SURREY — Following several information sessions held by Sensible B.C. founder Dana Larsen in Surrey, the province-wide petition to decriminalize marijuana is now underway.
Just like the Fight HST petition of 2010, Larsen is seeking signatures from 10 per cent of eligible voters in each riding in the province, though he'd prefer closer to 15.
"Exactly what we need is 360,000 signatures, but we're going to need more than that because there are going to be people who have errors, so we're really shooting for 15 per cent of the population as a margin of error," he said.
According to Larsen, the aim of the campaign is to trigger a province-wide referendum on decriminalizing marijuana, with the ultimate goal being to force Ottawa to look at countrywide legalization.
"We want to stop all police in B.C. from making arrests and searches over possession, treat the minors in the possession exactly the same as alcohol and then call on the federal government to repeal marijuana prohibition so the province can regulate it like tobacco," he said.
Having kicked off on Sept. 9, the campaign has until Dec. 7 to collect the signatures required. In order to make it simple for citizens to sign, Larsen has been recruiting canvassers for each riding throughout the province, which will act as an area's go-to person for those interested in signing.
"We do not have a political party to champion our cause, which is why we are doing a referendum," he said.
Trevor M., who asked his last name not be published, is a canvasser for Surrey-Fleetwood and is hopeful the campaign will be successful.
"I got involved because I think there's no better time than now to take on this issue," he said. "So we're looking to have canvassers out to places where we feel people are going to be - high-traffic areas. The hope would be to set up booths and tables in high-traffic locations. We could also just have canvassers with clipboards."
Trevor hopes common sense will finally prevail, rather than the reefer madness that seems to have been the status quo for so long.
"Look at the big picture point of view, alcohol and cigarettes should also be made illegal based on that stance," he said. "If people want something, they're going to get it and the only ones benefiting from the current system are criminals."
For more information, or to find a local canvasser to sign the petition, go to www.sensiblebc.ca.
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