Municipal leaders join growing chorus on drug laws

Union of B.C. Municipalities put needs of community first in calling for end to marijuana prohibition

The group representing local governments throughout the province has become the latest to call for the end to a war that there is no hope of winning.

“For too long our communities have borne the brunt of the harmful consequences of cannabis prohibition, from increased gang violence on our streets to enormous costs of enforcing a thoroughly discredited policy,” said John Ranns, the mayor of Metchosin, which brought forward the resolution calling for the decriminalization of cannabis that was endorsed at last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for asking yourself: What have these guys been smoking? The issue of marijuana decriminalization is clearly something that falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

But on further reflection it becomes apparent that it is communities, both large and small, that feel the sting of the rising bloodshed and squandered resources caused by Canada’s failed drug policies.

And B.C.’s municipal leaders are not alone. Dr. Evan Wood, professor of medicine at the University of B.C., called the UBCM resolution a “symbolic gesture” in the bid to stop a trade in which $2.7 billion annually goes to organized crime.

“Prohibition has not achieved its stated objectives to reduce the demand for and supply of cannabis. Instead, current laws have resulted in negative social and economic consequences at the municipal and provincial level,” said Wood, the founder of Stop the Violence B.C., a coalition of academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts campaigning to reform cannabis laws.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made it abundantly clear that no amount of bloodshed and wasted resources will change his mind on marijuana laws. But that can’t stop B.C.’s civic leaders from doing what they believe is best for the communities they serve.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ponderosa Primary Care Centre in Penticton is considered a model for care clinics going forward by the South Okanagan Division of Family Practice. (Monique Tamminga)
Primary Care Clinic funding could be a cure for South Okanagan Similkameen doctor shortage

Ponderosa Primary Care Centre in Penticton is a model for future care clinics and doctor recruitment

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims two more lives of Sunnybank Retirement Centre residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
City of Penticton seeking grants to fund public washroom improvements

The grant would fund washrooms at Gyro Park and Riverside Park

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Vernon’s Barb and Denis Murdoch, pictured at Lake Louise in 1987, will be inducted into the builder category of the B.C. Volleyball Hall of Fame, Class of 2021, on Feb. 15. (Murdoch family photo)
North Okanagan volleyball couple earn Hall of Fame call

Denis and Barb Murdoch will be inducted into B.C. Volleyball Hall of Fame in builder category

Eagle River Secondary Grade 9 student Cody Hutchinson spearheaded the Digital Detox Challenge in which participants will give up their cell phones during school days for two weeks straight. (Contributed)
Sicamous student challenges himself, peers to go nine school days cell phone free

Cody Hutchinson hopes Digital Detox Challenge will give students opportunity to reconnect

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Most Read