CANNABIS CULTURE – During an escalating housing crisis, and the worst overdose epidemic in the country’s history, in the shadow of a deeply flawed federal cannabis legalization bill, amidst pipeline protests and continued dirty money scandals, Vancouver is having an election.

To make matters worse, there are over a hundred names on the ballot running for Mayor, CouncillorPark Board commissioner, and school trustee (a list which includes Mrs Doubtfire).

What’s a pothead to do on election day, Oct 20th?

Cannabis is an ideal lens to view the city’s growth and health because it corresponds directly to so many municipal issues. To name three:

Cannabis is housing. Vancouver dispensaries are responsible for paying at least 1,000 rents a month, and could easily pay more if the city supported the industry. If you include cannabis-related production, like edible manufacturing, extraction and growing, that number could more than double.

Cannabis is overdose prevention. Studies routinely show that cannabis provides a safe alternative to more dangerous drugs, and reduces overdoses. Easy cannabis availability prioritizes medical access for everyone, and reduces the stress on local health resources.

Cannabis is trust. If you wouldn’t trust a candidate to hold a perfect pound of your favorite flower, why would you give them your support?

I’ve taken a red-eyed glance at the candidates, waded through hazy rhetoric, rolled and scrolled through campaign ads, attended speeches, sparked the concerns of fellow Vancouverites, and here are my top choices for a merry marijuana mayor, and who I think you can trust with a pound.

Mayoral Picks:

Shauna Sylvester –  Every nug accounted for.

She’s an independent candidate who’s strong on affordable housing, and firm on addressing the overdose epidemic through safer alternatives. She’s serious about public health, and promised me fair, unbiased regulations for cannabis that support the local craft industry.

David Chen –  He knows it’s medicine.

David understands affordable housing, and is open-minded to cannabis. He’s in favor of total drug decriminalization, and seems eager to learn from, and support a culture that greatly benefits the city.

Jason Lamarche –He’s done it before.

He’s been dogged in the press, but is very strong on cannabis. He’s demanding rent control, firm action to reshape city hall, and respects Vancouver’s current dispensaries.

Mike “Big Balls” Hansen – As long as we shook hands.

In addition to being a hemp advocate, he’s also offering to fight the VPD’s Deputy Chief Constable Adam Palmer in a boxing match. No word on the venue.

Fred Harding – No. When you pick it up, it weighs the same, but looks tumbled, and smells funny.

He’s picked a good cannabis policy advisor, Robert Laurie, but he’s a former cop.

Hector Bremner – Yes! He came to the lounge.

He’s strong on cannabis access, supporting lounges and at least as many dispensaries as liquor stores, but his weak policy on housing bumps him to the bottom of the list.

Council picks:

Sarah Blyth – She can keep it, after the police stole hers.

Anyone giving away cannabis to those in need is A OK with me. Sarah’s legit. Give Sarah your vote.

Rohana Rezel – He’ll keep it safe from developers.

He hates dirty developers, and they hate him. As long as he understands your stash is part of Vancouver’s housing solution, everything’ll be fine.

Raza Mirza – Stored perfectly. Look at his beard.

He’s firm on affordable housing, and seems like a genuine problem solver.

Kelly Alm – Only if he drafts a plan for it.

I have no idea how he feels about pot, but he’s supposedly written over 300 proposals for different types of city development. Give this guy a shot already.

Jean Swanson – Once she knows how important it is, she’ll guard it with her life.

Jean’s firm on immediate action on affordable housing, and isn’t taking any tears about it.

The Ashtray:

Please don’t vote for Bruno Baronet, Stephanie Descoteaux, Pratpal Gill, Marco Lee or Melissa De Genova. All have taken either cruel stances on vulnerable youth, or tried to close all the dispensaries in the city.