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British Columbia Mayors Join Increasing Calls to Legalize Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #732)
Consequences of Prohibition

The mayors of eight British Columbia cities have added their voices to the growing chorus of prominent figures calling on the provincial government to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. In a joint letter last Thursday to provincial elected officials, the mayors said it was time to "tax and strictly regulate marijuana under a public health framework."

The letter was signed by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, as well as the mayors of suburban Burnaby and North Vancouver and the mayors of the interior communities of Armstrong, Enderby, Lake County, Metchosin, and Vernon.

The letter was posted on the web site of Stop the Violence BC, a coalition of public health officials, academics, legal experts, and law enforcement officials. The group has been calling for the development of and implementation of marijuana laws that reduce social harms, such as crime and gang violence.

Despite "an endless stream of anti-marijuana law enforcement initiatives," the herb remains easily available to young people, the mayors said. "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 mayors are only the latest British Columbia public figures to climb on board the legalization bandwagon. In November, four former Vancouver mayors endorsed the Stop the Violence BC campaign to end pot prohibition. In December, the Health Officers Council of BC urged legalization, and in February, four former BC attorneys-general joined the call.

None of this is surprising in a province where 66% of the population supports marijuana legalization, according to an Angus Reid poll cited by the mayors. But it runs directly counter to the direction of the Conservative federal government, which not only opposes legalization, but recently passed crime legislation that for the first time imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences for some drug offenses, including the cultivation of as few as six marijuana plants.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymoos (not verified)

I'm glad that the Mayors are starting to realize that maybe prohibition isn't going to work. This is a good step in the right direction and I hope this does not fall on deaf ears.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 9:41pm Permalink
Anonymous2435r43532 (not verified)

Only reason why it isnt legal is because of America. If marijuana was legal in Canada, BC would become the richest province over night and America would have an increasingly difficult time trying to stop all that legal weed from finding its way across the boarder.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 10:10pm Permalink
PatrickPatrick (not verified)

It's a shame the Conservative gov't is more concerned with personal agendas than with what the majority want, and not to mention what is best for the country.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 10:26pm Permalink
Anon (not verified)

What a gong show. The provincial government has no power whatsoever with regards to narcotics regulation.

Nothing more then opportunist politicians (Robertson, Corrigan, et al) going around pretend they give a damn or have any influence at all with senior governments they antagonize time after time.

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 10:57pm Permalink

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