A province-wide petition initiative, similar to the one that resulted in the referendum that scrapped of B.C.’s former Harmonized Sales Tax, has started.
And names are now being collected here.
Local representatives of Sensible BC, the organization spearheading the initiative to have a referendum held calling for a ban on the use of police resources to enforce simple possession of, and use of, marijuana by adults in B.C., started collecting signatures in downtown Kelonwa on Monday.
Local spokesman Mark Conlin was at the W.A.C. Bennett Clock on Queensway Monday afternoon collecting signatures.
“The use of Bennett Clock as a backdrop highlights our firm belief that its time to bring a sensible change to our cannabis laws in B.C.,” he said.
“With the outright legalization, just south of us in Washington State, we are losing out on a huge windfall revenue potential of this pre-existing industry. Instead were leaving it to organized crime. We need to change this now.”
He said local volunteer canvassers will be located at various locations throughout the Central Okanagan’s three provincial ridings during the 90 days that Sensible BC has to collect the signatures of 10 per cent of registered voters in each riding. The same must be done in the other 82 ridings across the province and a total of nearly 400,000 signatures will have to be collected across B.C.
If the group is successful, it could trigger the referendum next year.
Sensible BC wants the province’s Police Act amended to prohibit the use of police resources in cracking down on marijuana use and possession of small amounts.
Organizers have said they are concerned that some people may be afraid to sign the petition for fear of repercussions.
While the referendum would not affect federal law concerning marijuana, the province has said it will not act on the issue until federal laws are changed. The federal government, however, has said it has no plans to change its laws.
A year ago, voters in Washington State and Colorado approved ballot initiatives there to legalize marijuana. Washington State is currently setting up stores where marijuana will be legally sold.