Come this fall Sunshine Coast residents will likely find themselves answering the door to a canvasser and being asked to sign a petition to decriminalize pot.
Sensible BC director Dana Larsen is currently touring around the province drumming up support for the marijuana referendum campaign.
“Our work is to build momentum, get people excited about the campaign and to register several thousand British Columbians as signature gathers,” said Larsen.
Elections BC has given approval in principle for a proposed law, which would effectively decriminalize marijuana possession in the province.
The proposed law, called the Sensible Policing Act, would direct the attorney general, who sets policing priorities in the province, to not put any resources into enforcing federal laws pertaining to marijuana possession for adults. It would also call on Ottawa to allow B.C. to begin legally taxing and regulating cannabis much like alcohol and tobacco.
Larsen has less than five weeks to sign up as many canvassers as he can throughout B.C.’s 85 electoral ridings to be ready for the Sept. 9 signature-collecting start. To gather signatures, Elections BC must approve each canvasser who must be a registered voter.
To trigger a referendum on the act, canvassers will need to collect a total of roughly 400,000 signatures, or about 10 per cent of registered voters in each riding.
Despite the polling numbers of public support, collecting the required number of signatures will nevertheless be challenging. According to Elections BC, out of nine previous initiative applications approved since 1995, only one has obtained the required number of signatures — to repeal the harmonized sales tax. The next scheduled initiative vote will be Sept. 27, 2014.