‘Legalize It!’ (who supports it?)

Municipal officials voted to support the decriminalization of pot last month. Here’s how Cranbrook’s council voted

A convention of local government politicians in Victoria last month came out with a decision that marijuana should be decriminalized.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention brings together mayors, councillors, and regional district directors from every B.C. community.

During the Sept. 24-28 convention, the elected officials were asked to vote on this motion:

“Whereas marijuana prohibition is a failed policy which has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs; and whereas the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana would provide tax revenues: therefore be it resolved that UBCM call on the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana.”

Some of Cranbrook’s council was present for that vote; the Townsman asked how they responded.

Councillor Angus Davis — “I support the decriminalization of marijuana. “All we have to do is look at history. Prohibition did not work in the US and prohibition of marijuana is certainly not working today. For the sake of us all, let’s let it be legal and enjoy the benefits of the tax revenue this would generate.”

Councillor Sharon Cross — “Given that municipalities can only recommend change, and not write the laws, I voted in favour of decriminalizing marijuana in order to encourage discussion and debate at the national level.”

Councillor Gerry Warner — “Surely at a time when the rate of cigarette smoking in B.C. has been reduced to less than 20 per cent it would be the height of folly to encourage people to smoke pot. Is no one considering the public health aspects of decriminalizing marijuana? “

Councillor Denise Pallesen — “I did not vote for the decriminalization of marijuana resolution because at the time I had not spoken to any RCMP officials to satisfy myself that this was a municipal issue. I think because of the far reaching consequences of drug use in Canada and the U.S., this needs to be resolved at the federal level of government with input by the RCMP.”

Councillors Diana J. Scott and Bob Whetham and Mayor Wayne Stetski were not present for the vote. Councillor Scott did say that if she were present, she would have voted against the motion.

UBCM’s support of the decriminalization of marijuana will now be referred to the federal government.