VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Police and politicians on this side of the border seem to want to avoid the discussion on legalizing and taxing marijuana, despite new drug policies approved by voters this week in both Washington State and Colorado. Some say it’s an issue that’s out of their hands.

News1130 asked Vancouver Police Chief and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police President Jim Chu if it’s time for law enforcement to engage in the discussion.

“That’s an American issue,” he says. “I don’t have much to say about it. You know, I’m aware of what happened in Washington State and we’ll see how it plays out.”

“It’s an interesting issue,” adds Chu. “Right now, we have existing laws and use our discretion in enforcing them. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have a position on drug enforcement and I can tell you that in Vancouver, we use our discretion. There’s very seldom occasions when we’ll arrest someone for simple possession.”

His comments and those of others come despite a list of local dignitaries calling for pot to be legalized and taxed. Premier Christy Clark and Justice Minister Shirley Bond say it’s a matter for the feds to deal with. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said it won’t happen while he’s in power.

Chu, meanwhile, refutes the argument from some experts that legalized marijuana in Washington State will curb gang violence in BC.

“We’re always looking for ways to reduce gang violence,” he says. “One of our concerns is that when one line of business dries up, the gangsters move to another line of business.”