Pubdate: Thu, 08 Nov 2012
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Postmedia Network Inc.
Authors: Ian Austin And Frank Luba
Cited: Stop the Violence BC:


Referendums: Washington State, Colorado Results Will Help Local 
Campaigns, Activists Say

B.C. marijuana activists say propot referendum results in Washington 
state and Colorado will aid them in their quest to decriminalize bud here.

Citizens in those two U.S. states voted to legalize pot Tuesday 
night, and local activists believe the American results should make 
it easier for B.C.ers to vote in a referendum that's now in the works.

"The war on drugs is over," said euphoric pot activist David Malmo 
Levine. "This is the beginning of the end. You put one hole in the 
dam - the water starts rushing faster, and eventually the dam breaks."

Malmo-Levine is curator of , an online presence 
that includes a museum inside Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture 
Headquarters, a multi-storey complex on West Hastings Street that's 
the de facto nerve centre of the campaign to decriminalize B.C. pot.

On the third floor, Greg "Marijuana" Williams invites a Province 
reporter in for a chat, casually rolling a joint and smoking it 
during the interview. Williams points to, a campaign 
aimed at getting a B.C. referendum on the issue, and says 
Washington's thumbs-up to pot can only help.

"It's ground breaking, and it's very exciting," said Williams.

Jodie Emery, who fights for pot reform as her husband Marc languishes 
in jail, said decades of lobbying is finally paying off.

"It's a victory," said Emery. "After decades of trying to educate 
politicians, we're finally seeing the tipping point. It's different 
today - now we can point to an example."

Tourists Sebastien Milleret and Regina Pecanha thought they'd found a 
little slice of heaven, toking up along with others in an upstairs lounge.

"I've been all around the world, and I've never seen a place like 
Vancouver," said Milleret, who hails from Plouider, France.

"The government can make a lot of money off of this."

SFU criminology Prof. Neil Boyd said the move to decriminalize pot is 
complicated - while polls show three out of four B.C.ers support 
decriminalization, the federal government is toughening up pot laws.

"We can't change the law, but non enforcement will still have a big 
impact," said Boyd, pointing to Vancouver where pot use is widespread 
but only six people were charged with possession last year.

While Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday she's happy to let the 
federal government decide, NDP MLA Leonard Krog said the momentum is clear.

"Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come," said Krog, 
who could well be B.C.'s attorney general by the time a referendum is voted on.

Liberal MLA and ex-cop Kash Heed thinks B.C. can learn a lesson from 
Washington state.

"If we think that the Americans are tough on crime, I think they are 
being more realistic on what they can achieve and what they cannot 
achieve," said the Vancouver-Fraserview MLA who was previously 
minister of public safety and solicitor general.

"I'm very disappointed in the lack of leadership coming from Christy 
Clark and (NDP opposition leader) Adrian Dix," said Heed, who has 
joined the Stop the Violence B.C. coalition that's backing pot 
regulation in order to shut down the outlaw gangs producing much of 
the B.C. bud.

But the B.C. government isn't about to follow in Washington's wake. 
B.C. Attorney-General Shirley Bond said, "it's too early to tell what 
the implications might be for our province."

"This morning, Washington and Colorado were already hearing 
commentary about how complicated this is going to be for them to 
implement," she said. "We will be watching how Washington in 
particular moves forward."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom