Letter: Clarifying pot petition
To the editor:
Recent media reports about how our campaign is progressing, one-third of the way in, has caused me to think about some of the common misconceptions some people have about signing an official petition requesting a referendum on marijuana decriminalization.
Perhaps, by noting some of these misconceptions, I can clarify what it is that my organization,Sensible BC, is actually, proposing.
“Signing this petition tells the government that I use marijuana.”
The reality is, Elections BC, by law, needs to ensure that registered B.C. voters, within their respective ridings, are counted accurately. It’s just the process. It doesn’t reflect personal habits. It can’t.
“Marijuana decriminalization will mean kids will be able to get pot anywhere.”
Kids can get pot anywhere now! That’s because of prohibition. The underground, illegal marijuana industry has no regulation. There’s no inspectors or quality control. Certainly, there’s nobody who’s going to ask a minor to show identification. Currently, it’s easier for our kids to buy marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol. That needs to be changed and our petition will help.
“It’s, pretty much, legal already.”
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.
The rate of pot possession charges in B.C. has been steadily increasing for years. In 2010, B.C. police charged twice as many people with marijuana possession than they did in 2005.
“I can’t sign while I’m working or while I’m wearing my employer’s uniform.”
This is an Elections BC authorized petition. Just as with an election, you have the legal right to sign this petition.
If a person is on lunch, or a break, an employer has no right to prevent them from exercising this right.
After more than three generations of vilifying cannabis, I can appreciate some of the stigma associated with an open, rational discussion on how our province might more effectively deal with this issue.
At Sensible BC, we believe that this discussion really needs to happen, in order to alleviate that stigma. Signing the petition moves us in that direction.
West Kelowna organizer,