Dana Larsen, known as the cannabis crusader, will be touring Northern British Columbia in November to promote the Sensible BC decriminalization campaign, speaking to supporters in Prince Rupert on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Sensible BC is requesting the provincial government pass the Sensible Policing Act, which would mean decriminalizing pot possession for adults and working toward a legally regulated system for marijuana, similar to alcohol and tobacco.
"The Sensible Policing Act directs all police in BC to stop spending any time or resources on searching, seizing or arresting anyone for simple cannabis possession. The lawyers at Elections BC have confirmed that this legislation is within provincial jurisdiction and suitable for a referendum," Larsen said.
The Sensible Policing Act is not asking to change laws around trafficking, possession for the purposes of trafficking or cultivation.
"There's no reason we cannot decriminalize possession in our province. In 2003, BC joined seven other provinces in refusing to enforce the Long Gun Registry. At that time, Attorney General said they didn't want to bother with otherwise law-abiding citizens who were in possession of an unregistered long gun. We're asking for the same sensible perspective when it comes to people in possession of cannabis," Larsen explained.
Statistics recently released by the BC Ministry of Justice show in 2011 there were 3,774 people charged with possession of marijuana, which is up from 1,700 in 2005. There has been a steady increase in cannabis possession charges over the years, while there haven't been any significant changes in the rate of British Columbians smoking pot.
"Who has been asking the RCMP to bust more pot smokers? This is an incredible waste of taxpayers' money and clogs up our justice system," Larsen said.
Larsen will be speaking to supporters in Prince Rupert on Wednesday, Nov. 7 between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Prince Rupert Public Library in the Multipurpose Room.
Larsen was a founding member of both the Canadian Marijuana Party and the BC Marijuana Party, but resigned both in 2003 to join the New Democrats. Last year he ran for the BC NDP leadership.