Homeless in Vancouver: Not-so-sensible B.C. smokes up but won’t sign up

The signature drive by the group Sensible B.C. to petition a provincial referendum on decriminalizing marijuana has run out of time. Monday (December 9) was the deadline for the petition to be handed in to Elections B.C. By all press accounts, like this one in the Province, the effort will fall far short of the required 400,000-some signatures.

Over the last 90 days, the provincewide campaign is believed to have collected only about half the necessary total, or 200,000 signatures.

The only thing B.C.’s pot smokers have to fear is fear itself

Sensible B.C.’s campaign director Dana Larsen has been quoted all over the local media post-morteming what even he admits has been a failed effort. This Huffington Post item is representative: Larsen cites a difficult initiative process, and his group’s lack of organization in some parts of B.C., but more than anything he blames fear—people afraid of losing their jobs, of being barred from crossing the border into the United States, afraid the police will find out they signed the petition.

How frustrating for everyone at Sensible B.C.! Few laws are as ignored in B.C. as the prohibitions against using marijuana.

Everyone knows the province has a huge illegal infrastructure for the production, distribution and sale of the stuff. A November 2012 study by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University reportedly quantified the value of B.C.’s underground cannabis industry at up to $564 million a year. The study suggested legalized pot could generate massive tax revenue for the province.

And golly! As a side benefit we might actually cut a criminal cancer out of the heart of our society.

In November 2012, the state of Washington—just across the border from British Columbia—passed Washington Initiative 502, providing for the legal sale (and taxing) of small quantities of marijuana.

In every neighbourhood I see, each and every day, hundreds of “normal” otherwise law-biding, taxpaying Vancouverites cast a vote in favour of decriminalizing and or legalizing marijuana. They do this simply by rolling a joint and smoking it in the comfort of their homes and apartments, on their balconies, or while they go for a walk in the back alleys. I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands more people I don’t see across B.C. who regularly smoke marijuana.

So if not now, when will British Columbia be willing to legally consecrate its relationship with pot? The people of this province have been happily living in sin with the stuff for ages. Tie the knot already!

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Over 200,000 is a significant number of signatures. That is a number worth paying attention to. BTW, I believe that 10% of registered voters is more like 320,000, not 400,000.
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Jane is correct, just over 300,000 signatures were required. 400,000 signatures was Sensible BC's goal.
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