Anti-pot crusader Kevin Sabet traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia last week to publicize the launch of a website dedicated to serving as a watchdog against Canada’s new legal cannabis industry. Sabet and a small group of representatives from allied groups Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, Air We Share, and Airspace Action on Smoking and Health gathered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Museum on Wednesday to protest the legalization of pot.
In an effort to oppose the newly legal Canadian recreational cannabis industry, Sabet said that Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada was launching a new website, www.PotWatch.org, “to expose the harms of Big Marijuana in Canada.”
“Join our coalition that is fearlessly investigating, exposing, challenging, and holding the marijuana industry accountable,” extolls the organization’s website.
In an email to supporters about the event, Sabet predicted dire consequences would result from the legalization of cannabis.
“October 17th, 2018 will be a day we look back on as a dark day in our history – the day Canada began nationwide legal sales of high-potency marijuana,” Sabet wrote. “It will be remembered as the day Canadian lawmakers put the interest of an addiction-for-profit industry over the health and safety of its citizens.”
Anti-Pot Arguments Already Addressed
At the protest, speakers and placards relied on anti-pot cliches including the fears of easier access to cannabis for youth and opposition to “Big Pot,” arguments already addressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his call for the legalization of cannabis.
In 2016, Trudeau noted that “young people have easier access to cannabis now, in Canada, than they do in just about any other countries in the world. [Of] 29 different countries studied by the U.N., Canada was number one in terms of underage access to marijuana.”
Trudeau also refuted the notion that the legalization of recreational pot was a giveaway to business interests and said that regulating the industry could help keep cannabis away from youth.
“I have no doubt that Canadians and entrepreneurs will be tremendously innovative in finding ways to create positive economic benefits from the legalization and control of marijuana, but our focus is on protecting kids and protecting our streets,” said Trudeau.
The prime minister also noted that with or without legalization, Canada would have a cannabis industry.
“The other piece of it is there are billions upon billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of organized crime, street gangs, and gun-runners, because of the illicit marijuana trade, and if we can get that out of the criminal elements and into a more regulated fashion we will reduce the amount of criminal activity that’s profiting from those, and that has offshoots into so many other criminal activities,” said Trudeau. “So those are my focuses on that.”
Supporters of the legalization of cannabis also made their feelings known in Vancouver on Wednesday. Across the street from the launch of the PotWatch website, cannabis activist Anil Sthankiya was angered by a sign that read “Marijuana kills brain cells.” Cannabinoids have actually been shown to have neuroprotective properties.
“This is disgusting, and more and more of this, over again, from people who haven’t bothered to do 20 honest hours of research,” Sthankiya said.
Another cannabis advocate, Dillon Mcardle, was openly selling marijuana and displaying cannabis plants at a booth across the street from the art gallery. He told reporters that he was also protesting the influx of corporate interests into Canadian cannabis.
“We’re protesting for the proper legalization of cannabis. We want to see free weed for medical needs and equal rights for every Canadian citizen to grow it, smoke it and sell it, of course over the age of 19,” said Mcardle.