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.