The B.C. Liberals are trying to make the distribution of marijuana an issue in the provincial election campaign.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan has scheduled a fundraising event next week with people in the cannabis industry.
In the meantime, Horgan has said that he favours selling recreational pot in public liquor stores.
That’s prompted the B.C. Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Fraserview, Suzanne Anton, to link this to financial contributions from the liquor store workers’ union.
The B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union donated $117,400 to Horgan’s party last year.
“If John Horgan is willing to sell out public safety for $117,400, what else will he be selling out to the highest bidder at his marijuana fundraiser on April 18th?” Anton said in a news release.
The B.C. Liberals pointed out that the B.C. NDP candidate in Anton’s riding, former Vancouver councillor George Chow, was on a federal task force on marijuana. And in December, it recommended against selling marijuana in liquor stores.
Instead, the committee that included Chow called for cannabis to be sold in storefront locations in plain packaging.
Last year, two NDP MLAs, Carole James and Mike Farnworth, visited Washington state and Colorado to examine how they’re overseeing legal marijuana sales. They prohibit selling marijuana in liquor stores.
On April 13, the federal Liberals introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada.
Cannabis activist and former B.C. NDP leadership candidate Dana Larsen has maintained that if B.C. doesn’t demand more powers in this area from Ottawa, it won’t have control over who will be licensed as distributors and vendors.
During the 2011 B.C. NDP leadership race, Larsen urged his supporters to back Horgan over the other candidates should Larsen fall short of winning.
‘I’ve signed up a lot of new members and certainly those new members that have welcomed my fresh vision for the party,’ Larsen said at the time. ‘I feel confident that if I’m not on that last ballot that John Horgan will carry our issues and our vision through as leader of the party, and as the next premier of the province.’
Horgan lost that race to Adrian Dix and only became leader after his party lost the 2013 election to Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberals.
Following that campaign, Anton became justice minister and attorney general.