Support for Decriminalization of Pot on Vancouver Island

Politicians across Vancouver Island supported a motion to decriminalize marijuana at the annual conference for the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities in Ucluelet.

Approximately 75% of the 240 delegates at the conference supported a motion to urge the federal government to decriminalize marijuana, a move they say would reduce crime and create additional revenue.

“Marijuana prohibition” has resulted in “millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs,” stated the recommendation.

Richard Payne of Nanaimo, who ran for the B.C Marijauna Party against incumbent Ron Cantelon in 2005, said it’s about time local politicians realized marijuana laws aren’t working.

“We’ve been fighting for legalization for a very long time and I believe the momentum toward decriminalization is getting some traction,” he said.

Payne cites a February letter from four former B.C. attorney generals to Premier Christy Clark and NDP leader Adrian Dix, calling on politicians to endorse legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana.

Colin Gabelmann, Ujjal Dosanjh, Graeme Bowbrick and Geoff Plant all signed the letter saying the move would help reduce gang violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade, raise tax revenues and ease the burden on the province’s court system.

“I wouldn’t keep banging my head against the wall unless I felt there was a reason to do this and I can’t help but think that some governments’ thinking has changed,” said Payne.

Municipalities from across the conference will discuss the resolution in September when the AVICC brings it to the conference for the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

“I was really proud of all those who would stand up, while they’re in office, and speak out about it,” said Metchosin Coun. Moralea Milne, who drafted the resolution late last year.

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