B.C. NDP leader wants pot decriminalized, says issue is up to feds
Published Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:07AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 28, 2013 11:47AM EDT
The leader of British Columbia’s NDP Party says while he’s in favour of the decriminalization of marijuana, the decision isn’t likely to be made until the next federal election.
Party leader Adrian Dix said as the federal Conservatives push ahead with mandatory prison terms for possession of marijuana, B.C. could be facing a spike in provincial criminal justice system spending.
“I favour the decriminalization of marijuana, but that’s a federal issue and will be settled in the 2015 election,” Dix told CTV’s Question Period.
“What we’ve had from the national government is not just a different position on marijuana, but a shifting away from that position that’s going to increase and hamstring our court system here in B.C., so we’re very concerned about that.”
Dix noted that south of B.C. in Washington state marijuana has been legalized for recreational use.
“(That) makes it even more difficult here,” he said.
The provincial NDP party released its platform last week, but it did not address the decriminalization of pot.
Liberal Premier Christy Clark has not come out in support of decriminalizing marijuana and maintains that the issue is one that needs to be made at the federal level.
Recent polling by Angus Reid shows the NDP has a 14-point lead over the Liberals ahead of the May 14 election.
Meanwhile, a coalition of police officers, doctors, lawyers politicians and academics – known at Stop the Violence BC – are advocating for the provincial government to receive an exemption to the Criminal Code to allow adults to purchase pot legally.
An Angus Reid poll released earlier this month found that 73 per cent of British Columbia residents support the proposed research trial.
The coalition says a regulated marijuana market could stifle the flow of funds going to organized crime, curb gang violence and reduce the spread of illegal grow-ops in B.C.
The research trial could allow researchers to study the effects legalization would have on users, organized crime and potential tax revenue, the group says.
Watch the complete interview with Question Period host Kevin Newman on CTV Sunday at 11 a.m. in Ontario, Quebec & Manitoba; noon in Atlantic Canada, 2 p.m. in B.C.; 3 p.m. in Alberta & Saskatchewan.
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