Vision Vancouver Pushes Decriminalized Pot

Vision Coun. Kerry Jang’s house was mistakenly targeted by criminals searching for a marijuana grow-op. (Photo by Dan Toulgoet)Vision Coun. Kerry Jang’s house was mistakenly targeted by criminals searching for a marijuana grow-op. (Photo by Dan Toulgoet)City hall’s ruling party, Vision Vancouver, will make it abundantly clear at next Tuesday’s council meeting that it wants marijuana to be decriminalized in Canada.

Mayor Gregor Robertson is already on record as calling for marijuana to be regulated and taxed as a strategy to combat organized crime and improve public health and safety.

But with the passing of a formal motion to be introduced by Vision Coun. Kerry Jang, Vancouver will join North Vancouver, Victoria, Vernon and Enderby as municipalities requesting the country’s marijuana laws be overturned.

“Here we have a failed policy which is generating organized crime and causing harm to Vancouver residents,” said Jang, whose house was once mistakenly targeted by criminals searching for a grow-op; a house across the street was later busted for growing marijuana.

Jang’s motion calls for council to endorse the campaign of a coalition comprised of academics, former politicians, a Victoria cop and health officials to regulate marijuana.

The hope of Stop the Violence B.C., which was founded by Dr. Evan Wood of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, is that such a dramatic change would undercut huge profits reaped from organized crime and reduce violence associated to the marijuana trade.

The coalition also believes regulation could improve health of young people by making marijuana harder to buy, reduce damage and hazards to homes from grow-ops and free up police to concentrate on other crime.

Today, the coalition announced that a group of B.C. mayors has written a letter urging Premier Christy Clark, NDP leader Adrian Dix and Conservative Party leader John Cummins to support a change to marijuana laws.

“Given the ongoing gang activity, widespread availability of marijuana and high costs associated with enforcement, leaders at all levels of government must take responsibility for marijuana policy,” the letter states. “We are asking you as provincial leaders to take a new approach to marijuana regulation.”

The movement to regulate marijuana got a big boost last week when the former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Vancouver pot activist Marc Emery for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet endorsed the coalition’s cause. Emery is serving a five-year sentence in a Mississippi prison.

John McKay, who now teaches at Seattle University, said at a press conference that Canada and the U.S. should reject anti-marijuana law enforcement strategies in favour of a regulated public health approach to marijuana control.

Former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant and B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall also support the coalition’s campaign.

– Article from Vancouver Courier.