MLA and Former Police Officer Kash Heed Calls for End to Marijuana Prohibition

POT TV – British Columbia MLA Kash Heed, a former police chief, calls for an end to marijuana prohibition in a new video produced by Stop the Violence BC.

From Stop the Violence:

Kash Heed, a long-time law enforcement official and MLA, is calling for the legalization and taxation of cannabis to better protect communities and reduce related organized crime activity resulting from the illegal marijuana trade.

In this video, Kash Heed shares his experiences about the devastating consequences of cannabis prohibition, based on his 31 years in law enforcement as a beat cop, a police chief, head of the Vancouver Police Department Drug Unit and Indo-Canadian Gang Violence Task Force.

“In the early 1990s, I began to fully recognize the futility and the social, economic and public health costs of continuing marijuana prohibition,” said Heed in a written statement. “And I came to one inescapable conclusion—cannabis prohibition fuels gang violence in B.C. In fact, costly law enforcement efforts have only served to drive the marijuana industry deeper into the hands of violent organized crime groups.”

In his statement, Heed announced that he is joining Stop the Violence BC (STVBC), a coalition of academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts, and its campaign to reform cannabis laws to reduce the harms associated with the illegal cannabis trade, including gang violence. He joins a growing list of endorsements that includes a coalition of B.C. mayors, the Health Officers Council of B.C., four former mayors of Vancouver and former B.C. attorneys general, and follows the passing last month of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) resolution calling for calling for the decriminalization of cannabis.

To learn more about the statement and Stop the Violence BC please visit: http://stoptheviolencebc.org/kash_heed.

Director/Producer: Pete McCormack
Director of Photography: Mike Hawley
Music: Schaun Tozer
Sound: Ian Jones
Production Assistant/Second Camera: Kieran McCormack
Big Special Thanks: Tara and Eric—Two Story Productions, Tavis Dunn, Stephen Green and Jonny Ross

Photo Credits:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/westmidlandspolice/8009257634/ courtesy of West Midlands Police on FlickR
http://www.flickr.com/photos/westmidlandspolice/8002612410/ courtesy of West Midlands Police on FlickR
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/5687797701/ courtesy of BC Gov Photos on FlickR
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thagoodiez/6718342101/ courtesy of Tha Goodiez on FlickR
http://www.flickr.com/photos/neontommy/6221083489/ courtesy of Neon Tommy on FlickR
www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/7403285782/ courtesy of BC Gov Photos on FlickR
http://www.justice.gov/dea/pr/multimedia-library/image-gallery/project_reck_p… courtesy of the US Drug Enforcement Agency


BC MLA speaks out against marijuana prohibition in short film, joins Stop the Violence BC

Vancouver, BC [October 18, 2012] — Kash Heed, a long-time law enforcement official and MLA, is calling for the legalization and taxation of cannabis to better protect communities and reduce related organized crime activity resulting from the illegal marijuana trade.

In a video and written statement released today, Kash Heed shared his experiences about the devastating consequences of cannabis prohibition, based on his 31 years in law enforcement as a beat cop, a police chief, and head of both the Vancouver Police Department Drug Unit and Indo-Canadian Gang Violence Task Force.

“In the early 1990s, I began to fully recognize the futility and the social, economic and public health costs of continuing marijuana prohibition,” wrote Heed in the statement. “And I came to one inescapable conclusion—cannabis prohibition fuels gang violence in B.C. In fact, costly law enforcement efforts have only served to drive the marijuana industry deeper into the hands of violent organized crime groups.”

In his statement, Heed announced that he is joining Stop the Violence BC (STVBC), a coalition of academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts, and its campaign to reform cannabis laws to reduce the harms associated with the illegal cannabis trade, including gang violence. He joins a growing list of endorsements that includes a coalition of B.C. mayors, the Health Officers Council of B.C., four former mayors of Vancouver and former B.C. attorneys general. His statement follows the passing last month of a Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) resolution calling for calling for the decriminalization of cannabis.

“It shows real political courage that Kash Heed, as a sitting member of a provincial legislature, has decided to speak out against these failed laws,” said Geoff Plant, who served as B.C. attorney general from 2001 to 2005. “It’s time for the rest of our political leaders to follow his lead and act on the overwhelming evidence linking marijuana prohibition to organized crime and gang violence.”

Kash Heed is the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview. He is urging his current and former colleagues to improve community health and safety by overturning marijuana prohibition.

“I plan to use my remaining time in office to reach out to our provincial leaders and ensure that replacing cannabis prohibition with a more effective public health and safety strategy becomes a part of the public debate in the next provincial election,” said Heed. “Despite the effort to pass the buck to the federal government, this is a provincial issue—organized crime has been fuelled by B.C.’s failed marijuana policies, leading to gang violence, destructive grow-ops and easy access to marijuana for youth in each and every one of our communities.”

The video was produced and directed by Pete McCormack, an award winning filmmaker based in Vancouver.

“Having been raised in B.C. and been a longstanding witness the ineffectiveness and harms of our law enforcement approach to the marijuana industry in BC, working with Kash Heed on this project was very personal and important to me,” said McCormack. “If this video can influence other politicians’ thinking and lead to a change in our harmful approach to marijuana control in this province, then it will have been a success.”

Media can download the Kash Heed video here.
Watch the video here.
Read the full Kash Heed statement here.

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