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is more easily found in a bottle than dried bud, but the privileged prefer a decent Scotch, so prohibition was quickly repealed on that vice.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

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