Signatures collected

With enough signatures Sensible BC is hoping to curtail funding of enforcement of marijuana possession laws by police.

Locals were given the opportunity to sign a petition calling for reform of marijuana laws last weekend in the West Boundary.

Canvassers in favour of decriminalizing marijuana were in front of McMynn’s grocery on Saturday collecting some of the 500,000 signatures needed from across the province to trigger a referendum on the issue.

This was the first day that Midway residents Heinz Kreuzer and Ross Elliott were out canvassing. “People have been really good,” said Kreuzer, “Really supportive.”

On Sept. 9 Sensible BC began collecting signatures for the petition. If they get 10 per cent of the registered voters in each provincial riding (numbers range from 400,000 to 500,000) a referendum will be held in 2014. They have 90 days to collect them.

The Sensible Policing Act has four components:

  • Remove funding from the use of police resources for enforcement of simple possession of marijuana. It would prohibit all police in the province from using any police resources, including member time on investigations, searches, seizures, citations, arrests or detentions related solely to simple possession of cannabis – essentially decriminalizing the simple possession of cannabis in BC. It doesn’t impact on any of the laws around trafficking, possession for the purposes of trafficking, or cultivation.
  • To deal with minors, the Sensible Policing Act also adds cannabis to the section of the BC Liquor Control Act ,which covers minors in possession of alcohol. This will enable a police officer to confiscate cannabis from a minor, in exactly the same manner and with the same penalties as for alcohol.
  • The Sensible Policing Act formally calls upon the federal government to repeal cannabis prohibition by removing cannabis from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or to give British Columbia an exemption so the province could legally tax and regulate cannabis.
  • Mandates the provincial government to launch a public commission, which will hold hearings to study and recommend the specific rules needed for the province to implement a legally regulated cannabis system once the federal government allows it.

Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher has recently spoken against the petition. Fletcher says that, although he has been calling for legalization and regulation of pot for 20 years to conserve police resources and reduce violent crime, the Sensible Policing Act diverts no revenue to government, leaving it in the hands of criminal dealers who buy cocaine, guns and fancy cars. “Our war on drugs is a failure even for heroin and cocaine, and marijuana is obviously much easier to produce,” he said in a recent column.

Fletcher has the same criticism for the suggestion by police chiefs that simple possession be treated as a ticket offence to keep the court time to a minimum.

Dana Larsen is the lead organizer for the petition and he responded by saying, “The ultimate aim of Sensible BC is to have B.C.’s marijuana industry regulated in a manner similar to wine.”

“Last year, B.C. police made more than 16,500 arrests for marijuana possession, draining $10.5 million in police and court time away from investigation of more serious criminal offences.”

One month into the 90 days allotted for circulation of the petition Larsen reported that the number of signatures each week has been steadily growing, as of Oct. 10 it stood at 65,000.

The Sensible BC Facebook page says that about 3,500 signatures are needed in the Boundary Similkameen riding, with the count being about 1,000 on Oct. 10.

In 2012 delegates to the Union of BC Municipalities convention passed two resolutions dealing with the taxation and regulation of marijuana:

1) that UBCM call on the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana,

2) UBCM supports the taxation and regulation of cannabis to address the ineffectiveness and harms of cannabis prohibition.

Local organizers invite those wishing to sign the petition to contact them: Heinz Kreuzer at 250-449-2657 or Ross Elliott at 250-449-2333.


Just Posted

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

West Kootenay rod and gun clubs slammed for animal-killing contests

Wildlife activists are targeting the club and two other B.C. organizations

Interior Health hospitals to serve more made in B.C. food

New initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture to serve more B.C. produced food in hospitals

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read