Sensible BC on pace for referendum
Oct 10, 2013 / 3:00 pm
Sensible BC is on pace to collecting the 20,000 signatures they need in order to initiate a referendum on marijuana laws in the province.
According to Dana Larsen, Director of the Sensible BC Campaign, they currently have approximately 65,000 signatures from around BC and feel that it’s just a matter of time before they reach the goal.
The campaign needs signatures from at least 10 per cent of registered voters in each provincial electoral riding.
“We’re doing pretty good,” said Larsen. “It’s a little behind but we’re in the range.”
More than 3000 volunteers are currently stationed around BC in roving tents or canvassing neighbourhoods, but their intention is not to convince anyone of anything.
“It’s not appropriate for us to engage in debate here,” said Mark Conlin, who was stationed on the corner of Hwy. 97 and Elliot Rd. in West Kelowna Thursday.
“If we get the referendum, then that’s when the debate should take place.”
Medical marijuana patient Bob Raven has been taking part in the current system, where licensed patients are able to either grow the plant themselves or transfer authority to someone who grows it for them.
Bob, who is in a wheelchair, maintains 30 plants in his home and is concerned that if patients cannot grow it themselves they will inevitably go back to getting their medicine from street dealers.
“For me, it’s an issue of access,” said Bob. “I don’t know much about the laws but the way they’re changing them will only send us back to the streets.”
Bob also worries that the only two government contracts awarded so far by Health Canada have gone to the same pharmaceutical company that, in Bob’s opinion, have been producing a product that simply doesn't work for him.
“(The marijuana) they provide is irradiated and is basically just a powder. Nobody wants that and it’s going to have the opposite effect.”
He’s noticed that since the laws were changed in 2001, many illegal marijuana growers and sellers have stopped distributing because their heaviest users were able to grow the plant themselves.
“Right now the markets are just dead,” he said. “But if the laws change, people will be right back doing what they were before. It’s too much hassle to comply and too easy to get it on the streets.”
According to a poll outlined in The Globe and Mail in August, attitudes have dramatically changed since 1977, when only 19 per cent of Canadians backed legalization.
A poll by Forum Research released in August found more than two-thirds of Canadians are now in favour of either decriminalization for small amounts of pot or outright decriminalization.
“You’d be surprised how many professionals come and sign the petition,” said Mark.
“There’s been very substantial growth, which is what we need to see. Hopefully we’ll be at 20,000 (signatures) one month from now.”
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