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Former Vancouver mayors call for softening of marijuana laws

A young marijuana plant thriving in the basement of a grow operation, May 27, 2003.

Darryl James/ The Globe and Mail/Darryl James/ The Globe and Mail

Four former Vancouver mayors say it's time B.C. politicians led the fight to revise Canada's marijuana laws.

Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan have signed an open letter to every municipal, provincial and federal politician in B.C.

The letter says ending the prohibition on marijuana would help stamp out the gang violence associated with the illegal drug trade.

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The former mayors urge politicians to consider alternatives such as legalization and regulation, saying those policies will increase taxes to government, remove illicit profits that lead to gang violence, and eliminate costly legal proceedings.

Mr. Sullivan, who served as mayor of Vancouver from 2005 to 2008, says it's unacceptable that the criminal element is allowed to flourish in B.C. because of political inaction.

He says politicians must play a key role in the development of new policies that can provide safer, stronger communities.

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