Sensible B.C. vows to run marijuana petition campaign again

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      The petition campaign seeking a referendum on marijuana decriminalization in B.C. fell short by 100,000 signatures, but its organizers are vowing to try again.

      "It’s worth remembering that it took two tries to get marijuana reform on the ballot in Washington, and now they have complete legalization. We can make this happen here in BC too, we just need to work together a little bit harder than we did the first time around. We can do it!" Sensible B.C. director Dana Larsen wrote on his campaign's website on December 9.

      The same day, Elections B.C. confirmed that the initiative to amend the Police Act hadn't gathered enough signatures to force the provincial government to consider holding a provincewide initiative vote.

      In a news release, chief electoral officer Keith Archer stated that "under the Recall and Initiative Act, signatures of at least 10 percent of the registered voters in each of the province’s 85 electoral districts were required. The proponent has not submitted sufficient signatures on the petition sheets, therefore our office has determined that this petition does not meet the requirements of the Act and is unsuccessful."

      According to Elections B.C., 4,460 people registered as canvassers for the initiative. The petition was issued to Larsen on September 9 and submitted to Elections B.C. on December 9.

      Sensible B.C. says it collected 210,000 signatures. Larsen claimed that the campaign's canvassers faced harassment from B.C. Ferries staff and Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers.

      "One important next step is to launch legal challenges against those who tried to stop us from canvassing. We will be going to court against BC Ferries and other groups over the coming months, clearing the path for our volunteers to avoid harassment and police calls next time around," Larsen wrote.

      Comments

      16 Comments

      Argulion

      Dec 10, 2013 at 5:56pm

      No surprise to me the petition failed. I live in an area that has a 'green' reputation and have never seen the petition. So, I never did sign it.

      Dana Larsen

      Dec 10, 2013 at 7:42pm

      We'll make it next time.

      Washington State (population 6.9 million), needed 250,000 signatures to have a referendum on marijuana. In Colorado (population 5.1 million) they needed 150,000 signatures. In BC (population 4.4 million), we needed well over 300,000 signatures.

      If BC was as democratic as Washington or Colorado, we would have easily qualified for a referendum on marijuana decriminalization.

      Motivator

      Dec 10, 2013 at 8:07pm

      Did you try getting off your ass and googling it?

      Canadian Guy

      Dec 10, 2013 at 11:06pm

      Did no one tell these idiots that the federal government is in control of the criminal code?

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      Uneducated Canadian Guy

      Dec 11, 2013 at 2:42am

      Bc can decriminalize by telling the police not to enforce marijuana laws, similar to what many provinces did with the long gun registery

      DavidH

      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:38am

      I might be alone in this, but: I don't feel strongly about the marijuana issue (doesn't affect me personally), but I would have happily signed the petition if asked, because it makes/made sense.

      Unfortunately, I wasn't asked, and I really wouldn't have gone out of my way to find and visit a signing location.

      Not a criticism, but a suggestion for the future. The campaign just needs to be more visible on the street. Remember, the HST campaigners were everywhere, in high traffic and public locations.

      Sue Comely

      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:39am

      was worried during the campaign that 'non English speaking' voters were missed out in the urban areas. somehow we/you need to get young people talking with their elders and explaining the referendum to them

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      sherryirwin792@gmail.com

      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:44am

      lots of people use pot for eating as they cant eat food some use it cause they have cancer some use it for energy some use pot to relax u don't hear of people that smoke pot doing mean things to people some use pot like to clean up I smoked pot years and years ago when I was young I got energy , love that music w2orking in cleaning yep its good for people

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      Argulion

      Dec 11, 2013 at 9:23am

      @Motivator - if that is a reference to my comment, it is not me that needs to get off my butt. I looked for the petition. There are four locations in the immediate area that EVERY petition gets posted. Be it the petition itself or a notice of petition location. I even know of at least two businesses that would have willing put up a 'Sensible BC Petition Here' placard if somebody had approached them. If you expect people to google the obscure location of the petition, good luck with that. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

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      HellSlayerAndy

      Dec 11, 2013 at 11:55am

      People forget that the HST referendum had enabling legislation that exempt it from the Act. That's why that referendum only needed 50+ and was binding.

      These really aren't referendums because they are non-binding; expensive opinion polls that the government can ignore because it didn't get the 60% or they just didn't like it. Every government KNOWS that rejecting this isn't like to cost them any spillover in a provincial election...so it's safe to refuse.

      Besides, the cops would just ignore it or simply end run it by cleverly re-jigging their budgets to simply ADD that enforcement money to the 'other' drugs.

      Stupid, fringe-y and ill-conceived like what passes for most of the so-called marijuana lobby. Legitimate lobbyists don't run for the leadership of political parties because the things they lobby for simply get 'partisan-ed' or they are accused of simply raising their personal political profile at the expense of an important issues.