TODAY, the province's municipal leaders will vote on a resolution calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. They should not only pass this motion, but resolve to lobby other communities across the country to do the same.
Canada's decades-long, failed effort to stamp out cannabis has come at enormous cost, and much of that cost has been borne by municipalities.
Federal drug laws have given rise to a multi-billion-dollar industry that is the lifeblood of organized crime. The investigation of that activity, and the hopeless efforts to curb rampant production, distribution and use of the drug, frequently fall to police forces that are under contract to towns and cities. It would be in the interests of those communities - and, by extension, of their taxpayers - to end this untenable situation.
In the lead up to the Union of B.C. Municipalities' vote, critics have argued that the resolution misses the point. The vast majority of the province's cannabis is sold in the United States, after all, meaning that decriminalization here would do nothing to stem the illegal flow of drugs across the border. This argument is spurious.
Legal, regulated producers of marijuana wouldn't shoot each other any more than the legal producers of alcohol and cigarettes do. People would still attempt to smuggle the drug into America, true, but at that point, frankly, it would be a problem for the U.S. border patrol - and no worse a problem than they have now.
Our municipalities should show some leadership on this issue and make the move that makes sense.