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.