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Marijuana candidate bringing cannabis café debate closer to home

RCMP says research and education needed before legalization is considered

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The debate surrounding the Da Kine café might be raging in Vancouver, but former Marijuana Party candidate in Pemberton’s riding is ensuring the ramifications of any decision will be felt well outside the city limits.

Norm Siefken has been a candidate for the Marijuana Party in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, which includes Pemberton and D’Arcy, during the past two federal elections. He also owns a cannabis-seed business in Vancouver.

For the past week he has also been protesting in Vancouver outside the Da Kine cafe and campaigning for marijuana to be legalized.

When Pique Newsmagazine contacted Siefken this week he was standing outside the Da Kine shop holding a "legalize marijuana" sign, smoking his pipe and watching the police circulate around the shop every 15 minutes.

Siefken said the outcome of this protest could lead to the legalization of marijuana in Vancouver, because those involved know what they are doing and they are here for the long haul.

"I’d say within six months you’ll be seeing marijuana stores all over Vancouver," said Siefken.

"Because Da Kine is being defiant and opening right away the next day.

"It’s the same thing that happened in the (marijuana) seed business.

"First they were busting all the seed stores and then they would just re-open and then finally they just left the seed stores alone.

"I’d say within six months you’ll probably have about 50 cannabis cafes in Vancouver.

"There’s a lot of others opening up right now; I know of three or four."

The owner of Da Kine, Carol Gwilt, and seven employees spent a night in jail last week and were then released by Judge William Kitchen.

But Siefken said everybody had been warned that if there were another spate of arrests then the offending people would be spending more time in jail.

"Just on Da Kine I think it’s a really valuable public service that these people are providing because the other choice is to go to a dealer who’s trying to sell you some crack and meth (amphetamine) and heroine or whatever.

"It’s important to have cannabis in an environment where it’s cannabis only."

Siefken said the situation at the Da Kine store is being supported by a number of groups, including a group of experienced Marijuana Party candidates.

"The whole idea is to force this case into the courts," he said.

"They (the people who were arrested) knew this before they got arrested and that’s why everybody is ready to be re-arrested or whatever, but definitely the idea is to bring it into the courts and get some fair judgements.

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