Canadian For Israeli Pot Party


New Member
Canadian Adam Mann sees himself as an envoy for peace in the Middle East.

But that may simply be a pipe dream.

The 22-year-old University of Calgary political science student has recently been recruited by one of Israel's most unusual political parties to help gather Canadian support and know-how. This includes lobbying expertise in the last word in calming an unstable region -- pot.

He has begun work as a representative of the Green Leaf Party of Israel, whose platform is largely built on the legalization of marijuana. The anti-drug law fights, and other issues, are very similar in both countries, party members say.

"It's shocking to (Canadians)," Mann says of their reaction when he explains he's working on behalf of an Israeli pro-pot party. "They see Israel as the conflict. When they find out (there's) marijuana and there are gay people, they are surprised."

His work for the group includes linking them up with Canadian experts, on everything from environmental issues -- the main reason he signed onboard -- to decriminalization lobby efforts.

Last October, the party organized the First Israeli-Arab "Joint" Conference at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Among the sponsors was Canada's self-described "Prince of Pot" and B.C.'s controversial Marijuana Party leader, Marc Emery, who appeared via video link to deliver a message of shared brotherhood.

But words and drugs weren't enough to bridge huge gaps at the event, when organizers couldn't convince three scheduled Arab-Israeli speakers to actually light up.

While the West dwells on the hardline political front-runners during Israeli elections, the landscape is littered with unusual candidates -- from fishmongers to an angry puppeteer. But it's the Green Leaf Party, and its rebel vote among young voters, which makes headlines overseas.

A recent report by the Israel Anti-Drug Authority found about 10% of Israelis, aged 12-17, use drugs. It's renewed a national push for urine tests in schools -- something that more than 80% of Israeli adults apparently favour. The study found secular youth in the country count on cannabis, while religious teens most often use harder drugs.

The head of the Green Leaf Party believes that instead of cracking down, the country should be lighting up -- hoping Canadian activists might give them better ideas on how to finally make gains.

"Sure, the region would be more peaceful," Green Leaf's 27-year-old leader, Ohad Shem-Tov, says of life in Israel if pot was decriminalized.

His party preaches that the war on drugs is actually helping to secure a market that benefits terrorism.

"Instead of drinking wine and cocktails, (world leaders) should light up," he reasons.

Newshawk: CoZmO -
Source: cnews (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Canoe Inc.
Website: CANOE -- CNEWS - Canada
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