Pubdate: Wed, 23 Oct 2013
Source: Powell River Peak (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Peak Publishing Ltd.
Author: Laura Walz


Sensible BC Has Over Half the Signatures It Needs in Powell 
River-Sunshine Coast

Sensible BC's CannaBus stopped over in Powell River last week during 
a tour of Vancouver Island to collect signatures for its marijuana 
referendum campaign.

The bus was in Powell River on Thursday evening, October 17, and the 
following morning. Then it boarded a ferry for the Lower Sunshine 
Coast, for stops in Sechelt and Gibsons before it went back to the 
Lower Mainland.

The group wants to pass the Sensible Policing Act, which would stop 
police from searching or arresting people for marijuana possession. 
If volunteers gather enough signatures, it would trigger a referendum 
in September 2014.

In order to sign the petition, individuals must be registered on the 
provincial voters' list as of September 9. Sensible BC must return 
signed petition sheets to Elections BC by December 9.

The group needs signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in 
all of BC's electoral districts to force the referendum. Elections BC 
has established the signature thresholds in each of BC's 85 electoral 
districts. In Powell River-Sunshine Coast, the campaign must collect 
3,763 signatures.

Dana Larsen, Sensible BC director, said the campaign is ahead of 
schedule in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding. "Things are going 
quite well, although that's more because of the lower coast where 
we've been doing really well," he said. "In Powell River, we've had a 
bit of a slow start, but things have definitely picked up."

That's been the trend around the province, Larsen added. "We're 
definitely getting more signatures every week than the week before. 
As long as that momentum continues, we should be able to get this thing done."

Around the province, the campaign has about one third of the 
signatures it needs, Larsen said. "We're coming into the halfway 
point of the campaign, so we definitely need to double up our 
signature gathering for the next half, but that does seem possible," 
he said. "On the Sunshine Coast, however, we're well over half way 
and it's one of the ridings we expect to get done well before the end 
of the gathering period."

In fact, Larsen said, he's hoping to convince some of the volunteers 
in the riding to help out in the Lower Mainland in the last few weeks 
of the campaign. "Ultimately I think the Lower Mainland is going to 
be some of the most challenging areas," he said. "Coquitlam, Surrey, 
Burnaby, south Vancouver, those are some of the areas where we're 
behind and need to catch up. We're going to be redirecting our 
supporters into those areas once we finish up in other spots."

Residents can still sign up as canvassers, Larsen said, adding there 
is always a need for more volunteers and supporters. The best way to 
do that is through the campaign's website:
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom