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The Globe and Mail

Pot policy no place for partisan politics, B.C. mayors tell province's leaders

A young man smokes a marijuana joint during a rally in downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 20, 2011.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A coalition of B.C. mayors wants the province's political leaders to join forces to end marijuana prohibition.

Mayors from Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver City, Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby, Lake Country and Metchosin make the call in a joint letter to B.C.'s premier, Opposition NDP leader and B.C. Conservative party leader.

The mayors say strict regulation and taxation of marijuana will make their communities safer by protecting residents from the criminal elements linked to illegal grow-ops.

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the joint letter to Christy Clark, Adrian Dix and John Cummins reflects the need to remove partisan politics from marijuana regulation.

Several of the mayors lead communities that have already adopted motions supporting Stop the Violence BC, a coalition of academic, legal, law enforcement and health experts seeking changes to cannabis laws.

A Stop the Violence spokesman says provincial and federal leaders must develop laws that address the health concerns of marijuana while raising tax revenues and wiping out the huge profits pocketed by gangs involved in illegal grow-ops.

The organization aims to reform cannabis laws to reduce the harms associated with the illegal cannabis trade, including gang violence.

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