A debate that ignited a heated conversation around the Nelson council table hit the floor at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention last week.
The decriminalization and regulation of marijuana came before Nelson city council in June and was met by a passionate and intense debate.
In a resolution passed by council, the motion to support the campaign — which is known as Stop the Violence BC — was tabled until after the convention that was held in Victoria last week.
The resolution that came before the Union of British Columbia Municipalities passed and asks the federal government to decriminalize and regulate marijuana.
“I think the outcome really reflects what public opinion polls are telling us,” said councillor Donna Macdonald. “Sixty to 70 per cent of people believe what we are doing isn’t working and we need to look at the option of decriminalizing and regulating it.”
Macdonald originally introduced the motion for Nelson city council to support Stop the Violence BC in June and said she was pleased with the convention outcome.
“I am somewhat surprised though,” she said. “The Union is generally a fairly conservative bunch of folks, so to see the delegates supporting decriminalization sends a very clear image that it is not a fringe issue, but is very mainstream.”
Even though Mayor John Dooley was strongly opposed to the motion brought before council, he was not surprised the resolution passed in Victoria.
“I figured that was the proper forum to do it in rather than go around the province and do one-offs,” Dooley told the Star. “Now the Union can bring that forward to the provincial government and ask them to do the analysis and look into what exactly is involved and what that would look like in the bigger scale.”
The panel/debate at the convention featured three people representing maintaining the status quo and three advocates for changing the model.
Dooley found it interesting that many of the questions that appeared at the Nelson city council meeting also emerged at the Union debate.
“There are a lot of questions to be answered,” he said. “I think the proper way to do that is through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities… I know the executive is very aware of the pros and cons of the issue that would need to be addressed before legalization would happen.”
Back at Nelson City Hall, the motion around decriminalization and regulation is intended to be on the Tuesday, October 9 city council meeting agenda.