Mayors of towns and cities across British Columbia– the Canadian province most affected by a drug war that starts in Mexico – voted on Wednesday to legalize marijuana.
At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting, civic leaders agreed they would petition the federal government to pursue the decriminalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana.
“I think it’s about being progressive,” Prince George city councilor Brian Skakun said, according to The Canadian Press.
“I’m not going to judge someone about whether or not they smoke pot. I tried it when I was younger and I turned out OK.”
British Columbia is Canada’s western-most province and the country’s most liberal; an estimated 585,000 people in the province smoke dope, Canadian Press said.
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Yet, the province of 4.4 million people struggles with organized crime and the drug trade.
BC gangs trade dope across the border into Washington State for cocaine and harder drugs.
Thugs gun each other down in a battle for control and homemade grow-ops keep police busy rounding up low-level producers.
Mayors say they’re wasting precious police and municipal resources while giving up a potential revenue source.
“This is a huge step forwards for a sensible cannabis policy in British Columbia,” Sensible BC director Dana Larsen said.
However, the motion at the UBCM meeting in Victoria might be largely symbolic.
Drug control laws are federally controlled, and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said legalization isn’t in Canada’s best interests.
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