Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2013
Source: Powell River Peak (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Peak Publishing Ltd.
Author: Chris Bolster
Cited: Sensible BC:


Organizers Push for September Start

Come this fall Powell River residents will likely find themselves 
answering the door to a canvasser and being asked to sign a petition 
to decriminalize pot. Sensible BC director Dana Larsen is currently 
touring around the province drumming up support for the marijuana 
referendum campaign.

"Our work is to build momentum, get people excited about the campaign 
and to register several thousand British Columbians as signature 
gathers," said Larsen.

Elections BC has given approval in principle for a proposed law which 
would effectively decriminalize marijuana possession in the province. 
The proposed law, called the Sensible Policing Act, would direct the 
attorney general, who sets policing priorities in the province, to 
not put any resources into enforcing federal laws pertaining to 
marijuana possession for adults. It would also call on Ottawa to 
allow BC to begin legally taxing and regulating cannabis much like 
alcohol and tobacco.

Larsen has less than six weeks to sign up as many canvassers as he 
can throughout BC's 85 electoral ridings to be ready for the 
September 9 signature-collecting start. To gather signatures, 
Elections BC must approve each canvasser who must be a registered voter.

To trigger a referendum on the act, canvassers will need to collect a 
total of roughly 400,000 signatures, or about 10 per cent of 
registered voters in each riding.

"We know the public support is out there," said Larsen. "Our polling 
and other polling consistently shows over 70 per cent of British 
Columbians want our legislation to become law."

Despite the polling numbers of public support, collecting the 
required number of signatures will nevertheless be challenging. 
According to Elections BC, out of nine previous initiative 
applications approved since 1995, only one has obtained the required 
number of signatures-to repeal the harmonized sales tax. The next 
scheduled initiative vote will be September 27, 2014.

City of Powell River Councillor Debbie Dee is helping to organize the 
local charge for Sensible BC. She is assisting with gathering people 
who want to be local campaign canvassers.

"Come September we'll be out in full force," said Dee.

She estimates that locally canvassers need about 800 people to sign 
the petition for a referendum.

For more information about Sensible BC, readers can visit its website 
( ). To sign up as a canvasser, interested 
readers can contact Dee at  t.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom