Panel tackles marijuana legalization

Prince of Pot Mark Emery will be among those speaking at University of Victoria Feb. 4

Longtime marijuana activist Marc Emery comes to the University of Victoria for a pot legalization discussion next month.

UVic Student Society hosts the panel featuring pot activist Emery and representatives from the law, addictions and academic communities to discuss marijuana laws in a Canadian context. The moderated panel discussion will be directed by audience-submitted questions and explore the nuances of marijuana law from the perspective of enforcement, public health and legislation.

The panel includes Jim O’Rourke, executive director of VisionQuest Society and addictions consultant, and criminology instructor Geri Bemister.

“It’s important for Canadians to have these types of conversations,” said Bemister. “Any time we want to make changes that will impact all Canadians, youth in particular, it’s important we make an educated decision.”

A certified interventionist as well, Bemister is more of a proponent of well-informed opinion than legalizing pot.

“Obviously marijuana is illegal currently for a reason … the harms are underrated and underreported,” she said. “I think it’s an important conversation to have. We need as Canadians to have a conversation about the seriousness of the substance.

“There’s certainly some room for policy or legislative reform in the area of medicinal use of substance.”

Emery is a well-known figure supporting the other end of the panel spectrum. Recently released from prison in the United States, where he was incarcerated on drug charges, Emery has been highly active in the debate over marijuana laws worldwide.  Joe Perkins of CTV Vancouver Island will moderate.

The Marijuana Legalization Panel Discussion is Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the University of Victoria Farquhar Auditorium. The first 100 tickets sold at the UVSS Info Booth are $5 for UVic students and the second 100 for UVic students are $10. Remaining tickets are $20 for students and all tickets are $25 for non-students.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com