It’s time to legalize pot

The interesting thing about marijuana is that no one really has a good explanation of why it became illegal to light up a joint

The interesting thing about marijuana is that no one really has a good explanation of why it became illegal to light up a joint in the first place. If you look back at the first prohibition laws, the main reason seems to be a privileged white man’s fear that this easy to cultivate and cheap to buy drug was making it too easy for the lower classes (mostly black, Mexican, women and jazz fans) to forget their place and tell the bosses to get stuffed.

Personally, I’ve found that a regretful lack of inhibition is more easily found in a bottle than dried bud, but the privileged prefer a decent Scotch, so prohibition was quickly repealed on that vice.

Today, there really isn’t any reason for marijuana to be outlawed. Following the same strict laws as alcohol (zero tolerance for driving under the influence; not available to minors, etc.), marijuana should be as easily and legally available to the general public as a fine bourdeaux.

There would be several benefits to this. First, it would deliver a severe blow to criminal activity across the country as it would take away one of the gangs’ main sources of revenue. Second, it would make room in our prisons for the real criminals so that high-risk sex offenders who ‘pose a significant risk to women and teenage girls’ aren’t allowed to walk the streets of Victoria despite police protest. And third, if handled right, Victoria’s economy could blossom.

Alberta has its oil. As such, its residents don’t pay any Provincial Sales Tax. Zero. In B.C., we grow some of the best damn marijuana in the world. In fact, one of our local growers, House of the Great Gardener, just took home a trophy at the prestigious 24th annual High Times Cannabis Cup  in Amsterdam. This is akin to a B.C. vineyard earning a medal at the International Wine Challenge.

Let’s capitalize on that sterling reputation and quest for quality evident in our passionate gardeners and get those stressed-out Alberta smokers to pay off our provincial debt so that our PST is eliminated, too. Imagine how every large and small business in B.C. would blossom if consumers were allowed to spend more of their paycheques on local goods rather than taxes.

I’m not alone in this quest. Four former Vancouver mayors recently endorsed the Stop the Violence BC (STVBC) coalition and its call to overturn marijuana prohibition and reduce the harms associated with the trade. “Marijuana prohibition is — without question — a failed policy,” write Larry Campbell, Michael Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen.

And it seems most regular folk are onboard, too. A recent Angus Reid poll shows that 77 per cent of British Columbians disagreed that marijuana possession should be a criminal offense, while only 12 per cent support keeping current marijuana laws in place. And of those 12 per cent, I wonder if anyone asked them why? M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Lantzville singer Raymond Salgado will sing ‘O Canada’ before the Vancouver Canucks’ upcoming game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 17. (Photo submitted)
Lantzville singer to perform ‘O Canada’ at Vancouver Canucks game

Raymond Salgado scheduled to sing the anthem at Rogers Arena later this month

Nanaimo children’s entertainer Steve Romanik, represented by his character Mountain Dweller, is giving away his songs and stories to help raise money for children’s causes. (Photo courtesy Steve Romanik)
Nanaimo children’s entertainer ‘Mountain Dweller’ helping raise money for kids’ causes

Steve Romanik partnering with Nanaimo Child Development Centre, B.C. Children’s Hospital

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Most Read