Re. “The slow burn,” Editorial, Chief, Oct. 4.
I’m in agreement with the three dissenters. I agree in a representative democracy the representatives get to speak for us on most issues. However there are certain issues that rise to a level of import where greater public input should be required, and marijuana regulation is one of them.
The prime motivator here amongst B.C. municipalities seems to be revenue — i.e. from marijuana taxes. With respect, I think expectations are somewhat unrealistic. Assuming you can effectively harness de-valued (legalized) marijuana for taxation (it really doesn’t require much infrastructure to produce), what do you suppose the likelihood is that the federal and provincial governments will share “windfall” revenues? Based on the gas tax experience, not likely. And if government starts trying to command prices by way of regulation, chances are it will create a black market anew, just as it has done with cigarettes and liquor. Perhaps a better way to raise revenue would be to unite and petition the Feds and Province for new tax powers. Forcing municipalities to rely on the antiquated property tax and fee system, while dumping ever greater responsibilities on them, shows how little senior governments appreciate the role of our most important level of government.
Personally I question the effectiveness of drug prohibition generally, so I’m not antagonistic towards the end goal. But I also recognize from my own experience that there are very strong opinions on this subject, and we saw a pretty big divide at UBCM. I would not in the least be surprised if a similar divide existed in Squamish. We will never know for sure, however, because council didn’t spend much time on this and did not widely consult us before putting our names to this resolution, which the mayor opposed. This vote draws an uncomfortable comparison to the vote on council pay, which was hiked 40 per cent with immediate effect and similarly little public input and debate. I understand and support the intentions of all of our councillors; I just think a bit more input would be ideal before taking a stance on our behalf on things like these.