ian Mitchell

      Jun 10, 2015 at 8:16am

      Don't forget about the dubious and lucrative campaigning in Oregon ;
      or suggesting that marijuana caused Michael Brown's death

      Although the most bizarre funding for an antidrug organization comes from Medijean Canada, a licensed producer of cannabis, which helps to fund D.A.R.E. , a group larger than Project SAM and more concerning as people still seem to think they have a place in the education of children, despite things like this:

      David Ward

      Jun 10, 2015 at 6:51pm

      That's fine. Pamela McColl and company can make all the noise they want. They're a few decades too late to the prohibition party.

      Regarding cannabis, the jig is up. There is, today, a ton of scientific, factual evidence to show the therapeutic benefits of this amazing plant. It just takes a little research. Check out "Smoke Signals" by former investigative journalist Martin Lee.

      The paranoia that surrounds cannabis is getting hilarious. Pamela McColl - your ignorance has no medical benefit. So it goes with the whole angle of the drug war that you inadvertently (or deliberately?) support. Good luck playing on that side of this conflict here in 2015.


      Jun 10, 2015 at 9:29pm

      There is no group. Pammy just likes to refer to herself as we, and give herself fancy sounding titles.

      -Signed, Lead Honourable Counter-Delagate of the International Council of Protection of the Royal Plant from Maud Flanders.


      Jun 10, 2015 at 11:00pm

      SAM Canada is also allied with the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, who were founded at a conference in Florida under the guidance of, and to be a Canadian chapter of, the Drug Free America Foundation, who are also funded by the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries.

      SAM Canada is to cannabis policy what Answers in Genesis is to evolutionary biology. If a proposed policy appears to be a retreat in the war on drugs, they're against it.

      Rick in PoMo

      Jun 11, 2015 at 5:48am

      A few years ago, I was all for legalisation of marijuana for adult use. It seemed to be the logical thing to as it is relatively harmless, or so I believed.

      However, I watched a documentary on UK Channel 4 which looked at regular weed and compared it with skunk. Regular weed is fine for adults, but the findings of this documentary suggest that skunk can definitely lead to paranoia in many individuals due to the imbalance in the THC/CBD ratios.

      So, now I am conflicted about legalisation. Regular weed fine, but skunk maybe not. But everyone will want skunk because of the greater high.

      Documentary here:

      Dee Chardain

      Jun 11, 2015 at 9:23am

      Much of the medical marijuana craze is a sham. Marijuana is a powerful plant medicine and has it's appropriate prescription for m.s., certain cancers etc. Likewise aspirin was first synthesized from the bark of the willow tree, but if aspirin is abused it will soon blow a hole in your guts. Likewise, if these gmo-ed skunk strains of weed are abused for inebriation they will soon blow a hole in your judgement.

      You want evidence? Google 'Dr. David Suzuki + schizophrenia' for starts.

      The use of marijuana for inebriation is about reality avoidance and there is always a price to be paid for reality avoidance - both as an individual and as a society.

      Dr. Rob

      Jun 11, 2015 at 10:35am

      I wonder how people can talk about "reality avoidance" on the one hand and mythological creatures like "society" on the other. If anything, the compulsory one-size-fits-all lock-step formation that prohibitionists support is what is out of step of the natural reality of diversity, especially neurodiversity.

      Drug prohibition represents one tiny slice of the neurodiversity spectrum getting wildly uppity and deciding that everyone who wasn't like them was worthless---last century we saw this with Indians, black people, women, homoexuals, etc. There's a small segment of the population that isn't happy unless it's policing _someone_. And those of us who don't want to police anyone, we don't tend to want to police the police, either. Tho, we probably should...

      Anyway, moral panic re: schizophrenia is overblown. And, fundamentally, if you're the sort of person who believes in stealing from adults to protect them (or hypothetical children) from schizophrenia, then you have a criminal mindset. I'd rather hang around marijuana-induced schizophrenics than people who'll rob me "for my benefit," thanks.


      Jun 11, 2015 at 1:28pm

      I think that Pamela's time and efforts would be better spent developing a time machine to take her back to 1950.

      Tony Aroma

      Jun 11, 2015 at 4:04pm

      "Skunk," as used by the British media, is just a made-up name used to elicit a reaction, presumably since plain old marijuana isn't as scary as it once was. They use it to imply there's some super strain of killer marijuana that's somehow unique and apart from all the others. But there is no such thing. Skunk, in reality, is just the name of one of thousands of marijuana strains, nothing special about it. Except of course when the media uses the term.

      Barry William Teske

      Jun 12, 2015 at 6:31am

      Comes across like the defribilator crowd (read prohibition or you all are sinners crowd) doesn't like the looming loss to taxpayer subsidized big pharma and the investment advice for profit suits.
      Blunt but don't light the wrong end logic?
      Or in a paranoids must control all others lingo...'Do skunks really really want to scare you if you smell em before you call em nice kitty.'