Four of Vancouver’s former mayors, Mike Hartcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan, say it’s time British Columbia politicians led the fight to revise Canada’s marijuana laws. All four have signed an open letter to every municipal, provincial and federal politician in British Columbia, Canada. The prohibition of marijuana is “a failed policy” that is “creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities,” according to a letter signed by four former Vancouver, B.C., mayors. The ex-mayors, ranging across Canada’s political spectrum, urged Canada’s federal and provincial politicians to end pot prohibition.
“It is creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities and fear among our citizens, and adding financial costs for all levels of government at a time when we can least afford them,” said the letter. “Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer, and must develop and deliver alternative marijuana policies that avoid the social and criminal harms that stem directly from cannabis prohibition.”
The growing and export of potent British Columbia marijuana — nicknamed “B.C. Bud” — is considered the province’s leading agricultural crop, although it is not possible to develop statistics. Seattle-based U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, in an interview last week, said trafficking in B.C. Bud has become a source of “drug cartel activity.” “The B.C. Bud thing has changed,” Durkan told SeattlePI.com “It is now almost a currency. “Cocaine and meth are traded for marijuana and bulk cash.”
Former Vancouver Mayor Sullivan said in a statement, quoted by the Vancouver Sun: “It is unconscionable, unacceptable and unreasonable that the criminal element in B.C. is allowed to grow and thrive in B.C. due to inaction on the part of the politicians. Politicians must play a key role in the development of new policies that can really provide safer, stronger communities.”
The former mayors urge politicians to consider alternatives such as legalization and regulation, saying those policies will increase taxes to government, remove illicit profits that lead to gang violence, and eliminate costly legal proceedings. A group called the Stop the Violence BC Coalition, which the ex-mayors endorse, recently released a poll showing most B.C. citizens favor a change in marijuana laws. They say politicians must play a key role in the development of new policies that can provide safer, stronger communities.