Village wants pot regulated

Earlier hesitations go up in smoke as Lumby looks to blaze criminal activity

Another North Okanagan community is demanding marijuana be decriminalized.

Members of Lumby council voted Monday to ask senior government to regulate and tax cannabis products.

“It will put cannabis in the same category as alcohol and tobacco. Authorities would be able to control the product,” said Coun. Nick Hodge.

Similar stances have already been taken by Vernon, Enderby, Armstrong and Lake Country.

For Hodge, government control of marijuana would reduce the activities of criminal organizations.

“It would cut off 70 per cent of their funding,” he said of gangs.

Mayor Kevin Acton also wants changes to the laws.

“Prohibition is not working. The government needs to find a better way to do it,” he said.

Stop the Violence B.C., which wants marijuana regulated, made a presentation to council in April but a decision was delayed until Monday so more information, including from the RCMP, could be obtained.

The federal government is responsible for drug laws and it has indicated that it will not decriminalize marijuana. However, Hodge believes Ottawa won’t be able to ignore the pressure coming from communities like Lumby.

“It’s a symbolic act but 40 years ago, a (federal) commission stated it should be regulated,” he said.

But while he supported the motion for regulation, Acton admits he has some reservations about  decriminalization.

“I have talked to several police officers and doctors and they are not in favour of it,” he said.

“There’s a concern that if we decriminalize marijuana, everyone will have access to it. It’s still a health issue.”