BC has the power to set police priorities and direct resources
Canadian provinces have jurisdiction over policing and the administration of justice. BC has the responsibility of funding the police, and setting police priorities.
All police in BC are under the authority of the Police Act, an act of the BC Legislature. This includes both RCMP and municipal police.
Sensible BC proposes an amendment to the Police Act, instructing police not to spend any time, money or resources on cases of simple possession of cannabis.
This simple change, called the Sensible Policing Act, would effectively decriminalize the possession of cannabis in BC, while leaving the rest of the laws in place.
This would be similar to how BC joined with seven other provinces in refusing to expend any resources enforcing the federal Firearms Act, because they did not support the Long Gun Registry.
Decriminalization will save money and increase public safety
Decriminalizing the simple possession of cannabis in this manner will save taxpayers money, help unclog our justice system and stop young people from having their lives ruined over a joint. This is the first step towards a more sensible cannabis policy.
Cost savings: BC is spending more and more every year to charge people for simple possession of cannabis. The number of possession charges laid in BC more than doubled between 2005 and 2010. In this time of fiscal uncertainty, we should be spending taxpayer dollars more carefully.
Public safety: Arresting and charging people for simple possession of cannabis wastes police resources which could be better spent dealing with real crime. Let’s ensure police are empowered to direct their time and resources dealing with serious criminals, and not bothering about someone peacefully smoking a joint.
Public opinion: The latest polls show that the vast majority of British Columbians agree with Sensible BC that possession of cannabis should not lead to a criminal record, and that over two-thirds support marijuana being legally taxed and regulated. These views are consistent in all regions of the province and among voters for all parties.
WHO SUPPORTS DECRIMINALIZATION?
There is a growing consensus that the prohibition of marijuana causes harm and is not the best way to deal with the issues around marijuana use.
Law enforcement officials, academics, public health officials and political leaders from across the spectrum have all been speaking out against marijuana prohibition.
Union of BC Municipalities