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Change pot laws, say Island councillors

Apr 15 2012

Vancouver Island municipal politicians are urging the federal government to decriminalize marijuana, a move they say would reduce crime and create additional revenue.

Delegates at the annual conference for the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities sent a clear message on Saturday by supporting a resolution that calls on Ottawa to change its laws.

"Marijuana prohibition" has resulted in "millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs," says the recommendation, which was supported by about 75 per cent of the 240 delegates at the conference in Ucluelet this weekend.

The issue will receive broader discussion in September, when AVICC brings the resolution to the conference for the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"I was really proud of all those who would stand up, while they're in office, and speak out about it," said Metchosin Coun.

Moralea Milne, who drafted the resolution with her council late last year.

Metchosin voted in January to send the discussion to AVICC. The council was inspired by four former Vancouver mayors who called for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan called on B.C. politicians at every level of government to consider the impact of the drug being illegal. "Marijuana prohibition is - without question - a failed policy," they wrote in a statement issued in November.

The resolution going to UBCM urges the province to pressure Ottawa to decriminalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

Milne said there is wide support in B.C. for changing the laws. A room of about 200 delegates at last year's UBCM gave her loud applause when she said problems with growops would disappear if the drug were decriminalized. dspalding@timescolonist.com

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