Sensible B.C. campaign seeks referendum on marijuana decriminalization in 2014
A group of pot-legalization advocates has launched a campaign seeking a referendum on marijuana reforms in B.C.
Led by Dana Larsen, a founding director of the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary and former B.C. NDP leadership candidate, and Kirk Tousaw, the executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation and a director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the campaign has drafted proposed legislation it’s calling the Sensible Policing Act.
According to Sensible B.C., the proposed bill would see weed possession decriminalized for adults and the province formally call on the federal government to allow B.C. to begin legally taxing and regulating cannabis much like alcohol and tobacco.
“The Sensible Policing Act instructs all police in the province to stop spending time and resources searching or arresting people for simple possession of cannabis, while still prohibiting possession by minors in the same manner as alcohol,” Tousaw said in a news release sent out today (September 17). “The new law also calls upon the federal government to let BC go our own way on cannabis policy, and sets up a provincial commission to figure out exactly what legally regulated cannabis will look like in BC, since it will fall mostly under provincial control, like alcohol and tobacco.”
Sensible B.C. expects to launch its initiative-petition effort in the fall of 2013. The campaign will need to gather around 400,000 signatures from voters around the province in 90 days in order to force the B.C. government to look at holding a referendum in 2014.
“Setting police priorities is within provincial jurisdiction, and our proposed legislation has been accepted by Elections BC as constitutionally sound and suitable for a ballot initiative,” Tousaw said. “While we hope that the provincial government will see fit to pass the Sensible Policing Act into law, we’re focusing on building support for a referendum.”
Sensible B.C.’s advisory board includes Cannabis Culture Headquarters director Jodie Emery, BCCLA executive director David Eby, and Victoria police officer David Bratzer as members.
Bratzer is a member of the steering committee for the Stop the Violence B.C. coalition, which is also seeking marijuana legalization.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, former NDP premiers Mike Harcourt and Ujjal Dosanjh, and former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant are among the past and present politicians who have endorsed Stop the Violence’s call for the taxation and regulation of weed.