With former attorneys general, ex-municipal mayors and a host of medical health officers all advocating for the legalization of marijuana, the public should start to wonder what politicians are smoking to make inaction seem like the right decision.
Former B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant and his colleagues are the latest to lobby the province for reforms to its marijuana laws by ending prohibition on B.C.’s unofficial cash crop.
Like prohibition of alcohol during the Great Depression made millionaires out of bootleggers and gangsters, marijuana laws financially benefit both organized crime and petty criminals, while punishing taxpaying, law-abiding citizens for inhaling in the privacy of their homes.
The framework for restriction, regulation and taxation of marijuana exists, through our extensive alcohol and tobacco legislation. Impairment laws currently apply to marijuana.
The federal Conservative government wants to increase the minimum penalty for pot offences, yet B.C.’s court system faces such a backlog that the vast majority of those charges would be dismissed before ever reaching court.
Legalizing – and regulating – marijuana would ease that court burden, erasing minor drug possession charges to free up court time for serious offences, such as drunk driving. It would also impact the international drug trade, which sees harder drugs cross the border in exchange for B.C. marijuana.
Where the face of the argument for legalization was once a grungy, hippie-ish fellow sparking a spliff, the movement now has top medical professionals, former municipal leaders and provincial ministers cutting through the haze with a clean image and a clear-cut case.
B.C. has the opportunity to show leadership on a national scale by taking the profits of crime and returning it to society.