Spark the vote: Eden Medicinal Society offers election information plus a chance to win passes for Snoop Dogg

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      The last time Snoop Dogg played anywhere near Vancouver, he was co-headlining the Pemberton Music Festival in front of an audience that numbered in the tens of thousands.

      On October 24, the rap legend returns to Canada’s Pacific Northwest for a more intimate performance: a club show at the Imperial Theatre in Vancouver where he’ll perform for a crowd of just 400 guests.

      The Snoop Dogg show is a part of Eden Medicinal Society’s first annual Harvest Moon Cup, a cannabis competition that will see 40 strains of marijuana judged on flavour, potency, aroma, appearance, and overall enjoyment.

      It’s just about sold out, with remaining passes going for $400 each. But there are two free tickets left up for grabs. (Update: Eden has said it will soon release a limited number of additional general admission tickets that cost $200 each.)

      Originally, all one had to do to enter into the raffle was provide Eden with proof they voted in Canada’s federal election that’s happening on Monday, October 19.

      However, that plan changed when contest organizers learned Canada has strict rules around exactly how one can and cannot encourage citizens to participate in democracy.

      “Unfortunately, Section 481 of the Canada Elections Act states a person is ‘guilty of an offence if they offer a bribe or incentive to any individual to vote or not vote’,” explained Eden spokesperson Danny Kresnyak. “This includes non-partisan and registration campaigns. So basically, it is now illegal in this country to advocate the vote.”

      And so Eden had to get creative and come up with a new way for people to enter the contest. The solution they settled on, Kresnyak continue, happens to involve the Straight. He noted that on page 112 of the paper's October 1, 2015, print edition appears an advertisement for the concert in question.

      “Get your hands on a fresh copy of the Georgia Straight, find the ad, pull it out, post it somewhere in a public space, and take a picture of it with the hashtags #HarvestMoonCup and #VancouversBestDispensary,” he said. “That’s an entry for one pass.”

      The two tickets come with slightly different perks and exactly what the winner receives depends on whether or not they are a member of Eden Medicinal Society (for which one needs to have proven a legitimate requirement for medicinal cannabis). One ticket for general admission is up for grabs by anybody. But if the raffle winner is an Eden member, they get a little something extra: a judge’s pass for the Harvest Moon Cup that comes with samples of each and every one of the more than 40 strains of marijuana competing for the championship that night.

      Given Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda and the Conservative party’s hard-line against marijuana, Kresnyak conceded Eden’s voter drive could be misconstrued as an attack on the incumbent. But he emphasized that is not the case.

      “This is a non-partisan campaign and we’re not endorsing any candidate,” he said. “Telling people to not vote for Harper when cannabis is the issue that is bringing them to the poles is something of a redundancy. And I think statements like that breed apathy.”

      For a detailed examination of each leading political parties’ position on marijuana, read the Straight’s recent three-part series, “Ahead of Canada's 2015 election, marijuana advocates scrutinize competing plans for reform”.

      For more general information about the election and how to vote plus instructions for how to ensure you are registered to participate, head to Elections Canada's website or any one of Eden’s five Vancouver locations.

      “If someone comes to an Eden location between now and Election Day, they can get the same information that they would get from Elections Canada,” Kresnyak said. “How they register to vote. That’s what we’re interested in: registering people and getting them to the polls.”