Baker pleased with response to decriminalize marijuana

Lake Country's mayor is pleased a resolution calling for the legalization of marijuana was adopted at the UBCM last week.

  • Oct. 2, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The mayor of Lake Country says he’s pleased a resolution calling for the legalization of marijuana was adopted at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention last week.

James Baker said the resolution was put to a show of hands on the convention floor, then subjected to an electronic vote count. “The vote was passed by a majority on the floor, and ended up with a 67 to 33 per cent vote in support,” Baker said.

He hopes the vote sends a message that the debate on the legalization of pot, and the whole idea of the so-called war on drugs, is given a review.

“I would ultimately like to see it regulated the way alcohol is today but I’m not sure if I will see that actually happen in my lifetime,” Baker acknowledged.

“But our resolution can hopefully get the discussion going about it.”

Baker said marijuana production is a $7- to $8-billion industry in this province, and a business that operates free of taxation.

“I think it’s time to look at the marijuana problem differently,” said Baker, who was one of the mayors to sign his support to the resolution.

“I think when you start having gang shootups like what occurred in downtown Kelowna and the proliferation of gang violence around drugs, something has to change.”

Baker said that MLAs and MPs have told him that Canada can’t act unilaterally on the issue without the endorsement of the U.S., which remains committed to prohibition.

He said there were differing opinions voiced at the convention about the, including differences from neighbouring Kelowna city councillors.

“I think ultimately if any change is going to occur, it has to come from the people who demand that change,” Baker said. “Hopefully that will come about so we don’t tie up so much money on marijuana enforcement and police resources chasing something that we just can’t win.”

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