The Marijuana Party of Canada is firing up to become a serious contender in the upcoming federal election. "This is a call to arms," says a smartly dressed Paul Lewin, sitting before a giant green cannabis flag as he launches the federal campaign.
The criminal lawyer, running for the pot party in Trinity-Spadina, is one of four candidates recently committed in Toronto. The Marijuana party is scrambling to sign on at least 50 reps across the country by November 6 in order to attain official-party status and have its name on the ballot.
The legalization of pot is the one and only plank to the party's platform. "Government has no place in the ashtrays of our nation," says a confident Marc-Boris St. Maurice, leader of the Quebec branch. He's running in the same Montreal riding as Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Quebecois.
The Marijuana party wants to legalize "simple possession (30 grams or less), cultivation (for personal use) and trafficking (five grams or less)." Reps are free to hold their own political platforms and fiscal proposals so long as it's clear that their views do not represent the party's. Confirmed Toronto ridings include Trinity-Spadina, St. Paul's, Toronto Centre-Rosedale and Parkdale-High Park.
Lewin is convinced that the legalization of pot will soon become a reality. "Canadians by and large are reasonable, enlightened people," he says. "Everyone says the same thing -- it's ridiculous that marijuana use is a crime."