Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 20


B.C. should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, becoming Canada's 
version of Washington state, says former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed.

Suzanne Anton, the current attorney general and minister of justice, 
says it's an issue for the federal government, but Heed and others 
want B.C. to lead the way on pot policy.

"B.C. could do it in a responsible way, if there was the political 
will provincially," said Heed, who also served as the commanding 
officer of the Vancouver Police Department's drug squad. "It's time 
for them to take a position on this at the provincial level, absolutely.

"Washington state is doing it responsibly," he said. "I'm hoping in 
Canada, we follow a similar responsible pattern, when - and I won't 
say 'if,' I think it's 'when' - we get to the legalization."

Heed, who works as a consultant for medical marijuana producers, said 
Thursday he is not currently planning another run for political office.

Asked about legalization, Anton said in an email: "We're certainly 
watching the events in the U.S. with interest," but deferred to 
Ottawa, saying: "This falls under the Controlled Drugs and Substances 
Act, which is a federal issue."

Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in 
HIV/AIDS, said with the collaboration of various levels of 
government, British Columbians "have a long track record of 
challenging the status quo ... in ways that have been previously felt 
to be unthinkable. The case in point is Insite," Vancouver's 
supervised drug injection site.

Montaner pointed out that when Insite opened in 2003, it was illegal 
to operate such a facility. But, they were able to open under a 
Section 56 exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

A similar exemption could be one way to explore creative, 
evidence-based approaches to marijuana, he said.
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