Vancouver Councillor Jang Trying to Understand Why Liberals Rejected Decriminalization

Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang said the Liberal rejection of an NDP motion to decriminalize cannabis in the House of Commons doesn’t make sense.

“I’m trying to understand what they’re trying to accomplish,” Jang said.

Jang said the Liberal rational for keeping cannabis illegal until their own legalization program is in place — that it would only help organized crime — is the reason Vancouver police already don’t charge residents for petty possession.

Jang said police can still go after organized crime even while ignoring personal possession, especially if personal possession was decriminalized.

“Instead of the cops writing up a report for a kid, [they’d] go after big-time pot dealers and trafficking,” he said.

Jang is leading the City of Vancouver‘s efforts to regulate the growing cannabis dispensary market.

“Our public policy goes to keep the shops away from schools and community centres,” Jang said. “Those shops that failed our test will have to close, because they’re too close. It’s no different than what we’d expect from a liquor store.”

According to Jang, the Liberals are being cautious around anything related to cannabis until their own policy is put into place.

“But as we’re seeing in many jurisdictions, the police are prioritizing as the real situation dictates,” he said. “In our city it’s organized crime, so let’s focus [enforcement] there.”