Pubdate: Thu, 17 Oct 2013
Source: Peace Arch News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Peace Arch News
Author: Dana Larsen



Re: B.C. marijuana referendum misguided, Oct. 8.

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

The ultimate aim of Sensible BC 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 
over 16,500 arrests for marijuana possession, draining $10.5 million 
in police and court time away from investigation of more serious 
criminal offences. If Sensible BC is successful, tens of thousands of 
hours of police and court time would immediately be freed up to 
pursue real criminals. 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.

Third, the Sensible Policing 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 
and give our prime minister the mandate to legalize.

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

B.C. cannot fully legalize marijuana without a change to federal law, 
but we can take steps in the right direction.

Dana Larsen, Sensible BC
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom