Canadian Experts: Legalizing Pot Would Cut Gang Violence
VANCOUVER — A new coalition of high-profile health, academic and justice experts is mounting a campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana in British Columbia, arguing the policy change would reduce gang violence and convert criminal profits into new tax revenues.
The push comes as the federal Conservative government moves to pass polar opposite legislation, an omnibus crime bill aiming to toughen penalties for drug traffickers along with other law-and-order measures.
Calling itself Stop the Violence BC, the group released it first report Thursday and is pledging to issue further scientific research, poll results and hold public forums in an effort to pressure politicians towards its cause.
“To continue the criminalization of marijuana is, I think, completely out of tune with what’s going on in society today,” Ross Lander, a former B.C. Supreme Court judge for decades, said in an interview.
“The coalition’s objects meet what I would personally want, that is stop the useless killings and the violence that attends this drug trade.”
The activist efforts are emerging from a province that’s well-known for its underground marijuana-based economy. The coalition noted a recent estimate by the right-wing Fraser Institute that puts the value of the illegal cannabis market at upwards of $7 billion.
Pot prohibition fuels gang violence: report (news.nationalpost.com)