Eight B.C. mayors sign letter in support of marijuana legalization

Eight B.C. mayors including Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson have issued a letter urging provincial political leaders to support the regulation and taxation of marijuana.

In a letter released today by Stop the Violence B.C., the mayors expressed their support for the coalition’s campaign to overturn marijuana prohibition in an effort to reduce crime.

“We see a seemingly endless stream of anti-marijuana law enforcement initiatives in our communities, yet marijuana remains widely and easily available to our youth,” the letter reads.

“Based on the evidence before us, we know that laws that aim to control the marijuana industry are ineffective and, like alcohol prohibition in the US in the 1920s, have led to violent unintended consequences.”

The letter, addressed to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix and Conservative Leader John Cummins, is also signed by Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan, North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto, Lake Country mayor James Baker, Armstrong mayor Chris Pieper, Metchosin mayor John Ranns, Enderby mayor Howie Cyr, and Vernon mayor Robert Sawatzky.

“It is time to tax and strictly regulate marijuana under a public health framework; regulating marijuana would allow the government to rationally address the health concerns of marijuana, raise government tax revenue and eliminate the huge profits from the marijuana industry that flow directly to organized crime,” the mayors wrote.

The eight mayors say they will be recommending that the Union of B.C. Municipalities support a motion in favour of taxation and regulation of marijuana.

“We also encourage politicians to speak their conscience, even if their views go beyond the silence coming from the political parties themselves,” they wrote.

The letter comes as Vancouver city council is set to discuss a motion to endorse the Stop the Violence B.C campaign next week.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Robertson said in a news release. “Widespread access to marijuana for our youth, grow-ops that provide funds for organized crime, and significant costs to taxpayers for enforcement are all compelling reasons to re-examine our failed approach to prohibition.”

Council will vote on the motion next Tuesday (May 1).

Similar motions were recently passed by other B.C. municipalities, including North Vancouver.

Stop the Violence B.C. is a coalition of law enforcement officials, legal experts, public health officials and academic experts from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and the University of Northern B.C.

Comments (15) Add New Comment
Mike Robinson
So many people agree with the principle of legalizing marijuana including most police chiefs and officers in the country. Let's stop subsidizing the product for organized crime to profit from and base our laws on science and fact rather than twisted moralities that figure they know what is best for others. If you want harm reduction, look to alcohol and its insidious effects.
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john smith
Unfortunately, the twisted moralists are in charge of the country. How the he** did that happen?
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full throttle
Good idea, all engineers, nurses and doctors should be stoned all the time and not just burned out mayors who are pandering to the 10% of the idiots in this world.

That way, when a bridge falls down or someone dies of the wrong medication, we can all shrug it off. Do what you were voted in to do fuck ups: run your city and keep taxes in line.
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exxorcist
@full throttle Engineers, nurses and doctors are already getting stoned. There's evidence in Portugal and the Netherlands to say that decriminalization of marijuana doesn't lead to increased use.
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Plum Duff
Possibly the most idiotic comment on the subject, of all time.

Good job.
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Krystalblue
Jesum Crow, full throttle! What makes you think your surgeon (or anyone who's part of the surgical team) performing a procedure on you hasn't had a 3-martini lunch, or breakfast for that matter?! Just because legalization is being suggested doesn't mean everyone is going to go out and be stoned all the time, everywhere if it is!
Legal or not, people can wander thru' life clean & sober...or not so much. But the idea of eliminating the prohibition-style times we currently live in as far as marijuana (or all illicit drugs) goes, could mean eliminating the targeted-hits lifestyles reminiscent of Al Capone, Babyface Nelson and all the trendy gang-related violence that accessorizes that way of being. That's the point, which you seem to have missed.
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full throttle
exxocist and plum dumb, don't be stupid, stupids. Shit, when you make a rational comment in a rag like the Georgia Straight, you don't expect it go over well.

If there are fucked up engineers, doctors or nurses, who can't handle the stress and have to use drugs to cope they should get the fuck out of their professions and join the ranks of the fucked up idiots like you. Fuck off, idiots.
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full throttle
PS, I hate yellow ties, especially on a politician.
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Lorraine Copland
As I look out my office window in The Hague I see all the buildings are standing, the bridges are handling a constant flow of traffic, not a single coworker around me is stoned and, what's more, when I go to the doctor's, I get the treatment I need. The main problem here in the Netherlands is drug tourism, foreigners who do not yet know how to handle this sort of freedom.
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Jim Van Rassel
Cuz your broke, you have no regard for our money like Ms Oda, and you have successfully sucked the tax-payer dry, and are disparately looking for a new revenue stream.
Jim Van Rassel
Coquitlam BC
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NoLeftNutter
More nuttiness from the pro-stoners. Jody Emery recently stated on the radio that pot currently sells on the street for about $200 an ounce, so I have 3 questions for the pro legalization, taxation and regulation crowd. Where do you get your pot from now? Would you be willing to pay $600-$800 per ounce to buy legal pot? If not, why not?
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james green
This alone is of no value. There needs to be a major drug, crime and gang strategy coupled with a decriminaliztion program and then we can proceed in a 4 pillars like fashion. Once again these mayors need to take a wholelistic approach to drugs. A one level approach will not stop anything especially the violence.
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johnn
"Would you be willing to pay $600-$800 per ounce to buy legal pot? If not, why not?"

NO DUMBASS because when you legalize pot it will make it CHEAPER, not more expensive. I swear all you right wing nuts are about as DUMB as they can get.
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mutatto
couple points I'd like to address:
x certain jobs i.e. Doctors, Truckies etc. should not be allowed to smoke pot on lunch breaks just as they are not allowed to drink booze.
x I hate the skunk odour. I can imagine that others may like it, and that pot smokers while smoking certainly don't care. However the odour can be very strong and annoying. Wonder how that's gonna work out when people puff on their condo balconeys in densely urban hoods - that must be annoying for neighbours (some)
that's pretty much it. Other than that I am of the opinion that the Vancouver Mayor is a populist who's not really doing his job. The guy should carefully handle the money of mostly landlords he gets . He should be punished if he wastes the money. His biz should be to protect landlords against wasteful spending and keep run a tight ship. No Taxation without representation, and freeloaders should basicly shut up.
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Think about it
Who cares which way this subject goes? It's easy as heck to get marijuana in Vancouver. On top of that, most police don't get too choked about seeing some reefer. Bottom line is that your average stoner or occasional pot-smoker is not going to notice much of a change beyond where they go to buy chronic.

Try to think about these points a bit:

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BC's currently illegal marijuana industry produces over 2 BILLION dollars in revenue every year. That's a lot of money that could be put back into the province.

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There are anti-smoking laws which would apply to marijuana as well as cigarettes, preventing people from affecting others with their smoke in "reasonable ways". As it is currently, you cannot smoke a cigarette within 6 meters of any door, window, or air intake/outtake.

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Similar laws to alcohol laws would likely be put in place (eg: no toking and driving, no toking in a public place, no selling to underage minors, etc). So the practices of preventing "problems" from marijuana would be downsized. (Besides, kids can get substances if they try hard enough. Where there's a will, there's a way)

4)
Like alcohol, or any other substance legal or otherwise, people do not always do important things while under the influence of anything, legal or otherwise (eg: surgery, engineering, construction, etc.)

5)
Look up "responsible drug use" there's plenty of info out there on that subject

6)
At least briefly research both sides of the argument before you make a decision.
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