Colorado's transition to legal marijuana watched by Vancouver
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says, 'The war on drugs hasn't worked'
The City of Vancouver is closely watching Colorado state as it transitions to a legal marijuana regime.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize the sale, purchase and possession of recreational marijuana by adults aged 21 and over. Colorado's pot industry opened in January, and Washington's is expected to open in mid-2014.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says Canada needs follow in the footsteps of its mid-western neighbours to the south.
"We need to see a new approach. The war on drugs hasn't worked. Kids have more access to marijuana than they do to alcohol," he said.
Robertson says Vancouver is keeping a close eye on how Colorado's new pot regime unfolds.
Michael Elliot, executive director of Marijuana Industry Group in Colorado, says so far the state's transition has been smooth and people should not be concerned.
"This has been a very good program. All of the doomsday scenarios that people predicted for Colorado have simply not come true," he said.
Some of those doomsday scenarios included a spike in marijuana use by minors, an increase in impaired driver cases, and rising crime rates. None of which, said Elliot, have come to fruition.
Instead, Elliot said the state has taken control of a commodity that used to be in the hands of organized crime, and is well on its way to building a new billion-dollar industry.
"That money is going to be used for all sorts of programs here in Colorado, particularly building schools."
With files from the CBC's Terry Donnelly