The call for legalization of marijuana in B.C. is getting louder and is coming from people who carry significant weight in their communities.
Last week eight B.C. mayors, including Robert Sawatzky of Vernon, Chris Pieper of Armstrong and Howie Cyr of Enderby, released a letter they all signed calling on Victoria to tax and regulate the drug as a way of helping stop gang violence in this province and help make communities safer.
The mayors’ call comes on the heels of similar demands in recent months by four former Vancouver mayors and four former B.C. attorneys general.
Unlike some who staunchly hold on to the view that lumps marijuana into the same category as heroin and cocaine and considers it just as worthy of a legal ban, the latest group of mayors to speak out have come to the realization that the pot prohibition is helping feed B.C.’s growing culture of crime.
In their letter, they say the current prohibition has lead to large-scale grow ops, increased organized crime, ongoing gang violence and the need for increased police budgets to deal with the problems. There are also significant safety issues to health and the environment posed by illegal drug grows.
Salmon Arm and the surrounding area is not immune. In speaking with the RCMP, much of the crime in this area can be attributed to the drug and, more often than not, the marijuana trade. It seems pretty clear the pot portion of the “war on drugs” has been lost.
So, we’d like to see more mayors join the call to tax and regulate marijuana use, as with alcohol. Hello, Mayor Nancy Cooper?
-With files from Kelowna Capital News