Pubdate: Wed, 16 Oct 2013
Source: Saanich News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Saanich News
Author: Dana Larsen


Re: B.C. marijuana referendum misguided (BC Views, Oct.9)

Tom Fletcher's recent editorial misrepresented the Sensible B.C. 
campaign, and could lead to confusion about our efforts for a 
marijuana referendum.

The ultimate aim of Sensible B.C. is to have B.C.'s marijuana 
industry regulated in a similar manner to wine. Our proposed 
legislation, the Sensible Policing Act, is designed to bring us 
closer to that goal. The Sensible Policing Act has four components, 
all carefully designed to be within provincial jurisdiction.

The first aspect is to redirect police resources away from being 
wasted on simple possession of marijuana. Last year, B.C. police made 
more than 16,500 arrests for marijuana possession, draining $10.5 
million in police and court time away from the investigation of other 
criminal offences.

If Sensible B.C. is successful, tens of thousands of police and court 
hours would be freed up. This means safer communities for everyone, 
and less backlog in our courts.

Second, our legislation treats a minor in possession of marijuana 
exactly the same as if it were alcohol. This allows police to deal 
with a teenager smoking pot, but without the lifetime criminal record 
that can restrict travel and employment.

Third, the act calls upon the federal government to repeal marijuana 
prohibition, so that B.C. can regulate and tax it in a manner similar 
to wine and beer. This would send a powerful message of change to 
Ottawa, and give our prime minister the mandate to legalize.

Finally, our legislation creates a B.C. commission to create rules 
for implementing legalization. Like alcohol and tobacco, most of the 
regulation for legal marijuana would be determined at the provincial level.

B.C. cannot fully legalize marijuana without a change to federal law, 
but we can take some sensible steps in the right direction. That is 
what Sensible B.C. is all about.

Dana Larsen

Sensible B.C. campaign
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom