Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lotusland's Former Mayors Come Up With The Best Anti-Gang Initiative Yet


Now that Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan have all called for an end to the prohibition on marijuana, can the fanciful Vince Fosterish fantasies involving each and every one of them be far behind?

Below, for the record, is the text of the Four Horsemen's letter, in full, which can also be found here.


November 23, 2011

From: Sam Sullivan, Michael Harcourt, Larry Campbell, and Philip Owen

To: All B.C. MPs, MLAs, Mayors and Councillors

Re: Call to Action – Marijuana prohibition and its effects on violent crime, community safety, and the health and well-being of our citizens

As former Mayors of the City of Vancouver, we are asking all elected leaders in British Columbia to speak out about the ineffectiveness and harms of cannabis prohibition.

Marijuana prohibition is – without question – a failed policy. It is creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities and fear among our citizens, and adding financial costs for all levels of government at a time when we can least afford them. Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer; they must develop and deliver alternative marijuana policies that avoid the social and criminal harms that stem directly from cannabis prohibition.

Among the most pressing issues is the contribution that cannabis prohibition has made to organized crime and gang violence. The Fraser Institute has estimated that B.C.’s illegal cannabis trade may be worth up to $7 billion dollars annually. This massive illegal market drives violence in communities throughout the province. New thinking, new policies and collaboration across party lines are required to protect our communities and make them safer.

Unfortunately, research and practical experience from Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere clearly demonstrates that increasing anti-cannabis law enforcement strategies will not reduce the availability to young people. Cannabis prohibition has failed globally. While we fully recognize that marijuana is not without health- related harms, the failure of cannabis prohibition to reduce the availability of the drug to young people requires an urgent and novel response.

We agree with the Stop the Violence BC coalition and the criminologists, economists, lawyers, law enforcement and public health experts under its umbrella: we must move from a violent unregulated market to a strictly regulated cannabis market that is based on a public health framework. We believe a legally regulated market for adult cannabis use has the potential to reduce rates of cannabis use while at the same time directly addressing organized crime concerns by starving them of this cash cow. A regulated market would enable governments to improve community health and safety while at the same time raising millions in tax revenue.

The time for action is now. A recent Angus Reid poll demonstrated that 69% of British Columbians believe that chasing and arresting marijuana producers andsellers is ineffective and that British Columbians would be better off taxing and regulating the adult use of marijuana. We fully agree.

Clearly, elected officials are out of step with their public on marijuana prohibition. It is time that elected officials enter the debate and deliver specific proposals to address the easy availability of cannabis to youth and the organized crime concerns stemming directly from cannabis prohibition.

If you agree, please step forward, join this call for change and add your influential voice to the debate. In addition, we encourage you to notify Stop the Violence BC of your endorsement so that they may profile your support and adjust their education efforts accordingly.

If you disagree, there is nevertheless an ethical and moral obligation to join the debate, because the stakes for our communities, our youth and our fellow British Columbians are so high.

Politicians of all stripes – not just at the federal level – must respond before further damage is done to our B.C. communities. We must break the silence on this issue. The status quo must change.


Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, 2005-2008

Larry Campbell, Mayor of Vancouver, 2002-2005

Philip Owen, Mayor of Vancouver, 1993-2002

Mike Harcourt, Mayor of Vancouver, 1980-1986

Please note: Only one former mayor of the last three decades did NOT sign the letter....He, like Mr. Harcourt is also a former Premier of British Columbia...Hmmmm....Now why wouldn't that fine fellow want to sign, I wonder?



Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Gordon Campbell probably wanted to sign too but the other four told him something you will probably hear often on the field during the Grey Cup this weekend. It has been just about twenty years since the modern let's stop kidding ourselves about dope laws working and must not stop until change gets done.

I am filled with warm fellings for four politicians telling the truth. I need a scotch. Good on them!

Rusty M said...

hahahha that speaks volumes, that the vancouver mayors from the past 20 years did not want campbell's endorsement

West End Bob said...

I'm going with Rusty M's comment, RossK.

Hard to top that analysis . . . .

Anonymous said...

"Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer"

I think they need to put a bit more thought into what they're saying with that phrase.

Otherwise - kudos for getting it together on what has been obvious for 75 years!
Why is it only ex-politicians who can speak out?

Rick said...

Not going to happen as the Industrial Prison Complex is just getting ramped up in Canada and there is no way they are going to displace their biggest source of clients.

Jonku said...

Good points above.

If $7 billion cash is floating around, besides being spent/traded on cocaine and guns, I wonder how much of it ends up being spent on "lobbying?"

By lobbying I mean bribes to politicians and regulators who can keep the cash cow alive, meaning no drug law reform.

We know the CIA and DEA are involved with global drug trade in heroin and cocaine. Who is involved at a high level in BC bud?

Laila Yuile said...

I don't agree with this at all. Starving gangs of profit from BC bud will only drive their profit making initiatives into other avenues. The people at the top arent dumb nor are they often uneducated, and like many smart businessmen, have contingency plans. Take away the pot,and we see an increase in gun running, coke, and whatever else they can increase the demand for.

Until we are able to provide even the most adequate detox facilities for those seeking treatment for addiction, any move to make legal BC bud will fail. See what has happened in the Netherlands,where I have many friends who openly admit and talk frequently about how the drug policies there have failed,in part due to the much higher concentration of THC, and the inability to effectively monitor trafficking at coffeshops etc, allowed to sell. There has been a marked increase in the push and sale of Cocaine again over the last few years.

Until this government truly understands what has happened in countries who have decriminalized pot which is very different from making it legal- we cant blindly push to do so without seeing what the results might be on our very different population from many European countries.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this is clear.
We CANNOT regulate and tax something that can easily be grown in our back yards! It's a WEED!

My suggestion is to tell the cops to STOP! JUST STOP!

Ray Blessin

Rusty M said...

If cannabis is criminalized, should not nicotine and caffeine?

If drug dealers are such smart businessmen, if cannabis is legalized would they not remain in the same business in a legitimate form?

Also, the whole concept of illegal drugs is arbitrary at best. Suggest you read Drug Crazy by Mike Gray, its an eye opener re the doomed-to-failure 'war on drugs'.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Let the criminals make their profit off crime, not off Prohibition. Big, big, big dif.

RossK said...

Great discussion everyone - thanks.

Sorry to have been so non-responsive....Have been stuck in science-geek bunker.


Danneau said...

And there is Smilin' Steve assuring the party faithful and the war profiteers that it won't happen, that his government won't legalize drugs. All the above comments are true. When people feel they belong, they are probably less likely to need to be the elsewhere that drugs provide, prevention being better and cheaper than cure. In any case, it's cheaper to feed the habit than to incarcerate, methinks.

RossK said...

I guess I come down on the side of prohibition not working....So, given that, and the fact that it leads to a price jack that makes body armour and handguns worth it, well?...


Kim said...

Laila, I read that Portugal had good success with decriminalisation. The money used to fight the war on drugs should be diverted to health care, mental health care, addiction services and harm reduction. Also education, all levels.