Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

UBCM delegates vote in favour of decriminalizing marijuana

Delegates at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities voted in favour of a motion supporting the decriminalization of marijuana.

The motion, put forward by the Victoria suburb of Metchosin, argued that marijuana prohibition is a "failed policy which has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs."

A note from the resolution committee said B.C. is responsible for 40 percent of the marijuana produced in Canada and as much as 95 percent of it is illegally exported to the United States, and that much of the production is done by criminal gangs.

"I'm not advocating marijuana use for everyone," said Metchosin councillor Moralea Milne introducing the motion. "A walk in the woods is a much better Personally I prefer a martini, and I'm allowed to." However, she said, keeping marijuana illegal causes more problems than it solves.

Other representatives argued that keeping marijuana illegal is a missed opportunity to raise tax revenue and that too much is spent on policing related to it.

Tom Siddon, a regional director in the Okanagan-Similkameen and former federal cabinet minister, said we've "fried enough brains" and a better solution is to police it better.

Henry Braun, an Abbotsford councillor said that decriminalizing marijuana won't end the involvement of gangs in its production and export, particularly considering the size of the United States market where it is likely to remain illegal.

Al Siebring, a North Cowichan councillor and the new president of the BC Conservative Party, argued that if criminalizing marijuana is a "failed policy" as the motion says, then the UBCM should be looking at getting rid of the criminal code too, since many people still get murdered despite its existence. "Think it through," he said.

Earlier in the week a well-attended panel discussion debated the pros and cons of decriminalizing marijuana. Speakers included former Attorney General Geoff Plant, Victoria police officer David Bratzer and University of the Fraser Valley criminologist Darryl Plecas.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus