Legalize marijuana, eight B.C. mayors tell government – The Province

Posted on: April 27th, 2012 by admin No Comments

The call to end marijuana prohibition is now being made by a coalition of B.C. mayors.

In a letter Thursday addressed to provincial political leaders, eight mayors representing municipalities across B.C. cited gang violence, ongoing risks to the community and soaring policing costs resulting from the illegal marijuana trade.

They urged provincial politicians to support the regulation and taxation of cannabis.

“We see the detrimental effects of marijuana prohibition in our communities on a daily basis,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan in a news release.

“Huge profits for organized crime and widespread gang violence in our cities are the result of this failed policy.”

In the letter, the mayors point to an Angus Reid poll showing a vast majority (66 per cent) of constituents support the taxation and regulation of pot, while only 12 per cent support the current approach.

“We stand together as B.C. mayors because we think our communities will be safer and our children better protected from criminal elements if we overturn marijuana prohibition,” City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto said Thursday.

The mayors also endorsed the Stop the Violence B.C. (STVBC) campaign in their letter.

STVBC is a coalition of academic, legal, law-enforcement and health experts campaigning to reform cannabis law.

The founder of STVBC, Dr. Evan Wood, notes a growing movement among municipal politicians to overturn cannabis prohibition.

At the recent annual conference for the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, 75 per cent of the 240 delegates supported a resolution that calls on Ottawa to change its marijuana laws.

And in late 2011, four former Vancouver mayors — Larry Campbell, Mike Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen — made a similar call for pot decriminalization.

In February, four former attorneys-general added their voices to the mix, saying “the case demonstrating the failure and harms of marijuana prohibition is airtight.”

mraptis@theprovince.com

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