File photo from a marijuana grow-op.

Eight mayors echo call for marijuana reform

Surrey's Dianne Watts won't join coalition pushing pot legalization

Eight B.C. mayors have joined a coordinated campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana to combat gang violence and other drug-related crime.

Three of the mayors are from the Lower Mainland – Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson, Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan and North Vancouver City’s Darrell Mussatto – while the other cities represented are Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby, Lake Country and the District of Metchosin.

“It is time to tax and strictly regulate marijuana under a public health framework,” the mayors said in a letter distributed Thursday by the Stop The Violence BC campaign.

“Regulating marijuana would allow the government to rationally address the health concerns of marijuana, raise government tax revenue and eliminate the huge profits from the marijuana industry that flow directly to organized crime.”

The letter was addressed to Premier Christy Clark, NDP leader Adrian Dix and BC Conservative leader John Cummins.

It notes pot is more readily available to youth than tobacco, while smoking rates have been cut through public health regulation, not prohibition.

The mayors also express concern that their cities will face higher policing costs due to “inflexible” federal policies like mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences.

A spokesperson for Stop The Violence BC said mayors of other cities may be considering taking a stand on the issue, but was unable to provide specifics.

“I don’t think it necessarily reflects a lack of support,” Evan Wood said.

Several city councils have also passed supportive motions.

But Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said she won’t be endorsing marijuana reform.

“The drug dealers are targeting our kids and we are a city with the most kids in the province,” Watts said. “So for me, it’s not a road I want to walk down.”

She said the debate over decriminalization is a matter of federal jurisdiction.

Watts also said marijuana reform wouldn’t stop the underground market in other drugs.

“I don’t think people are willing to go down the road of legalizing every single drug, including synthetic drugs. That would be absurd.”

The Stop the Violence BC coalition has previously released endorsements from various academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts.

B.C.’s chief medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall was one of the latest to endorse a health-based approach to marijuana policy.

In February, four former B.C. attorneys-general also backed pot legalization.

Premier Clark has deferred the issue of marijuana policy reform to the federal government.

Just Posted

Cougars spotted in Sproat Lake neighbourhoods

ACRD director warns residents to keep children, pets close

Who are the Frozen Franklins? Find out at the Alberni Valley Museum

The museum and Echoes in the Ice exhibit are open April 20 during Easter weekend

Former teacher returns to Port Alberni to lead Alzheimer’s Walk

Jory Mitchell celebrates his journey with late wife and her Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues cougar warning at Kennedy Lake

Cougar encounter reported between Tofino and Ucluelet.

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read