Pubdate: Tue, 15 Oct 2013
Source: Surrey Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Surrey Leader
Author: Jeff Nagel


But Sensible BC Predicts Slow Sign-Up Start Will Accelerate

Pot reformers have fallen short of their sign-up target for the first 
third of their campaign to force a provincial referendum on marijuana 

Sensible BC spokesman Dana Larsen said the campaign had 65,000 
signatures as of Oct. 9 - 15,000 less than their aim of 80,000 by the 
30-day mark of the 90-day petition drive.

"We're a little bit behind the target we set," Larsen said, adding 
getting canvassers officially registered has proven more onerous than expected.

But he remains confident the campaign can succeed in getting the 
signatures of 10 per cent of eligible voters in every B.C. district.

That would take 300,000 signatures in total, but Larsen said the aim 
is for 450,000 or 15 per cent in each riding to provide a buffer 
against signatures that are declared invalid.

The campaign aims to pass legislation that would bar police from 
spending any time or resources enforcing the federal law against 
possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Its goal is to use that as a starting point to work towards broader 
cannabis legalization.

Defeat in any single district means the petition campaign fails.

And even if it succeeds, a referendum is not automatic - the 
Legislature could introduce the proposed Sensible Policing Act but 
not put it to a vote.

If it was sent to another referendum it could be non-binding - the 
HST referendum after a successful Fight HST petition was binding only 
because Premier Gordon Campbell declared it so.

Fight HST also had many more signatures at their 30-day mark - more 
than 300,000 - and wrapped up with 705,000.

"They got a lot more than they actually needed," Larsen said. "They 
could have done it with less."

Larsen said canvassers have already got nearly enough signatures in 
Vancouver districts like the West End and along False Creek.

Most Interior and Northern districts are also doing well, with about 
a third of the signatures gathered, and campaigns are running ahead 
of schedule in Nelson, Kelowna and Kamloops.

Suburban ridings in Metro Vancouver, including Surrey and Coquitlam, 
have proven more challenging.

"Surrey is a bit of an issue. It's a lot of districts in one city and 
a lot of people that we need."

Canvassers from Vancouver will be sent to those areas as Vancouver 
ridings wrap up, Larsen said.

So far, Sensible BC has 3,000 canvassers registered, up from 1,600 
when they launched.

Larsen expects the canvasser count will grow to 4,000 by the early 
December deadline, but that would be well short of Fight HST's 6,500 

Petition locations are on the Sensible BC website at
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom