Pubdate: Fri, 07 Dec 2012
Source: Cowichan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Cowichan News Leader
Author: Peter Rusland
Cited: Sensible BC:


Call off B.C.'s police from busting folks with pot for personal use, 
then lobby Ottawa to legalize and tax marijuana.

That's basically the three-year, two-step plan being pitched by 
decriminalization advocate Dana Larsen who's visiting the Cowichan 
Library Monday at 6 p.m., then Mill Bay's Kerry Park Recreation 
Centre Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Pivotal to Larsen's push - called Sensible BC - is the province's 
Sensible Policing Act.

It could order all B.C. cops to stop spending time or resources 
searching, seizing or arresting anyone for simple cannabis 
possession, explained the director of Vancouver's Medical Cannabis Dispensary.

"Lawyers at Elections B.C. have confirmed this (act) legislation is 
within provincial jurisdiction and suitable for a referendum," said 
Larsen, 41, a former B.C. NDP leadership candidate.

But staging that referendum means officially collecting 10% of voters 
signatures in each of B.C.'s 85 provincial ridings, a feat similar to 
what was done two years ago to dump the HST.

So Larsen's touring and assembling volunteers to gain those 
400,000-some names needed within a 90-day window, between September 
to November 2013.

"We're registering people, and plan to start the clock ticking in September."

If successful, Elections B.C. would hold a Sensible Policing Act 
referendum in September 2014 - then bring on Prime Minister Stephen 
Harper's federal Conservatives, who've stated they won't legalize cannabis.

"If we win the referendum in 2014, I don't expect Stephen Harper 
would be that supportive (of legalization) but there's an election in 
2015," said Larsen.

"If Harper's defeated, it would definitely make it easier for us to 
make change on this in B.C."

His drive follows recent votes to legalize ganja in Washington and 
Colorado states, lending the Sensible B.C. campaign a boost.

"Our legislation would also decriminalize possession in B.C., and set 
up a commission to figure out the rules and regulations needed to 
create a legally regulated system in our province, when the feds say 
'Yes'," he said of issues spanning medical-cannabis dispensing, 
labeling, tax rates, marijuana shops, home-growing and more.

Legalizing cannabis would also unclog B.C.'s courts, steal money from 
gangs, and hand Victoria an estimated $500 million in annual 
revenues, Larsen said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom