Canada.com - VICTORIA - Marijuana activist Dana Larsen says while a petition campaign to decriminalize pot fell short, it sparked a buzz across British Columbia and he's planning to fire up a second drive soon.
Larsen said Monday his bid to use B.C.'s direct democracy laws to
either prompt a vote in the provincial legislature or set off a
non-binding referendum needed about 100,000 more signatures. But he promised to launch a second petition before the next federal election in 2015.
Larsen's Sensible BC tour group arrived at Elections BC in its
so-called "Cannabus," with "Light My Fire" by The Doors blaring in the
"This represents a lot of hard work from a lot of people, working
many, many hours. This is over 200,000 signatures here, many
tens-of-thousands of hours of volunteer labour from canvassers all
across the province working on this important campaign."
The campaign proposed a law that would prevent police from enforcing simple marijuana possession laws.
"We do not have enough to trigger a referendum, but I think this is a
remarkable achievement," Larson told a small group of supporters and
Members of the group then carted eight file boxes of gathered signatures into the Elections BC office.
Under the Recall and Initiative Act, the signatures of at least 10
per cent of registered voters in each of the province's 85 electoral
districts are required to prompt a vote in the legislature or a
non-binding referendum. Larsen needed to collect slightly more than
300,000 signatures by Monday's deadline.
"I feel pretty good overall with what we've accomplished here," said
Larsen. "Getting 210,000 signatures with an army of volunteers in 90
days is quite an accomplishment. Our referendum system in B.C. is
brutally difficult to get on the ballot."
He said his petition would have succeeded in Washington or Oregon
where the sign-up period is longer, fewer signatures are required and
the disclosure rules about where potential voters live are not as
Several former B.C. politicians have thrown their support behind the
decriminalization of marijuana, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has
been outspoken about his support for legalization, taxation and
regulation of pot.
The Liberal government in B.C. has largely avoided marijuana reform,
saying drug laws are in the federal government's jurisdiction.
Larson is urging Premier Christy Clark to push the issue, saying those signatures give the government the mandate to act.
"We have the power to decriminalize possession as a province and there's certainly plenty of issues Continue Reading...