Editorial — Pot forum is very topical

A panel discussion on marijuana legalization and decriminalization is most topical, given all the changes in events.

While some people in Langley Township hall may wish it wasn’t so, there is an active discussion going on about whether marijuana should be legalized or not.

The discussion has moved to another level since November, when  Washington state voters decided to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, and make it available at commercial outlets. The same thing happened in Colorado.

This is taking place despite the fact that, at the federal level, marijuana possession remains illegal in the United States.

Here in Canada, marijuana is legal when grown for medicinal purposes. People have been able to grow their own if they hold medicinal marijuana licences. The federal government is changing that, due to problems at homes and businesses where marijuana is being grown. Soon,  those with medicinal licences will have to purchase marijuana from outlets such as drug stores.

As a result of all these changes, and a strong desire by many B.C. residents to see legal pot sales and allow possession of at least some quantity of marijuana, a public discussion of this issue is most appropriate.

Sensible B.C., a pro-marijuana advocacy group, is holding a series of panel discussions on the topic. It wanted to use Langley Township’s council chambers, but was initially told by the Township that it could not allow the organization ‘to advocate for what at this time is an illegal activity.”

Among those taking part in the panel discussions are current MLA and former police chief Kash Heed, Vancouver councillor and former Green Party leader Adriane Carr, and others.

The panel discussions are being held in many communities.

Dana Larsen, a longtime and at times controversial drug activist who is working with Sensible B.C., said that the Township has no business denying use of its facilities — and he’s right.

While it is possible that most members of Langley Township council  oppose any change to marijuana laws (and The Times does not know what their opinions are on the issue), the personal opinions of council or Township staff should not be an issue when a group asks to rent a Township facility.

The Township has belatedly made the right decision to allow this discussion to go ahead in its facility.