What coalition members are saying

Past and current members of law enforcement and the legal community

[button link=”http://www.youtube.com/stoptheviolencebc#p/a/u/2/6iMN6HkM-D0″ color=”orange” window=”yes”]Video statements[/button]

David Bratzer, Police Officer and Board of Directors, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

“Marijuana prohibition may be well-intentioned, but my personal opinion is that it has failed in BC and around the world. Prohibition has created a huge and violent criminal enterprise that is becoming more dangerous with each passing day, and I strongly support controlled marijuana legalization as an effective way to fight crime and protect our communities.”

Vince Cain, Retired RCMP Chief Superintendent and Former BC Chief Coroner:

“As a retired RCMP Chief Superintendent and Chief Coroner for British Columbia, I have witnessed the devastating human consequences, and social and economic costs, attributable to this drug prohibition. In BC, much of the organized crime and interrelated violence springs from marijuana prohibition. Well past the point of no return, common sense cries out to replace the long tried, but failed, model, with a public health vision and plan. A multi-disciplinary approach to these long standing issues will largely eliminate organized crime (gang) profits, generate public tax revenue and establish more positive, constructive avenues of control for all affected agencies. There is no time like the present.”

Ross Lander, Retired Justice, BC Supreme Court:

“I have read the report produced by the Stop Violence B.C. Coalition. With its contents I agree in all respects. I am providing this statement as a now retired Justice of the Supreme Court ofBritish Columbia and the opinions expressed are my thoughts alone as a citizen of Canada. The word futile is the most apt word to describe the long and unsuccessful “War on Drugs.” My experience as a trial judge has shown me that greed is a primary motivation of drug dealers who are averse to honest labour and obtaining tax free income from trafficking in cannabis–the monies obtained from illicit sales are staggering. When the courts impose harsh sentences on convicted drug dealers there are invariably some person or persons willing to fill the publics’ insatiable demand for marijuana. This is why I support the regulated sale of marijuana–not just in in B.C., but in Canada as a whole. Over time it is obvious that the police and judicial systems cannot extinguish the illicit production and sale of cannabis.”

Randie Long, Former Federal Prosecutor (Nanaimo):

“As a federal prosecutor who regularly dealt with marijuana offences, I can say with confidence that the criminal justice approach is an ineffective and ultimately harmful strategy for addressing marijuana use, possession, and trafficking in BC. Society is beginning to recognize that marijuana illegality rather than the drug itself is driving much of the crime and violence and it’s time the courts caught up.”

Walter McKay, Former Police Officer and Consultant, WM Consulting and Director of International Affairs and Founder, Asociación Mexicana de Reducción de Riesgos y Daños:

“I am 100% behind this report, its findings and its recommendations. The carnage that has been wrought upon Mexico, its people and its institutions, through Calderón’s war on drugs, cannot be solely blamed on prohibition. However, it is my firm belief that the policies of prohibition, especially of marijuana, directly contributed to the over 47,000 people who have been killed in drug-war related violence in this country since 2007.  As a former Vancouver Police officer who worked the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown East-side I was directly exposed to the multitude of victims who needlessly suffered for their addictions due to Canada´s prohibitionist stance with regards to marijuana.”



Neil Boyd, LLM; Professor & Associate Director, School of Criminology, SFU:

“The criminal prohibition of cannabis in Canada has been a dismal failure. In the past 30 years the price has decreased, and availability has increased. Changes in rates of use cannot be systematically related to law enforcement activities or to any legislative changes. In the absence of careful regulation, consumers continue to consume a product without adequate information about its risks, and our policies continue to reward dealers and growers, without any corresponding public benefits.”

Thomas Kerr, PhD; Director, Urban Health Research Initiative, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine, UBC

Click the image to hear Dr. Kerr speak about why he supports Stop the Violence BC.

“Our research group has long been studying issues related to drug policy and, in particular, some of the social problems that come out of illicit drug use, such as violence at a broader level. We’re also very interested in the way in which the criminalization of drug use contributes to drug-related harm. And right now is a very important time to be looking at that issue as we’re seeing a massive growth in organized crimes and related violence here in British Columbia. In particular, many people are aware that the cannabis trade has grown exponentially, there’s a huge amount of concern about the threats to safety that that causes within our communities, and for good reasons. Right now we are trying to critically evaluate that situation, and to come up with some solutions. And because our group has long been interested in drug policy, this is a natural fit for us.”

Jean Shoveller, PhD; Professor & CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair, School of Population & Public Health, UBC and Senior Scholar, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

“I am very supportive of the coalition’s call for a public discussion about cannabis regulation within public health framework. These discussions would represent a new way to find effective strategies to address both crime and public health concerns – and, moreover, offers positive momentum towards reducing violence in our communities.”


Medical and public health professionals

Terri Betts, BScPharm, ACPR; Clinical Coordinator, Pharmacy, Lions Gate Hospital:

“It is very clear that the current strategy of prohibition of cannabis is not having the desired effect. In fact, the consequences are detrimental to public health and safety. We need to remove the “glamour” of cannabis use for adolescents, and the profits for organized crime, by regulating it. Taxation revenue could be directed to substance abuse treatment programs, and resources currently used for law enforcement could be redirected to investigating and prosecuting more serious crimes.”

Timothy Temple, MBBS, CCFP, FRSA; Physician, Dept. of Family Practice, UBC:

“After 35 years in Family Practice in BC, caring for many addicted patients, & being a strong supporter of evidence based practice with a holistic/empathic approach to care; I fully support the call for a change in the regulation of cannabis.”

Caroline Ferris, MD, CCFP, FCFP; Physician, Creekside Withdrawal Management Centre and Clinical Instructor, Dept. of Family Practice, UBC and Clinical Faculty Team, Dept. of Family Practice Residency Program, UBC

“I support measures which help ensure a safe supply of cannabis for medical users, and helps to eliminate cannabis-related criminal behaviour at the supply end as well as violent acts such as grow-rips, beatings and other gang activity.”