IN the not too distant past, dreadlocked advocates speaking out in favour of marijuana legalization tended to show up on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, poised to light up their joints at exactly 4: 20.
How times have changed. These days the call for a change in the laws looks different. It's as likely to be made by someone in a suit, who's held a position of significant authority.
The decision this week by former West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed and MLA Joan McIntyre to go public with their views that pot should be legal certainly fit that profile.
They joined a well-respected group - of former premiers, mayors, attorneys general, health advocates and criminal justice types - who believe the 'war on drugs' isn't winnable and isn't creating a safer society.
As long as pot remains illegal, and prices massively inflated, profits will continue to attract organized crime groups to war with each other over an unregulated market, the argument goes. It's not perfect. But a lot of it is convincing.
It's too bad, though, that most who've spoken out on this only do so as their political swan song. We don't remember Heed as having an election platform heavy on this topic.
More challenging is that drug laws are a federal issue. And so far Ottawa shows no signs of dawning enlightenment on this issue.
Kudos to Heed and McIntyre for speaking out this week, however belatedly. We'll wait with bated breath for signs that anyone east of the Rockies is listening.