On the heels of four former Vancouver mayors endorsing a coalition calling for an end to pot prohibition in Canada, Burnaby's mayor weighed in with his thoughts, albeit with a caveat.
"I'm not a part of the old mayor's club yet," said Derek Corrigan. "There's a certain freedom you have as a former mayor to make public statements that you don't have as a sitting mayor. - This is not traditionally a municipal issue, but on a personal level, I do think it is time the government ended the prohibition on marijuana.
"It's caused a great deal of problems in society and I do think we need to find some kind of solution to decriminalizing marijuana."
Larry Campbell, Mike Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen all signed an open letter to politicians in B.C. Wednesday claiming a change in the law will reduce gang violence.
The former mayors support the position of the Stop the Violence B.C. coalition, which recently released a survey showing most B.C. residents favour an end to the current marijuana laws.
The letter states "marijuana prohibition is - without question - a failed policy."
"It is creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities and fear among our citizens, and adding financial costs for all levels of government at a time when we can least afford them. Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer and must develop and deliver alternative marijuana policies that avoid the social and criminal harms that stem directly from cannabis prohibition," the letter says.
The letter was sent to MPs, members of the provincial legislature and city councillors and is designed to drive debate on new marijuana policies.
"It is unconscionable, unacceptable and unreasonable that the criminal element in B.C. is allowed to grow and thrive in B.C. due to inaction on the part of the politicians," Sullivan told The National Post. "Politicians must play a key role in the development of new policies that can really provide safer, stronger communities."
Sullivan served 12 years as a city councillor before serving as mayor of Vancouver from 2005 to 2008.
Corrigan reiterated that any move to decriminalize marijuana would have to come at the federal level.
"I don't think you can argue that a lot of criminal activities are associated with marijuana," said Corrigan. "I believe if you decriminalize marijuana, you would go a long way to solving some of those problems."