B.C. Liberal leadership hopeful Todd Stone proposes overdose committee and dedicated cannabis revenue

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      A frontrunner for leadership of the B.C. Liberal party wants the provincial government to convene a special committee on the overdose crisis, which this year is on track to take more than 1,400 lives.

      “We need to park politics and ideology at the door when it comes to tackling the addiction crisis that continues to devastate far too many British Columbia families,” said Todd Stone quoted in a media release. “This committee would be completely non-partisan and focused entirely on identifying a range of possible solutions to this epidemic.”

      The MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson explains there that he wants a “special committee of the legislature to investigate the issue, hear from global experts, and propose solutions to save lives”.

      “The committee would convene across the province and have the authority to bring global experts to British Columbia as well as consulting with experts in B.C. and would not be constrained by any current addiction care model,” the release continues. “As part of remaining non-partisan, the committee would report directly to the legislature.”

      Stone also suggests the B.C. government separate tax revenue collected from recreational-marijuana sales after the drug us legalized later this year.

      The release states he’s in favour of “segregating revenues stemming from the federal decision to legalize marijuana as of July 1st and dedicating those towards action on addiction, recovery and law enforcement.”

      Stone says money raised from marijuana sales should go towards expanding recovery and harm-reduction programs, fund addictions research, and be used to bolster law enforcement efforts to keep drugs away from minors.

      Stone was previously the province’s minister of transportation and infrastructure and is the founder of a software company.

      He’s competing for leadership of the B.C. Liberals against Dianne Watts, former Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock; Mike Bernier, Liberal MLA for Peace River South; and Michael Lee, Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Langara, among others.