By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 20, 2012
Squamish council voted against lending support to a group of eight BC Mayors who want marijuana decriminalised.
Councillors Doug Race, Ron Sander, and Rob Kirkham voted against sending a letter of support, while Councillors Bryan Raiser and Ted Prior supported the motion.
Councillors Patricia Heintzman and Susan Chapelle were not present at the meeting.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was one among the eight mayors urging provincial political leaders to support the regulations and taxation of marijuana.
Besides Vancouver, mayors of Burnaby, North Vancouver, Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby, Lake Country, and Metchosin have joined hands with Stop the Violence BC.
Stop the Violence bills itself as a coalition of law enforcement officials, legal experts, public health officials, and academic experts who advocate delinking marijuana from organised crime by regulating and taxing it.
They believe regulating marijuana would allow government to raise tax revenue, address genuine health concerns, and eliminate huge profits from the marijuana industry to flow directly to organised crimes.
The group claims recent Angus Reid surveys show only 12 per cent of British Columbians support the current approach of marijuana prohibition.
Coun. Doug Race is one of those 12 per cent.
Race said he felt the district should not support something that is not part of the mandate.
“The Narcotics Control Act is federal legislation,” Race said.
“I don’t believe we as a municipal government have any moral right to endorse one side or the other of this debate. We do not have a mandate from our community to speak on this issue on their behalf.
Coun. Raiser said it’s wrong to to say the issue doesn’t extend to local constituents.
Raiser said the prohibition does not work.
“Everyone should be allowed to grow and possess a plant – follow the money and you can see who wants it criminalized and why,” he said.
He also vowed to bring the motion back on the table so that absent councillors could also vote on it.