Vancouver Mayors Say Legalize Marijuana

Four of Vancouver's last five former mayors called last week for end of marijuana prohibition, saying anti-pot policies have failed to reduce marijuana's availability and that prohibition has fueled violence in British Columbia communities. Thursday evening, current Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson joined his predecessors, adding his voice to the call.

Free the weed, say Vancouver mayors (image courtesy the author).
In an open letter released November 23, former mayors Mike Harcourt (1980-1986), Philip Owen (1993-2002), Larry Campbell (2002-2005), and Sam Sullivan (2005-2008) called on the province's politicians to legalize and regulate pot in BC. The letter was released by Stop the Violence BC, which just last month published a report outlining the links between marijuana prohibition and organized crime and violence and calling for a regulated, public health approach to marijuana.

"Marijuana prohibition is -- without question -- a failed policy," the former mayors wrote. "It is creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities and fear among our citizens, and adding financial costs for all levels of government at a time when we can least afford them. Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer; they must develop and deliver alternative marijuana policies that avoid the social and criminal harms that stem directly from cannabis prohibition."

The ex-mayors' intervention comes as the Canadian federal government of Conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper is attempting to push through a crime bill that would, among other things, impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for growing as few as five plants. But that's not a popular position in British Columbia, where a recent Angus Reid poll had support for taxing and regulating marijuana at 69%. It is past time for elected officials to get on board the marijuana reform bandwagon, the ex-mayor's said.

"Clearly, elected officials are out of step with their public on marijuana prohibition," they wrote. "It is time that elected officials enter the debate and deliver specific proposals to address the easy availability of cannabis to youth and the organized crime concerns stemming directly from cannabis prohibition."

One elected official who has heeded that call is current Vancouver Mayor Robertson. In a tweet sent out the following evening, Robertson said, "Good to see 4 Vancouver ex-mayors calling for end of cannabis prohibition. I agree, we need to be smart and tax/regulate."

In British Columbia, at least, the wall of silence by elected officials around legalizing marijuana has been breached. Whether that will lead to BC retaking its spot in the vanguard of pot law reform worldwide remains to be seen, but it's a good start.

(Drug War Chronicle's 2003 interview with Mayor Campbell is online here.)

Vancouver, BC
Canada
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Well it's about fucking time.

Well it's about fucking time.

Well Done Vancouver! Bien Fait!

Might be time to move to Canada! It's not that Ganja is free, it's that freedom is :) THAT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN...

Fried chicken dude

Fried chicken dude

The wall of silence by pols opposed to weed remains intact

They don't want to deal with the indisputable fact that alcohol is far deadlier than marijuana. They need to have their noses rubbed in it until they stop the stonewalling and come clean. It's way past time to study alcohol vs. cannabis.

A reason why it hasn't happened.

What some people keep over looking is one of the key reasons why weed is not legal. This being that there is no way tell if someone is high. There is a way to see if someone has consumed the drug in the last month or so, but no way to tell if it is still impairing them. Driving high being the main concern. Alcohol is clearly way worse, but is legal because you can prove intoxication.

they've made some progress on this issue

Blood tests are more useful.for detecting impairment than the standard piss test (more expensive hair sample for the elites) that you mention. But settling on the right level to define as impairment is a problem. This is causing the reform community grief in Washington State, where there is a sort of legalization bill with widespread mainstream support, but one of its defects is a per se impaired driving level that many MMJ patients say will turn them back into 'criminals'. I'm not fully informed on this issue, so more knowledgeable comment is welcome. 

 I think the main reason alcohol is legal and lords it over cannabis is because of it's very widespread popularity. Pure power politics. Cannabis doesn't appear to be nearly as popular, though possibly that could change if its status and price were normalized. 

If You Can't "Tell If Someone Is High,"

If you can't "tell if someone is high," doesn't THAT tell you something?

If someone shows no signs of being a problem, maybe there really is no problem.

The 'keyest' of key reasons "weed is not legal" is because of Culture War.

Vansterdam

I'm from Vancouver. I just bought a gram of primo kush for $10 on the street. The thing I don't get is why is the street price the same as the dispensary price? Who is setting the price point between the two? I'm stumped on this issue. Anyone have an idea? Also, we have hash bars here that are tolerated by the city. You can go into one of these places and openly smoke herb. But theoretically you could be arrested for bringing it in. This seems crazy to me. Anyway, Van is the most herb friendly city in the world after Amsterdam. Check it out people!

Vansterdam

I'm from Vancouver. I just bought a gram of primo kush for $10 on the street. The thing I don't get is why is the street price the same as the dispensary price? Who is setting the price point between the two? I'm stumped on this issue. Anyone have an idea? Also, we have hash bars here that are tolerated by the city. You can go into one of these places and openly smoke herb. But theoretically you could be arrested for bringing it in. This seems crazy to me. Anyway, Van is the most herb friendly city in the world after Amsterdam. Check it out people!

Vansterdam

I'm from Vancouver. I just bought a gram of primo kush for $10 on the street. The thing I don't get is why is the street price the same as the dispensary price? Who is setting the price point between the two? I'm stumped on this issue. Anyone have an idea? Also, we have hash bars here that are tolerated by the city. You can go into one of these places and openly smoke herb. But theoretically you could be arrested for bringing it in. This seems crazy to me. Anyway, Van is the most herb friendly city in the world after Amsterdam.

Legalize 'marijuana'?

Legalize Cannabis, is the educated statement! Remember this, to put an end to prohibition We must first get educated. We distance ourselves from prohibitionists by our education. Only prohibitionists, uneducated and the ignorant use the Spanish American colloquialism 'marijuana' (translated Marry Jane) in their speech, writings and public announcements. The Mexican slang name has been used by uneducated and ignorant prohibitionists for over 120 years. The Botanical correct name is over 300 years old. Give this wondrous plant the respect it deserves and let you're education separate you.  

Then the fools make a public statement that 'legalizing marijuana' will curb 'gang violence'. Did these "dumb-asses" do any research? If so let's see the research! I dare then to show us the research paper. It's the same "crew" that wrote the 'Four Pillars' paper for Vancouver. Four pillars? Not one of these "dumb-asses" know a thing about construction. Four pillars does not constitute a structure. To complete a structure it needs a cover, not just 4 pillars! Here We go again, a bunch of "has been blow hards" with nothing to do working with the uneducated making bold faced stupid statements in the press.

Get educated for your own good.

drdelta9

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