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.