I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the comments made at last Monday’s city council meeting on the motion to support the Stop the Violence campaign, put forward by councillor Donna Macdonald.
Local cannabis activists first heard about this motion when we read about it in the May 25 edition of the Star. It was implied that we were the ones behind the motion. We were not involved in bringing this motion forward. We do applaud this campaign and especially applaud the politicians that have put their support behind it while still in office.
It was suggested that this issue should be sent to the Union of BC Municipalities for additional policy research. This is completely unnecessary. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Ledain Commission and the 10 year anniversary of the 2002 Senate Report on Cannabis. These reports concluded that prohibition laws cause more harm than the plant itself and recommended legalization, regulation and taxation.
Now, I would like to address specific comments made by the councillors and the mayor.
Councillor Bob Adams: “I am opposed to smoking, period. And that includes marijuana. I know a person who got into it and went on to the next one and the next one and I’m sorry I am totally opposed to this. And I have talked to a couple of police officers in Nelson and I think this is not going to work at all. I can’t give a lot of detail.”
Well, after running the Nelson Cannabis Compassion Club for the last 13 years, I have talked to tens of thousands of people about cannabis and I have the complete opposite view of cannabis. I see cannabis as a miracle plant.
Mayor Dooley: “I won’t be signing this. If it asked of me to sign it, I won’t, based on the mountain of information I have come up with myself. I did take time to read that on the website and the reality of the situation is that 80 per cent of the dope that is grown in BC is for export and legalizing marijuana will not eliminate the underground economy and it will not eliminate organized crime. That comes from several police chiefs that I have spoken to and numerous debates I have had and conversations and at the BC municipal police board meetings.”
Well, I have spent over 13 years exposing police propaganda around cannabis. I don’t know where the mayor got these false numbers but the last numbers I saw said that 80 per cent of the cannabis consumed in the US was domestically grown.
Fifteen per cent was imported from Mexico, five per cent was imported from Canada and one per cent of that five per cent was from BC. Think about it. If 80 per cent of the cannabis produced in BC represents one per cent of the cannabis Americans smoke, then the United Nations is wrong about Canada being the country with the most cannabis use.
Here are just a couple of reports refuting the statement that Canada is a major exporter of cannabis to the United States:
• Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Criminal Intelligence Directorate, Marihuana Cultivation in Canada: Evolution and Current Trends.
• United States-Canada Border Drug Threat Assessment (October 2004).
Mayor Dooley’s comment that he represents the community in opposing this motion. The last Ipsos Reid poll showed that a majority in every province of Canada was for the regulation and taxation of cannabis. BC had the largest support of 73 per cent. I can tell you that you don’t represent the sentiments of me or my 540 members, their spouses, their children, their grandchildren, or their close family friends.
Four councillors supported this motion and only two voted against. If one person represents more of this community than the majority of council, why have a council at all?
I implore the people of Nelson and area that don’t feel Mayor Dooley represents them on this issue to write a letter to the editor of the local paper or to the mayor himself.
Finally, I would like to voice my disgust with the lack of decorum in session that day. I would recommend that the mayor and council read a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and immediately make it the standard in which future council meetings are run.