Sensible B.C. launches petition to stop arrests for possession and cultivation of marijuana

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      A marijuana-legalization group is stepping up pressure on the Trudeau government to end pot Prohibition.

      Sensible B.C. has launched an online petition directing the government of Canada to take concrete steps to stop police from harassing medical and recreational pot consumers.

      It demands an immediate end to police raids against community medical cannabis dispensaries.

      The petition also urges the federal government to immediately "repeal the prohibition on possession and personal cultivation of cannabis".

      Sensible B.C. has 120 days to collect signatures under Parliament's new "e-petition" system. The petition's parliamentary sponsor is Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May.

      According to Sensible B.C.'s Dana Larsen, the petition has already surpassed the 500 signatures required to force the government to reply in Parliament.

      "Our goal is to get 100,000 signatures and show that Canadians really want quick action on the cannabis issue," Larsen wrote in an email to the group's supporters.

      Pot laws initially targeted minorities

      In the preamble, the petition states that outlawing marijuana "began with no scientific, medical or social justification, and was initiated as an effort to harass, punish and deport racial minorites".

      "The prohibition of cannabis has caused many social and economic harms, criminalized millions of Canadians for no benefit, and financed organized crime," the petition claims.

      It adds that cannabis "has the potential to provide food, medicine, fibre, fuel and building materials".

      Sensible B.C. director Dana Larsen is aiming to collect 100,000 signatures.
      Stephen Hui

      The petition calls on the government to immediately "permit patients or their designated grower to provide medical cannabis as recommended by a physician".

      As well, it urges Parliament to repeal a Criminal Code ban on "literature and harm reduction devices like waterpipes and vaporizers".

      Sensible B.C.'s petition also recommends that farmers be allowed to "harvest and sell the cannabinoid-rich resin from their plants".

      In addition, it seeks to remove cannabis entirely from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

      "For those convicted for a cannabis offence under the CDSA, on a case-by-case basis:  Grant a full pardon and amnesty for past offences, expunge criminal records and release all prisoners currently serving time," the petition states.