Health officers back marijuana legalization in B.C.
Public-health physicians have added their voice to calls to end marijuana prohibition.
The Health Officers’ Council of B.C. is endorsing a regulatory approach to cannabis control that is similar to the way government deals with tobacco and alcohol.
The association includes medical health officers in B.C. and Yukon like Dr. John Carsley of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. According to Carsley, the group agrees with the analysis of the Stop the Violence B.C., a coalition of experts calling for alternative marijuana policies.
“We think that we have to look at other mechanisms to control its use,” Carsley told the Straight in a phone interview. “It certainly doesn’t make any sense that, for teenagers, cannabis is more easily available than alcohol. The position of Stop the Violence is congruent with our analysis about psychoactive drugs. And we support a regulatory approach based on public health principles that recognizes that people will use psychoactive substances, that blanket prohibition is not always the best solution, to making sure that the least amount of harm is done to people when they use psychoactive substances.”
Last month, four former mayors of Vancouver—Sam Sullivan, Larry Campbell, Philip Owen, and Mike Harcourt—released an open letter urging elected federal, provincial, and municipal officials to re-examine current policy on marijuana.
Stop the Violence B.C. released Thursday (December 22) its second report in a series evaluating the effectiveness of the law-enforcement approach against marijuana in Canada and in the U.S.
The report concludes that despite enormous increases in funding to combat marijuana, there hasn’t been a corresponding decrease in the rates of cannabis use and potency in North America. Marijuana remains readily available, and its price has even gone down over the years.
“In addition to not achieving its objectives, the prohibition of cannabis has created a lucrative opportunity for organized crime that in turn fuels other criminal activity and gang violence,” the report states.