City protesters join nationwide rally against proposed law



robin kuniski/for metro calgary


Calgary 420 Cannabis Community held a National Day of Action in front of Steven Harper’s constituency office in Glenmore Landing yesterday. The small group was part of a national protest against Bill C-26, which slaps mandatory minimum jail time for cannabis-related offences.

"It’s crazy to make someone spend nine months in jail for using marijuana."

“Legalize, Regulate and Educate,” was the message protesters were trying to send to politicians yesterday during a pro-marijuana rally in front of Stephen Harper’s constituency office.

Protesters of Bill C26, the Conservative Party’s proposal to instil mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences, took their defiance against the proposal to 308 constituency offices across the country yesterday during the National Day of Protest.

Keith Fagin of the protest group Calgary 420 was outside of Harper’s office in protest of the bill that would set the minimum jail sentence for cannabis offences at nine months.

“We’re here to get the politicians to vote ‘No’ against the bill. It’s just going to cost taxpayers more money to put ordinary people in jail. It’s crazy to make someone spend nine months in jail for using marijuana,” Fagin said, adding that a lot of people need the drug for medicinal purposes.

“What they should be doing is ending prohibition and then there would be less crime. Tax it and legalize it and use the money towards health care.”

Fagin was part of a group of about 10 people who marched with signs.

Lyle Strand, 53, was also on hand to rally for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use with his 41-year-old wife Sandi who is legally blind and has severe diabetes. She also suffers severe migraines and has used pot to ease the pain.

“It’s terrifying to think if I am thrown in jail for nine months for using marijuana. It is difficult enough to deal with diabetes out here I can’t imagine if I was put in jail,” she said.

“I have explored so many options but they have bad side effects. This is what helps me deal with the pain. It doesn’t make it go away but it makes me able to deal with it. It keeps me functioning.”

Bill C26 was introduced by federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on Nov. 20. The bill seeks amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.