After a wave of gang violence, Trevor Loke and Paul Hillsdon want real solutions. So a week ago, they announced that they would put on a rally against gang violence.
The rally against gangs yesterday was very successful. The Mayor of Surrey and members of the provincial legislature and federal parliament spoke along with victims of gang violence. At east 250 people attended, as well as every major radio and television news outlet. A town hall meeting is next, along with recommendations from the community.
The rally was also extremely disappointing in some ways. Green Party of BC Leader Jane Sterk was the only speaker to question prohibition or even link as the main cause of gangs. One speaker even blamed the opposition parties of parliament for attempting to form a coalition government when she believed that MP’s should have been following the ultra right-wing Conservative Party as they mimic America’s failed “War on Drugs”.
The rest of the speakers either avoided the issue or incorrectly linked drugs as the cause of gangs. Remember, there are no gangs making money off of Prozac, Ibuprofen, morphine or alcohol. Gangs only control illegal substances–name one legal thing that gangs control or make money off of…
Some of the attendees were baffled when they were informed that regulation of cannabis would reduce gangs. One even naively said “Gangs would love that.” I have spoken to a couple of drug dealers in the past about the issue of prohibition and they were very clear and outspoken that they would hate to see marijuana legalized because they would be unable to compete in an open market.
Regulation of cannabis would eliminate 8 BILLION DOLLARS from the pockets of organized crime in British Columbia. 8 BILLION DOLLARS. 8 BILLION DOLLARS–Gone–every year. Gangs would not like that, and most would be eliminated or crippled.
Regulation of drugs will not fix the problem entirely, but it is the easiest, quickest, cheapest way to reduce gangs and gang violence. When will the politicians of Canada align their policies with the will of the Canadian people, who do not support the criminalization of marijuana? How badly does the war on drugs have to fail before we are ready to accept the solutions? How many more need to die?