File photo from a marijuana grow-op.

Eight mayors echo call for marijuana reform

Surrey's Dianne Watts won't join coalition pushing pot legalization

Eight B.C. mayors have joined a coordinated campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana to combat gang violence and other drug-related crime.

Three of the mayors are from the Lower Mainland – Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson, Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan and North Vancouver City’s Darrell Mussatto – while the other cities represented are Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby, Lake Country and the District of Metchosin.

“It is time to tax and strictly regulate marijuana under a public health framework,” the mayors said in a letter distributed Thursday by the Stop The Violence BC campaign.

“Regulating marijuana would allow the government to rationally address the health concerns of marijuana, raise government tax revenue and eliminate the huge profits from the marijuana industry that flow directly to organized crime.”

The letter was addressed to Premier Christy Clark, NDP leader Adrian Dix and BC Conservative leader John Cummins.

It notes pot is more readily available to youth than tobacco, while smoking rates have been cut through public health regulation, not prohibition.

The mayors also express concern that their cities will face higher policing costs due to “inflexible” federal policies like mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences.

A spokesperson for Stop The Violence BC said mayors of other cities may be considering taking a stand on the issue, but was unable to provide specifics.

“I don’t think it necessarily reflects a lack of support,” Evan Wood said.

Several city councils have also passed supportive motions.

But Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said she won’t be endorsing marijuana reform.

“The drug dealers are targeting our kids and we are a city with the most kids in the province,” Watts said. “So for me, it’s not a road I want to walk down.”

She said the debate over decriminalization is a matter of federal jurisdiction.

Watts also said marijuana reform wouldn’t stop the underground market in other drugs.

“I don’t think people are willing to go down the road of legalizing every single drug, including synthetic drugs. That would be absurd.”

The Stop the Violence BC coalition has previously released endorsements from various academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts.

B.C.’s chief medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall was one of the latest to endorse a health-based approach to marijuana policy.

In February, four former B.C. attorneys-general also backed pot legalization.

Premier Clark has deferred the issue of marijuana policy reform to the federal government.

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Safe water should trump traffic plan

Emergency Malahat route through Sooke watershed a non-starter

VicPD honours seven citizens for their courage and dedication

Civic Service Awards presented at ceremony in Hall of Honour

Savory School music room addition a hit

School’s PAC praises Legion’s generosity

‘It’s just hair:’ Central Saanich woman chops her locks for Wigs for Kids

Wigs for Kids BC will receive two 12-inch braids from Brentwood Bay resident Liza Glynn

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

VIDEO: Mattress fire at Cowichan Hospital under investigation

The Cowichan District Hospital was locked down on Tuesday afternoon due to… Continue reading

Most Read