June 6th. 2015
Dear Jessica McDonald
President and CEO BC Hydro:
I am writing to bring to your attention the fact that there are 93+ illegal marijuana dispensaries operating in the City of Vancouver. If your company is supplying these illegal businesses with hydro power you should seriously consider seeking advice from your legal counsel for being in conflict with the drug laws of Canada and laws pertaining to and potential penalties for facilitating criminal enterprises.
You will find it of benefit to review several court cases that have been filed by plaintiffs in the State of Colorado. These pleadings advance claims for damages from parties who are engaged in aiding and abetting marijuana businesses operating in violation of federal law. The Canadian Federal Government has verified, and made well publicized public statements that the marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver are illegal enterprises. BC Hydro customers should not be known illegal operations.
In Parksville BC, the RCMP closed down a marijuana dispensary and issued a warning to the landlord that if they rent to the company or a company conducting illegal business they could face charges under the provisions of Canadian law that prohibit any business from profiting from crime.
It is the position of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada – a national organization with representation from the medical and legal sectors, that these illegal businesses should be closed and federal drug laws be respected, adhered to.
We ask BC Hydro to comply with Canadian Federal Drugs Laws. We ask that BC Hydro disconnect all hydro service to these illegal businesses immediately and a public statement be made of this action. We respectfully also request that a letter be sent to the Mayor and Council, and the Federal Minister of Health Rona Ambrose that clearly states your actions on this matter.
Member of the Advisory Council of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada (SAMC) Mission:
The mission of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada (SAMC) is to promote a health-first approach to marijuana policy that neither legalizes marijuana, nor demonizes its users. SAMC’s commonsense, third-way approach to marijuana policy is based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety. At SAMC we reject dichotomies — such as “incarceration versus legalization” — that offer only simplistic solutions to the highly complex problems stemming from marijuana use. Our aim is to champion smart policies that decrease marijuana use, like prevention and early intervention. Yet in rejecting legalization, we also do not believe that low-level marijuana users should be saddled with criminal records that stigmatize them for life.
SAMC’s Vision is to:
- inform the public on the science of today’s marijuana;
- have an honest conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to criminal records;
- prevent the expansion of a Big Tobacco-like industry that will target children and vulnerable populations;
- promote scientific research on marijuana in order to obtain scientifically-approved, cannabis-based medications.
SAMC Will Advocate For:
- a complete Health Canada assessment of the impact of marijuana use on Canadian society;
- a public health campaign focused on the harms of marijuana, including the devastating impact on mental and physical health, especially for youth;
- sensible policies that do not legalize marijuana
SAMC’s Actions Will Consist Of:
conducting information briefings for the public and decision makers about the science of today’s marijuana and the evidence of effectiveness for different law makers;
- engaging with the media, key stakeholders, the business community, families, and other sectors of society on the issue of smart marijuana policy;
- advocating, alongside leaders in the medical and scientific fields, for smart marijuana policies that do not legalize nor demonize marijuana;
- advocate for medical education addiction and the harms of marijuana.
Marijuana and Public Health:
People often refer to their own experiences with marijuana, rather than to what science has taught us. No matter what people think about the drug and the policies surrounding it, it is vitally important to be well-versed in the science and public health and safety impacts of marijuana use and addiction:
- Today’s marijuana is four to five times stronger than it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
- One in eleven adults and one in six adolescents who try marijuana for the first time will become addicted to marijuana.
- Because their brains are in development, marijuana acutely affects young people before age 25. Marijuana use directly affects memory, learning, attention, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 28 days after abstinence from use.
- Marijuana use can contribute to psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
- Marijuana use can reduce IQ by six to eight points among those who started smoking before age 18.
Marijuana and the Criminal Justice System
Statistics show that very few people are actually in prison for simple marijuana-only possession. Majority of offenders in Canada who are sentenced to prison have a prior criminal history or are found in possession of marijuana while committing other serious offences such as impaired driving or domestic violence. For instance, in 2011 in British Columbia, only 3% of founded cases of marijuana possession were cleared by a charge. And of that 3%, only seven cases (1.3% of the 3%) resulted in a custody sentence.
Marijuana and Big Business
Tobacco companies lied to Canada for more than a century about the dangers of smoking. They deliberately targeted kids and had doctors promote cigarettes as medicine. And today we are paying the price. Tobacco use is our nation’s top cause of preventable death and contributes to about 37,000 deaths each year. Tobacco use costs our country at least $17 billion annually — which is about 3 times the amount of money our state and federal governments collect from today’s taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. If it is legalized, marijuana will be commercialized just as tobacco was. The examples of tobacco and alcohol should teach us that legalizing any third substance would be a public health disaster.
Hall W & Degenhard L. (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374.
Andréasson S, et al. (1987). Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet, 2(8574).
Meier, M.H. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Pauls, K., et al. (2013). The nature and extent of marijuana possession in British Columbia. University of Fraser Valley Center for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research.
Source: www.learnabout.ca June 2015
 Wagner, F.A. & Anthony, J.C. (2002). From first drug use to drug dependence; developmental periods of risk for dependence upon cannabis, cocaine, and alcohol. Neuropsychopharmacology 26.
 Hall W & Degenhard L. (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374.
 Andréasson S, et al. (1987). Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet, 2(8574).
 Meier, M.H. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 Pauls, K., et al. (2013). The nature and extent of marijuana possession in British Columbia. University of Fraser Valley Center for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research.