Coasters are starting to sign petitions calling for the decriminalization of pot possession, but many more names are needed before the 12-week campaign to amass enough signatures ends on Dec. 5.
Sensible B.C. is trying to push the provincial government to change the policing act, making it illegal for police to use any resources to bust people for personal marijuana possession.
The group has created the “Sensible Policing Act,” which would allow adults to possess cannabis in B.C., but the new Act can only be passed by referendum.
In order for government to agree to send it to referendum next year, Sensible B.C. must collect signatures from at least 10 per cent of registered voters in each voting district by Dec. 5.
The Sunshine Coast district includes Powell River, and as of Oct. 2, about 1,200 people had signed the petition. The Coast needs to see 3,782 people sign before Dec. 5 to make the 10 per cent target.
“I think we’re doing OK considering this is the fourth week of 12 and we’re between one-quarter and one-third of the way there,” local canvasser Paul Renaud said.
About 16 canvassers on the Coast are taking signatures from interested voters, but not many are going door to door.
Most are collecting signatures of people they know, while some are manning booths in public places.
Canvassers will be set up at Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. until the campaign ends.
There are also forms available to sign at the 420 Hemp Shop in Sechelt and Roberts Creek Health Food Store during regular business hours, ongoing until December.
Sensible B.C. canvassers tried to secure a presence at Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt, but they were told canvassers were not allowed on mall property, Renaud said.
“So instead some have been setting up just outside of mall property, because we know our rights as canvassers,” he noted.
In Pender Harbour the lone canvasser for Sensible B.C. will be going out of town soon but he will man a booth outside the Pender Harbour IGA this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Renaud said more canvassers are needed to round out the team, especially in Pender Harbour, and he invites anyone who’s interested in helping out to contact him at 604-886-8665.
If the Sensible Policing Act reaches referendum and is passed by the majority of voters, Sensible B.C. plans to push the federal government to remove marijuana from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or give B.C. an exemption, so the province can tax and regulate the drug.
Find out more at www.sensiblebc.ca.