Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jul 2013
Source: Burnaby Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Cayley Dobie
Cited: Sensible BC:


As Sensible B.C.'s petition campaign to decriminalize marijuana
continues to dominate media coverage, Elections B.C. is looking to
clarify a reoccurring inaccuracy.

If the petition - to be released on Sept. 9 - gathers enough
signatures within a 90-day time frame, it won't necessarily result in
a referendum, according to Elections B.C. "Initiative (votes) and
referendums are two very different things. Initiative petitions are
legislations governed by the Recall and Initiative Act," said Don
Main, communications manager for Elections B.C. "Any registered voter
can apply for an initiative petition to propose a new law or to
propose changes to an existing law."

This requires the applicant, in this case Sensible B.C., to draft a
bill to amend provincial legislation. Sensible B.C. submitted its
application to Elections B.C., including the Sensible Policing Act,
which aims to amend the current Police Act, prohibiting officers from
arresting people in possession of marijuana.

"They have 90 days to collect signatures of 10 per cent of the
registered voters in each one of the 85 electoral districts," Main
explained. "There about 3.16 million registered voters in B.C., so
they're going to have to collect over 316,000 signatures."

And if one riding fails to get the required 10 per cent, the petition
fails, he added.

When the required signatures have been collected, Sensible B.C. will
submit the petition to Elections B.C. for verification.

Elections B.C. has 42 days to go over the petition and then, if there
are no issues, the initiative petition and draft bill are submitted to
a committee in Victoria.

"Then it's up to that select standing committee to do one of two
things. They can either submit the draft bill to the Legislative
Assembly to debate in the House, or they can send the draft bill back
to Elections B.C. to conduct what is called an initiative vote," Main

For more on this story, see an extended version online at
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MAP posted-by: Matt