Decriminalization on the agenda Monday in Victoria

It's the first time the UBCM membership has been asked to consider a resolution calling for the decriminalization of pot specifically.

Decriminalizing marijuana was the subject of a pre-conference workshop Monday at the 2012 UBCM Conference in Victoria.

Decriminalizing marijuana was the subject of a pre-conference workshop Monday at the 2012 UBCM Conference in Victoria.

The idea of decriminalizing marijuana is being tossed around today by some of the 1500 mayors and municipal reps from across B.C. converging in Victoria.

As chair of the UBCM Resolutions Committee, Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz confirmed it was up for discussion Monday morning in a pre-conference session at the 2012 Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention.

“It’s going to be an incredibly exciting and busy week with a total of over 200 resolutions coming forth,” she said.

“Monday will see discussion about decriminalization, as well as tanker traffic and pipelines.”

Former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant was set to weigh in as a member of Stop the Violence coalition of experts pushing for an end to criminalization of marijuana.

The proposed resolution, which calls for the regulation and taxation of pot, from the District of Metchosin is:

“Whereas marijuana prohibition is a failed policy which has cost millions of dollars in police, court, jail and social costs; and whereas the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana would provide tax revenue, therefore be it resolved that UBCM call on the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana.”

Gaetz said it’s the first time the UBCM membership has been asked to consider a resolution calling for decriminalization of pot specifically.

Wednesday will see the actual vote of membership take place on that same issue.

Chilliwack councillors, Jason Lum, Ken Popove, Susan Attrill and Stewart McLean will be in attendance, along with Mayor Gaetz, in various roles and times during the week-long conference.

The whole debate over decriminalization comes as UBCM is also set to consider another cannabis-related resolution, to ensure medical marijuana production requires a permit, and is in compliance with all municipal safety and building regulations.

It originally was submitted in 2011 as a late resolution, “but did not meet the criteria to be admitted for debate as an emergency resolution,” according to 2012 UBCB Conference documents, and now it’s being proposed amidst the federal proposals to overhaul the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations.

A resolution tackling the scourge of contaminated sites, or “brownfields” is being offered by the communities of Vanderhoof, Mackenzie and Burns Lake, suggesting the owners should be obligated to clean up their underground messes.

It notes that these vacant, or “orphaned” properties, often along transportation corridors and in downtown areas, are “eyesores” that have real or suspected contamination which “negatively impacts” economic development.

UBCM has been trying since 2007 to urge the provincial government to take decisive action on this, to no avail, so the resolution asks that the Ministry of Environment be authorized to legislate that owners of all contaminated brownfield sites, regardless of their hazard rating, be required to remediate these sites by request of local government.

“It would be a huge change,” said Gaetz.

The infrastructure funding deficit is also on the conference agenda, in the context of allowing the UBCM to negotiate a wider range of infrastructure programs in the future.

“The focus is so narrow in that we have to put the gas tax revenues into green energy projects. But the people are saying our communities need roads,” said Gaetz.

The debates on Coast Guard services and policing in rural communities are sure to attract strong interest as well, she said.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department on scene at a house fire on Boundary Road and No. 4 Road on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (David Seltenrich/ Facebook)
Fire crews respond to house fire on border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Flames, dark smoke reported coming from front of house when crews arrived

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

Pig races at the 147th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 10, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Fair plans in-person event for 149th annual exhibition

Will be first large-scale, in-person event in over a year, provided regulations continue as planned

Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.
Chilliwack students overcome adversity to win Beedie Luminaries scholarships

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 students receiving money

Crews work on the construction of Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt near the Vedder River on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack School District shuffling catchment areas as Stitó:s Lá:lém totí:lt construction continues

SD33 is looking for public input about proposed catchment and feeder school options

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read