Editorial: On the record

Cloverdale-Langley City: Where the candidates stand on pot for recreational use.

Early in the federal election campaign, we heard from two KPU criminology students who said it’s high time to open up public debate on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Amritpal Jammu and Jasjot Mangat plan to enter careers in law enforcement, and say the confusion around the issue is problematic for anyone hoping to make decisions that make sense involving the law surrounding marijuana use in our community.

They cited the recent legalization of marijuana in neighbouring Washington and Oregon states, and the inconsistencies around marijuana dispensaries here at home. The number of arrests for marijuana possession in B.C. has been increasing – depending on where people live in the province – implying the law isn’t being applied equally.

“As citizens of this province, and concerned citizens in the community of Surrey, we are concerned about the amount of police time and costs associated with enforcement of our current laws regarding possession of marijuana,” they wrote, saying there is an urgent need for dialogue around the question.

On Monday, voters in Cloverdale-Langley City – and across the country – will decide whether Canada makes an historic leap towards marijuana reform, or if the country will remain a legal battleground populated by pro-cannabis activists and a resistant federal government.

For the record, here’s where the candidates running for election in Cloverdale-Langley City say: Conservative Dean Drysdale says it’s possible to conjure up a compelling case for a mature person with a health concern using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but, he wonders, “How do you keep it out of the hands of the 13-year-old?”

Liberal John Aldag “proudly” supports his party leader’s pledge to legalize marijuana and says the illegal marijuana trade is worth $6 billion for organized crime in B.C.

The NDP’s Rebecca Smith says her party is talking about decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts for personal use.

The Greens would legalize and tax pot, but local candidate Scott Anderson did not get a reply back to us. (He’s been ill, according to his campaign).

It’s easy to feel as if your vote doesn’t count, but Oct. 19 represents a real opportunity at the ballot box for anyone with a vested interest in this issue, and many more besides, from refugees and child care to pipelines and the economy. Please visit cloverdalerporter.com for full and ongoing election coverage, including results as we get them on election day, Oct. 19.

See also: Vote Could Spark Marijuana Reform.

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