Sensible Vancouver candidate uses weed to win votes

Known cannabis advocate Mary Jean "Watermelon" Dunsdon doesn't just want to be known as a single-issue candidate


Reported by Trevor Nault

She has a broad platform. Yet Vancouver City Council hopeful Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon has narrowed in on one main strategy to lure voters and supporters: cannabis.

Her platform includes free public transit, affordable housing, harm reduction and the easing of rules surrounding cannabis dispensaries. But what drew in the crowds to her Oct. 2 rally in East Vancouver was the free joints and edibles, glowing hula hoops and burlesque dancers, with smoking paraphernalia available at several tables.

“You have to rally the troops, but you also have to entertain those troops,” Dunsdon, a well-known marijuana advocate, said of the night’s festivities at Wise Hall & Lounge.

Throughout her campaign, Dunsdon has taken aim at Vancouver’s “no fun city” image, driving around in her pink and green tour bus, painted like a watermelon.

“Cannabis definitely inspired this group to get together,” said the Sensible Vancouver candidate, who acknowledges she’s in bed with the cannabis industry, though denies her party is running a single-issue campaign.

Not just about weed
Campaign manager and cannabis activist Dana Larsen at the Oct. 2 campaign rally. Photo by Trevor Nault

“We talk a lot about cannabis,” said campaign manager Dana Larsen. “But we’ve also got a pretty broad platform.”

Larsen, a cannabis activist and founding director of the Vancouver Dispensary Network, said the Oct. 14 byelection is a huge opportunity.

“No one else is talking about cannabis dispensaries and how to deal with them, and really, the many benefits they’re bringing into Vancouver,” he said.

Tristan Risk, a supporter who attended the rally, said Dunsdon’s platform has a lot to offer.

“She’s running under the Sensible BC campaign, and while their platform is largely cannabis, sensible relates to all things sensible,” she said, pointing to the campaign’s solutions for the housing and opioid crises.

A Vancouver City Council byelection was triggered in July when Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs gave up his seat to become Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff.

Check out a web exclusive video of the Oct 2. campaign rally. 

1 Comment
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