Sensible B.C. prepares for pot referendum

Canvassers begin gathering signatures Monday (September 9) in a potentially historic B.C. campaign against marijuana prohibition. It could be the start of the end of Canada’s war on cannabis, according to pot activist Dana Larsen.

“This campaign will provide the trigger needed to actually get these laws changed,” Larsen told the Straight in a phone interview.

Larsen is the driving force behind the push for an initiative vote to stop the police from going after adults in possession of marijuana for their personal use.

Canvassers have 90 days, until December 5, to collect the signatures of at least 10 percent of registered voters in each of the 85 constituencies in the province. It’s one of many steps in the initiative process that could lead to a ballot in 2014.

“If it was successful, this will be transformative for marijuana laws all across the country,” Larsen said.

But Larsen, spokesperson for Sensible B.C., also underscored that winning the initiative campaign would probably be only half of what is needed to dismantle prohibition. He said the other part is booting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government out of Ottawa.

While in Vancouver last July, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said that he favours the taxation and regulation of marijuana.

“If we can get the signatures we need and win this referendum, and if Harper is defeated in 2015, then I’m pretty confident that we will actually see these laws change in Canada,” Larsen said. “If one of those two things doesn’t happen, then I think we could still be in for a longer wait.”

No group has registered as an opponent of Larsen’s initiative, according to Andrew Watson, a spokesperson with Elections B.C.



J. Story

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:07pm

Larsen is losing focus when he urges voting against the Conservative party, and he also risks losing support from pro-legalization Conservatives. If he strays from the central point of getting the police out of the bongs of the nation, he may be painting himself as a shill for the federal Liberal Party. Larsen must understand that legalization crosses all party lines, and by playing political favourites, he may be sabotaging his purported goal.

ray mason

Oct 3, 2013 at 10:30am

he is absolutly right about harper it has little to do with marijuana HARPER HAS TO GO HOW COULD you or anyone else give him and his party any considerationbs after what ,.he and his are doing for CANADA YOU PEOPLE HAVE HAD YOUR WAY TOPO LONG MOVE OVER YOU ARE OUT OF HERE

Langley BC Resident

Oct 17, 2013 at 2:35pm

Just to short circuit a few of you readers, I am both supportive of conservative government, but also of medicinal and possibly recreational marijuana just as is liquor and tobacco today.

Conervatives are *supposed* to believe in "limited government" and "free economy" meaning they have no business in the private lives of citizens or messing with the market price of something. I like having a strong business economy in Canada, I like having a strong dollar, I like fiscal responsibility (ok relatively speaking, yes every party has messed up somewhere) but the government has no place in any citizen's personal life. That includes substance use, orientation, religious preferences, etc. Unless you are harming another person, there is no justifiable reason to forcefully intercede in their lives.

Look up the "Non-aggression principal". It is never ok to initiate force against someone who is not themselves forcefully harming others. This is why it is ok to respond to violent criminals with force (police), but not ok to forcefully intercede in the lives of non-agressive peaceful people who are only "criminals" because we invented a new law that moves them from innocent to guilty with a stroke of a pen.

P.S. I do not now nor have I ever used Marijuana in any form.