Sooke joined most of the communities from across Vancouver Island in supporting a motion to decriminalize marijuana.
Decriminalization is not legalization stressed Mayor Wendal Milne.
Milne was an RCMP officer for 26 years and was on the drug squad during that time.
“The supposed war on drugs has been going on for 30 years,” said Milne. “And we’re no further ahead.”
He said that decriminalization of marijuana is not enforced evenly across the boards, there is no consistency and it hasn’t worked. Milne thinks marijuana should be decriminalized and treated the same as liquor. He said many young people are given criminal records because they may have experimented once or been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He also stated that this would be a way to control medical marijuana grow ops, because right now, “it’s not working the way it’s working.”
The subject of decriminalization of marijuana has been filtering through all three levels of government. The motion to decriminalize marijuana was brought forward by Councillor Moralea Milne, from the municipality of Metchosin. About 75 per cent of the delegates to the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) supported the motion. AVICC is made up of 51 member municipalities and regional districts on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River and the Central Coast. There were 240 delegates at the convention held in Ucluelet in April.
The AVICC endorsement will send the resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities conference taking place in Victoria in September.
The resolution brought forward by Metchosin reads: WHEREAS marijuana prohibition is a failed policy which has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs;
AND WHEREAS the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana would provide tax revenues:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the Union of BC Municipalities lobby the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana.
Four former B.C. attorneys generals, Colin Gabelmann, Ujjal Dosanjh, Graeme Bowbrick and Geoff Plant, joined a coalition of health and justice experts call for legalization of marijuana in February of this year. They cited several reasons including; the gang violence and huge profits inherent in the illegal marijuana trade, the potential of a raise in tax revenues, easy access to illegal marijuana by youth, and the easing of the burden on the court system for minor marijuana infractions.
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper admitted that the war on drugs “is not working.”
In a Toronto-based poll carried out in January showed that 66 per cent of Canadians (B.C. 73 per cent) are in favour of legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.