Pubdate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013
Source: Whistler Question (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013, Whistler Printing & Publishing Ltd.
Author: Vince Shuley
Cited: Sensible BC:


Final Weeks of Campaign Still Need Canvassers and Signatures


Sensible BC's Dec. 5 deadline is rapidly approaching and the number 
of signatures collected this month in the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky 
riding - as well as the rest of the province - has been very 
encouraging for the campaign's organizers.

"There's been tremendous momentum," said Mark Vaughan, lead organizer 
for the riding.

"It took a while to get information out there to get enough 
canvassers. A lot of people signed up early then they were out of 
town or were unable to be contacted for numerous reasons. There was a 
lot of chasing down non-existent leads early on. Now, as we get more 
events happening, more people are aware and every day I'm getting a 
list of 70 to 80 new canvassers in B.C. We'll probably see more 
signatures in this last month than we've seen to date."

In order to call a public referendum next year on decriminalizing 
marijuana, 10 per cent of all registered voters in each of B.C's 85 
provincial electoral districts must sign Sensible BC's petition 
within a 90 day period, which began on Sept. 9. This was the same 
method used to have the Harmonized Sales Tax repealed in 2011.

Vaughan said there have been an overwhelming number of signatures 
collected in Squamish, describing the response as "pot fire."

Whistler has faced challenges in reaching locals that are registered 
to vote in B.C., though the word is spreading. Local smoke shop 
Hempire has the petition set up in-store, allowing supporters to come 
in and sign it at their convenience. Pemberton, while having a few 
canvassers registered, is still lacking a leader to organize petition 
stations effectively.

A little further north there has been another pot fire this month: 
"Darcy has stepped up huge for us, they've been getting way over 
their 10 per cent and they're such a small area," said Vaughan.

"I'm expecting Whistler and Squamish to carry a huge load of the West 
Van-Sea to Sky (riding)."

Horseshoe Bay resident Claire Lansdell has been spending many 
volunteer hours canvassing throughout the corridor and said that 
about 70 percent of people she has asked are signing the petition. 
Most recently she attended the Association of Whistler Area Residents 
for the Environment (AWARE) Green Drinks night on Tuesday (Nov. 5) to 
discuss the petition.

"The older people, especially the older women, seem to be quite 
sympathetic," she said.

"They have friends who are using marijuana for arthritis, Crohn's 
disease or cancer. A lot of people think it's legal already and don't 
want to bother with it. People don't realize that it is illegal in 
B.C. and you can have a criminal record for possessing a small amount."

Part of the Sensible Policing Act calls upon the federal government 
to repeal cannabis prohibition or to grant B.C. an exemption for 
marijuana as a controlled substance, though that process will only go 
ahead if Sensible BC's decriminalization campaign succeeds.

Lansdell says she has gotten all kinds of response from people in the 
streets and has been asked to leave petitions at the premises of a 
few businesses. Overall it hasn't been hard to get signatures.

"I have interesting discussions all the time," she said."

"Some people are like 'shoot 'em all,' or 'I want it to be illegal to 
scare my kids.' Others say how ridiculous all the money is that we 
spend to police it."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom