Metchosin Coun. Moralea Milne speaks to her motion to urge Ottawa to decriminalize marijuana at Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.

B.C. councils call for pot decriminalization

After a passionate debate and a close vote, UBCM passed a motion calling on the federal government to decriminalize marijuana.

After a passionate debate and a close vote, delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention passed a motion calling on the federal government to decriminalize marijuana.

The UBCM placed major emphasis on the debate this year, staging a debate Monday featuring former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant, in favour of loosening pot laws, and University of the Fraser Valley criminologist Darryl Plecas opposed. After a lineup of speakers on the impact of marijuana grow ops on communities and crime impact, a show of hands by hundreds of delegates supported the call for decriminalization.

Metchosin councillor Moralea Milne reminded delegates that Plant termed pot prohibition “a disastrous and expensive failure of public policy.” She said more than 500,000 B.C. residents have smoked marijuana, but she doesn’t support its use.

“Personally I’d rather have a martini, and and I’m allowed to, because we changed that very wrong prohibition stance that we had,” Milne said.

Okanagan-Similkameen area director Tom Siddon, a former federal cabinet minister, said his local police reject decriminalization.

“I think we’ve been frying too many brains,” Siddon said. “It’s going to aggravate the temptation of young people to move from marijuana, which may well be more harmless than a few bottles of beer, to being hooked on heroin, cocaine and the chemical designer drugs.”

Prince George city councillor Brian Skakun drew laughter with his comment: “I tried it when I was younger, I turned out OK.” Turning serious, he said the costs extend to police and courts weighed down with marijuana cases rather than “real criminals.”

Abbotsford councillor Henry Braun agreed with Siddon.

“We produce about 1.5 million pounds of marijuana in British Columbia,” Braun said. “We consume about 185,000 pounds, so the vast majority of marijuana is being exported to the U.S. and other places.”

Port Moody councillor Bob Elliott said his “quaint, safe city” has seen three gang-related murders in the past six months. He pleaded for support for decriminalization.

Coquitlam councillor Terry O’Neill called decriminalization “the worst of all worlds,” protecting people from simple possession charges while leaving large-scale growing and sales in the hands of criminals.

Nelson councillor Robin Cherbo said sparing young recreational users from prosecution is worth it, and even outright legalization won’t stop the criminal trade as long as pot remains illegal in the U.S.

Cariboo Regional District director Joan Sorley reminded delegates that grow ops are destructive to communities and dangerous to police and fire departments.

“They’re huge operations,” Sorley said. “If we decriminalize it, we take away the tool that the RCMP has to try and shut them down and help keep our neighbourhood safe.”

 

Just Posted

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Silverton commits to 100% renewable energy by 2050

The villages joins pledges made by Nelson, New Denver, Rossland and the RDCK

ANKORS warns of deadly pills found in West Kootenay

The synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA was discovered during drug testing

Anti-immigrant backlash confounds Kootenay economic development leader

Terry Van Horn says a program to bring skilled workers to the Kootenays is needed for business

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read