Re: UBCM marijuana motion divides Comox Valley mayors (Record, Sept. 28).
The status quo is NOT breaking bad.
With all due respect to Mayor Jangula, I strongly suggest that his position to support the status quo on the topic of marijuana decriminalization is a “bad” one.
While the motion that passed at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria is indeed largely symbolic, as was acknowledged by the proponents, the call for the government to decriminalize marijuana and research its regulation and taxation is entirely logical, timely and sane.
With respect to the utter failure of the War on Drugs, which started in 1914, it is also most certainly common sense.
As a parent, citizen, taxpayer, non-user, non-grower and sociopolitical moderate (like the vast silent majority on this topic) I have watched for over 30 years the continuation of ineffective policies, increased crime, and exponential increase of illegal commercialization and profit associated to the dubious bud.
Unfortunately, and to our collective detriment, the thought that decriminalizing marijuana would “make it 10 times as bad” truly is a “laughable joke.”
In 2002 the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs released a report on legalization of cannabis. In an exhaustive and comprehensive two-year study of public policy related to marijuana, the committee found that the drug should be legalized (arguably decriminalization is the first step).
The 600-plus-page Senate report was a result of rigorous research, analysis and extensive public hearings in Ottawa and communities throughout Canada with experts and citizens.
Key findings from the report were as follows: Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue.
Indeed, domestic and international experts and Canadians from every walk of life told us loud and clear that we should not be imposing criminal records on users or unduly prohibiting personal use of cannabis.
Most businesspeople, but few politicians, understand the immutable laws of supply and demand. Over time these market-based forces, which governed the production and control of alcohol, created economic equilibrium (which, in part, lead to the abandonment of prohibition).
The status quo, and continued charade of meaningless (and costly) enforcement to the use of cannabis serves only two major constituencies; those who are employed to fight an unwinnable battle and those who are (tax free) profiting from it.
Current laws and policies certainly do not serve our society or our children. From social or health-related perspectives, we must ask ourselves who is better positioned to deal with these harsh realities — our government(s) or the black market.
In consideration to the UBCM motion, and with respect to the “growing” list of supporters to the Sensible Policing Act (sensiblebc.ca) may we all inhale deeply, give our heads a shake and take action to support this long-overdue proposal and legislation.