Nov 25 2011
Vancouver mayors back legalized marijuana


A marijuana grow op busted by police in the Lower Mainland.

By Jeff Nagel

Four former Vancouver mayors are demanding an end to marijuana prohibition, calling it a failed policy that has fueled gang crime.

Sam Sullivan, Mike Harcourt, Larry Campbell and Philip Owen signed a letter urging all other elected leaders in B.C. to join the push to regulate and tax pot.

"This massive illegal market drives violence in communities throughout the province," their letter said, adding it's time for "out of step" elected officials to join the debate and deliver new proposals before more damage is done.

The four mayors – of differing political stripes – cited Fraser Institute estimates that B.C.'s illegal pot trade is worth $7 billion a year.

"We believe a legally regulated market for adult cannabis use has the potential to reduce rates of cannabis use while at the same time directly addressing organized crime concerns by starving them of this cash cow," the letter said.

"A regulated market would enable governments to improve community health and safety while at the same time raising millions in tax revenue."

The mayors endorsed the Stop the Violence BC coalition of criminologists, economists, lawyers, police and public health experts advocating for legalized marijuana.

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