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'Absolutely ridiculous': Richmond councillor denies pharma ties

A petition is asking Coun. Kash Heed to clarify his 'employment status' with a pharmaceutical company
Coun. Kash Heed said he has received emails threatening himself and his family from people opposing a supervised consumption site in Richmond. City council meeting screenshot

A petition to demand public clarification about Coun. Kash Heed’s role with a pharmaceutical company and whether it conflicts with his duties as a councillor has gathered more than 8,000 names.

Heed denied having any current links with the company and said the petition is part of the attempts to harm his reputation and silence him, from people who are upset with his motion to explore a safe drug consumption site in Richmond.

Richmond city council voted 7-2 Tuesday night to move forward with the motion proposed by Heed and Coun. Laura Gillanders after two nights of heated discussion, with around 100 residents voicing their opinion.

However, Vancouver Coastal Health said after that it “will not be moving forward with a stand-alone supervised consumption site” in Richmond but will work with the city to look at other overdose prevention services.

“We, the undersigned residents of Richmond, BC, are writing to express our concern and to demand immediate public clarification regarding the employment status of Councillor Kash Heed with Lucy Scientific Discovery Inc….as well as his advocacy for establishing a safe drug consumption site in our community,” wrote an anonymous petition starter.

According to a press release published by Lucy, an early-stage psychedelics manufacturing company, in March 2023, Heed joined the company as a special advisor to “help the company successfully navigate Canada’s rapidly evolving drug policy landscape and growing budget focused on mental health and safe-supply programs.”

Heed: ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous’

Heed said he already clarified at this week’s council meetings that he is no longer employed by Lucy Scientific Discovery and his previous position with the company had nothing to do with his proposal to explore a supervised consumption site in Richmond for those at risk.

“It's absolutely ridiculous, misleading, and I have clarified it twice in council [meetings] but these people just don't want to believe it. They are… trying to cause as much harm to my reputation as possible,” said Heed.

In a letter from Lucy’s CEO that Heed provided to the Richmond News, the consulting contract between the company and Heed was terminated on Nov. 16, 2023. Heed said the company is no longer operating in Canada.

“And furthermore, they had absolutely nothing to do with this motion, or any other issue related to it,” said Heed, adding that he has been active as a consultant worldwide on drug policy and other law enforcement issues facing societies for 11 years.

Heed claimed this petition is among other attempts he has encountered recently from opponents of the supervised consumption site to silence and intimidate him.

He said he was yelled down at during council meetings and received emails threatening himself and his family and accusing him of being "racist."

“You can understand there is going to be opposition, [but] this time, it’s disrespectful, controlled opposition,” said the long-time police officer and former minister of public safety and solicitor general.

“That is not what Richmond is. That is not what a society should be. We need to be a pluralistic society in Richmond. We should not divide issues based along ethnic and racial lines.”

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said he has not seen the petition so he is not able to comment at this point.

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