Although Courtenay mayoral candidate Bob Wells was not aware of Vancouver Island cannabis businessman Kyle Cheyne’s plans to publicly endorse him, the endorsement itself – which came out Wednesday – comes as no surprise.
Wells is candidly “pro-pot” – despite never having smoked it.
When Wells was 15, his lungs collapsed. Because of that, Wells said he never has, and never will smoke pot. But he appreciates its benefits.
“It’s not like I’m against it – my body just can’t handle any kind of smoke,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I look at this [cannabis legalization] as something that has been recommended, not just by our BC Medical Health Officer, but by police organizations as well. We look to places like Washington and Colorado, that there’s actually a benefit. Now these things are regulated, so cannabis products are safer, there’s tax revenues because of it, and people can feel safe. It’s win-win-win.”
Cheyne, the founder of Leaf Compassion & Terp City Canna Lounge, and owner of the outlet on Fourth Street, in Courtenay, posted a “Vote for Cannabis friendly candidates October 20th” message online, announcing his endorsement of four Vancouver Island mayoral candidates.
In addition to Wells, Cheyne has endorsed Michael Geoghegan in Victoria, Mayco Noel, who is running in Ucluelet, and Al Siebring, in North Cowichan.
Wells said he was not interviewed by Cheyne prior to the endorsement, nor was he approached by Cheyne for approval of endorsement.
“The last time I spoke with him was last year, when his [Courtenay] store was open, and my recommendation to him was to close his store and wait until there was a regulatory framework in place, for him to go through the application process,” said Wells. “At that point he closed his store, and I haven’t heard from him since, up until I heard about this endorsement.”
When asked about the endorsement itself, Wells has no problem with it.
“To be fair, I haven’t done any research to find out whether or not he has been involved in any other issues, where he is contravening bylaws and stuff like that, but as far as I know, locally, he has adhered to that. As long as he is following bylaws and the laws of our province and our country, I don’t have any issues with it. He contravened [in Courtenay], he was told to stop, he stopped.”
Wells recently visited Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and discussed the framework in place in the capital city.
“We talked about their studies about criminal activities around dispensaries, and the criminal activity around dispensaries [in Victoria] actually went down, because they know they are under scrutiny,” he said.
“I do see this is a win for our community, where we are looking at making … a social good out of it,” Wells said, of the legalization of cannabis. “I see it the same as casinos and cigarette smoking, where if it’s regulated properly and taxed properly, even though it’s something that some people might disagree with, it benefits the community.”
It appears many in the community agree with Wells’s sentiments.
He said he has had several calls and emails of support since the news broke of Cheyne’s endorsement. He also hopes this announcement gets more people to the polls, regardless of who they support.
“If this helps engage people that would not normally vote than that is good for democracy.”
|A screen shot of an email of support sent to Bob Wells on Oct. 17|