Decriminalizing marijuana?

Mayors and councillors from across the province will vote Wednesday on whether to endorse a recommendation calling for the decriminalization of marijuana in our province.

Municipal delegates attending the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Victoria kicked off proceedings Monday debating the issue.

Stop the Violence B.C. spokesman Dr. Evan Wood disagreed with those suggesting municipal leaders shouldn't concern themselves with marijuana laws.

The noted HIV/AIDS expert told the crowded room that drug gangs are killing people and municipalities have the power to lead the way towards decriminalizing pot.

Former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant also spoke Monday as a member of the high-profile Stop The Violence coalition, a group of prominent political, medical and legal experts that advocates decriminalizing and taxing pot.

"Five-hundred-eighty-five-thousand British Columbians regularly use marijuana," he said.

"Doesn't feel to me like that's a highly successful example of public policy. You all govern and live with the consequences of this disastrous and expensive failure of public policy and it's entirely appropriate for you to take a stand on behalf of the citizens of the communities you represent, for change."

Plant says the debate comes as Washington looks at a tax and regulation plan, and this is an opportunity for a coordinated strategy on both sides of the border.

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