Pubdate: Thu, 15 Aug 2013
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Alina Konevski


A group of Chilliwack residents are preparing for a massive street 
campaign to gather signatures in support of marijuana decriminalization.

"I personally think we're just misinformed...I don't think it 
(marijuana's) being illegal is justified," said local volunteer 
coordinator Ceara Sinead Doyle.

About 40 Chilliwack volunteers have so far signed on to a provincial 
campaign to gather 400,000 signatures, representing 10 per cent of 
B.C. voters. This would trigger a provincial referendum in 2014 to 
decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The organizing group, Sensible B.C., wants the province to pass a 
so-called Sensible Policing Act, which will stop police from 
searching or arresting people in B.C. for small cases of possession. 
The group terms the amendment "sensible" because it would purportedly 
save police time and resources.

Doyle believes there is "definitely" a strong pro-decriminalization 
undercurrent in Chilliwack.

"I think that we're coming to an understanding now. We're not in the 
dark ages anymore. We have the internet. We can do our own research, 
instead of just believing the stuff you hear," she said.

Doyle has witnessed the beneficial side of light marijuana use, such 
as when her grandmother used pills derived from the main chemical in 
cannabis to manage pain related to ovarian cancer.

Doyle is now looking for more volunteers to collect signatures in 
Chilliwack, and emphasizes that those interested need not necessarily 
go door-knocking.

"If they have a network of people that they know supporting it, then 
they could sign up as a canvasser and then just get their friends and 
family to sign. Because it helps a lot."

In an effort to rally canvassers and supporters, the founder of 
Sensible B.C. is stopping in Chilliwack during his provincial tour. 
Dana Larsen will be at Evergreen Hall's Minto Room (9291 Corbould 
Street) at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18.

Elections B.C. granted approval in principle for the petition drive.

Sensible B.C. is using the same voter initiative system that forced 
the repeal of the harmonized sales tax in B.C. The group will have 90 
days starting Sept. 9 to collect signatures from 10 per cent of 
registered provincial voters in each of B.C.'s 85 electoral districts.

If that target is met, a province-wide vote would be held on the proposed law.

Individuals and groups have until Aug. 12 to register with Elections 
BC to oppose the initiative by advertising and collecting signatures 
against the initiative.

- - with files from Tom Fletcher
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom