“The war on drugs isn’t effective,” said Parksville mayor Chris Burger in light of Vancouver Island municipal politician’s support for decriminalizing marijuana.
“We had quite a debate and a fair majority voted to decriminalize it,” he reported after the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference April 13 to 15 in Uclulet.
The resolution, proposed by Metchosin, states that “whereas marijuana prohibition is a failed policy which has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs,” and decriminalization would provide tax revenue, the AVICC will “lobby the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana.”
Burger said it was the taxation issue that really caught the attention of cash strapped municipalities who would rather regulate and make money off it than spend money policing it.
The resolution was supported by 75 per cent of the 240 municipal delegates in attendance from across the Island and Sunshine Coast.
Qualicum Beach mayor Teunis Westbroek wasn’t one of them.
When asked his position on the AVICC resolution, he told The News legalizing marijuana should not be done just for the tax benefits.
“I want to see a reduction in (drug use) by all ages,” he explained. “Some people need to find different coping methods than turning to marijuana or other drugs to escape reality.”
The local politicians who did support the resolution, join a growing list calling for decriminalization including surprising figures like four former B.C. attorneys general, several Vancouver mayors, John McKay, the U.S. federal prosecutor who arrested Vancouver pot activist Marc Emery and many in academics, health care and law enforcement.
The AVICC resolution will be discussed on a provincial platform at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in September.
– with files from Steven Heywood flkgjdfskjhgl