Pubdate: Fri, 30 Aug 2013
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Coast Reporter
Author: Christine Wood


Finding Coasters to canvass for signatures to decriminalize pot 
possession wasn't difficult for pot activist Dana Larsen, who stopped 
in Sechelt Aug. 27.

Larsen is on a tour across the province with Sensible BC to sign up 
people willing to collect the signatures needed to send the Sensible 
Policing Act to referendum next year. On the Coast he found the 25 
canvassers he was looking for in just a few hours.

"We've hit our target but we're always willing to take more," Larsen 
said, noting, "this is one of the districts that will be ready early 
on in the campaign."

Larsen has toured much of B.C. and currently has about 1,200 
canvassers registered to collect signatures come Sept. 9, when the 
campaign officially begins. He estimates about 2,500 canvassers are 
needed to amass enough signatures to send the Sensible Policing Act 
to referendum.

Sensible BC needs at least 400,000 signatures on their petition to 
decriminalize cannabis through the Act in order to have it sent to 
referendum in September 2014.

The process to get the issue to referendum is the same one taken to 
quash the HST in 2011.

"I'm cautiously optimistic about our chances," Larsen said, noting 
he's found support for the plan throughout the Interior and northern 
B.C. as well as Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. "What I've 
got to do really over the next 10 days or so is build up our network 
in the Lower Mainland. We've got a lot of supporters, but there are a 
lot of signatures we need in that area, too. But overall I think we 
are in the same general area that the fight HST campaign was at this 
time, and we have a very good chance of making this come true."

The Sensible Policing Act would decriminalize marijuana possession in 
B.C. and prohibit police in the province from using "any police 
resources, including member time, on investigations, searches, 
seizures, citations, arrests or detentions related solely to simple 
possession of cannabis," the Sensible BC website states.

The act would not impact the laws around trafficking, possession for 
the purposes of trafficking or cultivation, and minors found in 
possession of marijuana would be treated the same as if they were 
found in possession of alcohol.

If the act is passed by the majority of British Columbians through 
referendum, Larsen said his group would then push the federal 
government to remove marijuana from the Controlled Drugs and 
Substances Act or give B.C. an exemption, so the province is able to 
tax and regulate the drug.

Watch for canvassers to start collecting signatures on the Coast on 
Sept. 9. The campaign to collect signatures ends on Dec. 5.

For more information, see .
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom