Looking for a signature

The campaign to get a referendum on pot decriminalization has begun

Sensible B.C. hopes to get enough signatures to force a referendum on decriminalization of marijuana.

Sensible B.C. hopes to get enough signatures to force a referendum on decriminalization of marijuana.

The Sensible B.C. campaign for a referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana has begun, and canvassers were knocking on doors in Kimberley over the weekend.

Jeff and Ashlee Taylor were hitting as many homes as possible over the weekend and said the response has been mainly positive. If they haven’t knocked on your door yet, they will have a booth set up at 465 Mark Street (right beside the liquor store) on Saturday, September 21 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In order to force a referendum, Sensible B.C. must get signatures from 10 per cent of voters in every riding in the province, and they have only 90 days to do so.

With 85 ridings, that’s over 400,000 people but Jeff Taylor is not discouraged. He says he’ll knock on every door in the East Kootenay if he has to.

You must be a registered voter to sign the petition. If you are not, you can register online at https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx

While marijuana is prohibited under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which is federal legislation, Sensible B.C. believes that because provinces control “administration of justice” which includes policing and police priorities, decriminalization in this province is possible. All police in BC operate under the authority of the BC Police Act. Directing the use of police resources through an amendment to the Police Act is entirely within provincial jurisdiction, according to Sensible B.C.

The reasoning is that arresting people for simple possession of marijuana takes up a huge amount of valuable police time.

Sensible B.C. says that in this province, police spend about twice as much time and money as the national average on dealing with marijuana possession.

“BC police spent their time on over 19,000 incidents of marijuana possession in 2010 alone, a rate of 420 incidents per 100,000 people. The national average is just 220 per 100,000. Ontario has a rate of 165, and Alberta has 195.

“Over 3,580 British Columbians were charged with simple possession of marijuana last year. This is close to double the rate of charges of any other province.”

Sensible B.C.’s information also states that the Sensible Policing Act still allows for police to deal with marijuana impairment or any other type of impairment the same way they always have. The same applies to youth in possession. The Sensible Policing Act treats possession of marijuana by a minor in the exact same way as alcohol.

The Taylors are still looking for volunteer canvassers to help with their goal of hitting every household. If you would like to help out, contact them at taylor.847@hotmail.com