VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The push to legalize marijuana in Canada is gaining more momentum after eight BC mayors threw their support behind the cause yesterday.

Does that influence what you believe? We hit the streets this morning to find out.

It could be zero or 100 mayors backing legalization; we spoke with one man who feel so strongly about the drug debate, his opinion wouldn’t change. “I think it should be legalized — always have. It’s no different than alcohol. It’s probably better than alcohol.”

He feels in some ways, pot-related issues may be easier to police than situations involving alcohol.

Another man feels it can’t hurt to have the backing of politicians but “[just because] they’re involved, I don’t think it really changes my mind. I never thought it was as harmful as nicotine.”

We spoke with one woman who she doesn’t care about what politicians have to say when it comes to ending pot prohibition, saying she’s done her own research. “I was pretty educated about pot before all these other people decided to come out of the woodwork and support it.”

“We can get a lot of natural resources from pot. We can make paper; we don’t have to cut down as many trees. It can [also] produce an oil,” she argues.

Many supporters of legalizing marijuana are calling on the governments to grow it, sell it and tax it.

Municipalities whose mayors support the legalization of marijuana:

Vancouver (Gregor Robertson)
City of North Vancouver (Darrell Mussatto)
Burnaby (Derek Corrigan)
Vernon (Robert Sawatzky)
Lake Country (James Baker)
Armstrong (Chris Pieper)
Enderby (Howie Cyr)
Metchosin (John Ranns)

Click here to read the mayors’ letter to the premier and leaders of the NDP and BC Conservatives.

Legalization depends on who’s in power: Criminologist

Decriminalization may happen within our lifetime, but it’s going to be a slow process.

“Government policy around it is irrational and has been irrational for a long, long time,” argues SFU Criminologist Rob Gordon.

He agrees pot prohibition doesn’t work, but he’s not confident anything can be done at the municipal or provincial level. “There would have to be changes to criminal legislation governing drugs. There would have to be some kind of change of guard in Ottawa.”

“Whatever we do in Canada about… marijuana would have to be matched by similar initiatives coming out of the United States,” explains Gordon.

Despite the calls to decriminalize pot, Gordon doesn’t see the Harper government making a change. “They don’t want to move ahead on something controversial like this if it’s going to cost them their job.”

He says he could see decriminalization happen eventually, but it would take years. Gordon points to California’s narrowly defeated referendum to regulate weed and the growth of the medical marijuana industry as a possible shift to decriminalization.