The joint stops here.
The District of Squamish council voted down a motion to back a letter calling for taxation and regulation of marijuana. Signed by several B.C. politicians, including Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson and the City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, the document criticizes a “seemingly endless stream of anti-marijuana law enforcement initiatives,” which it stated are ineffective and taxing municipal budgets.
Coun. Bryan Raiser brought forward the motion to sign onto the letter. He called it “embarrassing and disappointing” that people have to be convinced prohibition doesn’t work. Organized criminals are capitalizing on the substance’s illegal classification, Raiser said.
The letter, addressed to Premier Christy Clark, stated the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. estimates that gangs control 85 per cent of the province’s marijuana trade, which the Fraser Institute speculates is worth up to $7 billion annually.
It’s not within the district’s mandate to examine the country’s drug laws, Coun. Doug Race fired back. Without taking a stand on the issue itself, Race noted the topic was not a municipal election topic and falls under federal legislation.
“I am not sure whether our community has considered this,” he said of marijuana legalization.
Mayor Rob Kirkham reiterated Race’s sentiments.
“Really it is a decision that has to be taken and debated and dealt with at a federal level,” he said.
Council’s job is to represent it constituents, Raiser argued, adding this issues affects Squamish residents. Even though Raiser said he doubts the letter will spark change, it’s the principal that must be considered.
“It is up to people and representatives of people to stand up and say [this] is ridiculous,” he said.
This topic has been ongoing for 25 plus years, Coun. Ted Prior said. Like Raiser, he motioned to support the letter, noting nothing will change overnight.
“It is a process that is going to take a long time,” he said.
Once the smoke had cleared, the motion was defeated by Kirkham, Race and Coun. Ron Sander. Councillors Patricia Heintzman and Susan Chapelle were absent from council.