GUEST SPEAKERS AND WORKSHOP LEADERS
MARC EMERY - CANADA'S "PRINCE OF POT"
Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis advocate, politician, and media publisher who has become one of the world's most recognized activist figures. He served a five-year sentence in US federal prison for selling mail order cannabis seeds to Americans. He owns and operates Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot-TV, the BC Marijuana Party, and Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters (previously the BCMP Bookstore, and HEMP BC before that.)
Marc's marijuana campaign began in 1994 with the opening of Hemp BC in Vancouver, with the goal of funding anti-prohibition and pro-marijuana organizations through the sale of banned paraphernalia, grow books and other cannabis culture items. The store soon included "Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds" and Marc was able to donate over $4 million to the marijuana movement between 1994-2005.
Marc always paid all provincial and federal taxes on his income and made no secret to anyone of his seed-selling business. In 2005 he was arrested in Canada by DEA agents, and extradited to the USA in 2010 to face a five-year sentence. He returned to Canada in August and is continuing his crusade for legalization.
DANA LARSEN - SENSIBLE BC FOUNDER
(Host & Cannabis History talk)
Dana Larsen has been working for cannabis reform for over 25 years. He served as ten years as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and helped found the Canadian Marijuana Party and BC Marijuana Party. In 2003, Dana joined the NDP and founded "End Prohibition- NDP Against the Drug War." Dana was a federal NDP candidate in 2008, and ran for the leadership of the BC NDP in 2011.
In 2005, Dana co-founded the Vancouver Seed Bank, and in 2008 he founded the Vancouver Dispensary Society. In 2012 he launched the Sensible BC campaign for a marijuana referendum, which has grown into Canada's largest cannabis reform organization. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.
MASON TVERT - HE LEGALIZED IT IN COLORADO
(Guest Speaker & Workshop on Campaign tactics)
Mason Tvert was co-director of the successful campaign to legalize marijuana in Colorado. In January 2013, the Denver Post named him the state's "Top Thinker" in the area of politics and government. He is currently director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, where he oversees lobbying, ballot initiatives, and public education campaigns.
Mason co-founded and directed Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), a Colorado-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. Mason has also worked with students to pass marijuana policy reform referendums at more than a dozen major colleges and universities around the USA.
TONIA WINCHESTER - OUTREACH DIRECTOR FOR NEW APPROACH WASHINGTON
(Guest Speaker & Workshop on Coalition Building)
Tonia was a prosecutor for the City of Seattle and City of Wenatchee who worked as outreach director for the successful "New Approach Washington" campaign which successfully legalized marijuana in Washington State. Her role included forging alliances and getting endorsements from many groups traditionally seen as hostile to marijuana reform.
She has also been involved in medical marijuana projects, including leading the initial operational team that established and managed the Tilray medical marijuana production facility in Nanaimo, BC. Tonia is currently a Director of Privateer Holdings, a Seattle venture capital firm which acquires businesses in the cannabis industry.
REBECCA AMBROSE - Cannabis Basics Workshop
Rebecca Ambrose is a longtime Vancouver activist and businesswoman, owner of the Vancouver Seed Bank. She was a founding member of "End Prohibition, NDP Against the Drug War" in 2005, and co-founded the Vancouver Seed Bank in 2006. She is a regular donor to activist change and a vital part of Vancouver's cannabis culture scene. She has extensive experience dealing with cannabis seeds and strains. In 2010 Skunk Magazine named her one of the world's "Top 100 Most Influential Women in Cannabis."
SVEN BIGGS – Nation Builder Workshop
Sven has more than a decade of community, political and online organizing experience. As Campaign Organizer for ForestEthics Advocacy he plays a leading role in the organization’s work to build community opposition to pipeline and tanker proposals, and to work towards a tar sands free future. Before joining ForestEthics he worked as Campaign Director at Tanker Free BC and as the Wilderness Committee’s Director of Outreach.
Born and raised in London, Ontario, Sven came west in late 1999 and quickly fell in love with British Columbia’s big trees and wild coast lines. Outside of his work for non-profits Sven has been involved on many political campaigns most recently as database manager for George Heyman's Vancouver Fairview campaign.
DORI DEMPSTER - Dispensary Management Workshop
Dori Dempster is a founding Director and Manager of the Vancouver Dispensary Society. Opening in 2008, The Dispensary was highly influential in developing Vancouver's medical cannabis scene. Dori has served as Manager for six years, overseeing the Dispensary's growth into one of the city's largest medical marijuana providers, serving over 6000 members from two locations and across Canada by mail-order.
Dori is a BC native with three sons. She is a passionate advocate for the medical benefits of cannabis and has spent many hours counselling others on how to open their own dispensaries.
DAVID MALMO-LEVINE - Herb Museum Tours
David Malmo-Levine is a renowned Vancouver activist, author and historian. David has fearlessly fought Canada's cannabis laws for years, openly operating a variety of marijuana outlets in Vancouver and Burnaby, including "The Harm Reduction Club" and "The Dutch Embassy Marijuana Flower and Herbal Tearoom" in 1996, and "The Herb School" from 2004-08. He served three months for trafficking after the Herb School was raided.
David is the author of dozens of articles about cannabis culture and history, is the author of Potshot Zine, and has personally given away thousands of joints at many rallies and protests over the years. David represented himself in the Supreme Court in 2003, fighting to have cannabis prohibition repealed. The Herb Museum is Canada's largest collection of cannabis and drug culture artifacts.
TAMMY LEA MEYER – Communications Workshop
Tammy Lea Meyer is passionate about hope and change, community engagement and democracy, new ways of approaching media, and the empowerment of the collective.
From knocking on over 70,000 doors for the Wilderness Committee, Tammy learned the importance of connecting with our communities through one on one conversations.
Her hope is that we can use our voices to empower ourselves, and find creative ways to culture jam our way to a better world.
ANDREW RADZIK – Canvassing Training Workshop
Andrew Radzik is the former Outreach Director for the Wilderness Committee, the former Director of Organizing for Vision Vancouver, and was the voter contact organizer for George Heyman's successful 2013 campaign in Vancouver-Fairview.
Andrew believes that an informed and active citizenry are vital for the health of a democracy, and aims to give the public information and tools to make their voice heard as effectively as possible.
His hobbies include karaoke, not getting enough sleep, and contemplating his eventual baldness.
BRIAN G. RICE - Campaign Management Workshop
Brian G. Rice was the President of the Liberal Party of Canada in BC. He joined the Liberal Party of Canada in early 2009, and became the President of the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission riding association shortly thereafter. Brian was elected Chair of the BC Federal Liberal Council in the fall of 2009, and served in that role until his election to LPCBC VP in late 2011. He became President of the LPCBC in early 2012. Most recently, Brian ran for President of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Brian regularly travels the country to speak at Liberal conventions and AGMs and to provide training. Brian has successfully used his background in project management, team coaching and software development to help further the interests of the Party.
NICK WHITEHEAD – Volunteer Engagement Workshop
Hailing from Ottawa, Nick brings a strong grounding in public policy to his work at Sensible BC. Starting as a volunteer and quickly transitioning to Office Manager and Provincial Organizer, Nick has helped train more volunteers than he can count. In his time at the helm, Nick has helped to grow Sensible BC from a few hundred volunteers to over ten thousand. What keeps him going are the number of people that are willing to step up to do whatever they can with whatever they’ve got because they want to see change. When Nick isn’t working tirelessly to bring about marijuana reform, you can find him snowboarding, canoeing, or elsewhere in the great outdoors.