1. Launching the coalition’s first report
It already feels like years ago, but it was only in October that the Coalition’s first report, Breaking the Silence, was launched and our members stole the day. The media response was outstanding (we’ve cataloged all STVBC coverage to date here), support on our online communities was phenomenal and continues to grow (check out our support on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), and donations continue to come in (keep an eye on our fundraising thermometer and donate here). Thanks in large part to funds raised to date, we’re excited to announce that we will be able to do it all over again – Report 2 will be released shortly, and it includes some incredible research on the state of cannabis prohibition in BC, so stay tuned for updates.
2. Support from retired AND active law enforcement officials
It’s one thing to speak out on the failure of law enforcement to contain the illegal cannabis market – but it’s a whole other thing if you are a member of the law enforcement community. Our coalition members who are past and present members of law enforcement have been critical in generating public and media interest and support and we are grateful to them for having the courage to speak publicly and with such conviction as experts on this issue.
3. Four former mayors of Vancouver step up to the plate… and bring some current ones with them
It’s not easy to find politicians to champion politically sensitive topics like legalizing and regulating adult cannabis use, so when four former mayors penned this letter to elected officials throughout BC, we were thrilled to put our muscle behind it and to push it as far as it could go. The result was over 50 broadcast, print, and online media articles, and surprise endorsements from Mayors Gregor Robertson (Vancouver) and Derek Corrigan (Burnaby). Building on this momentum, we are currently reaching out to mayors across the province to invite them to join the chorus. If you have reason to believe that your mayor would be inclined to speak out, we would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Stop the Violence BC on prime time
It’s not every day that a major news broadcaster dedicates nearly 10 minutes of primetime to your effort. In the wake of the former Mayor’s endorsement of Stop the Violence BC, Global BC called and we were thrilled to offer them a one-on-one with Dr. Evan Wood, a UBC professor and medical doctor who volunteers his time to support STVBC. Click here to watch the interview.
5. The Prime Minister’s thoughts on cannabis policy reform…
In the wake of former Vancouver mayors endorsing STVBC, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was interviewed by the Filipino Post and expressed concern that legalizing marijuana in Canada would “cause us a great deal of trouble at the border with the United States.” He went on to say: “I don’t want to say they would seal the border. But I think it would inhibit our trade generally because they’re certainly not going to make that move (legalizing marijuana) in the United States.” He may want to tell that to the five American states that have ballot initiatives to tax and regulate cannabis planned for 2012.
BONUS: Your donations, letters, tweets, and more
We already covered this in an email to our core supporters, but it never hurts to repeat how much we value their (your) time and donations. We have been deeply encouraged by the number of unsolicited letters to the editor by coalition members and people across the province. In addition to the letters, constant activity on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and support at events and through fundraising, together we have proved to policy-makers and the media that there is an energized and necessary conversation among British Columbians about alternatives to cannabis prohibition happening across the province. Your energy and enthusiasm has shown policy-makers and the media that they have an obligation to respond to these issues in a meaningful way, and we couldn’t have done it without you!
In conclusion – on behalf of the STVBC Coalition, Steering Committee, and Coordinating Team – we thank everyone for their support. We look forward to working with people across BC over the next year as we continue to advocate for cannabis policy reform to stop the violence associated with organized crime in the province.