Dana Larsen was in Prince Rupert earlier this week on the nineteenth stop of his tour to promote the Sensible Policing Act which is aiming to decriminalize possession of marijuana in British Columbia.
“The Sensible Policing Act will amend the Police Act… by instructing police in British Columbia to spend no time or resources on searching, seizing, detaining or arresting anyone for simple possession of cannabis essentially decriminalizing it,” Larsen said at Wednesday’s gathering at the Prince Rupert Library.
The second part of the Sensible Policing Act will call upon the federal government to remove pot from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so it can start being legally taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco. It will also mandate the government to start a public commission on the subject.
Next fall the Sensible BC campaign will launch an initiative-petition, collecting signatures in hopes of getting the Sensible Policing Act on the next provincial voting ballot in September 2014. To get it on ballot, 10 per cent of registered voters in every electoral district must sign a petition within 90 days.
Larsen is currently touring in hopes of getting people to pre-register to sign, so when the time comes it’s easier to find people who want to sign it.
“We live in the only province in Canada where citizens can get together and collect signatures to force a referendum on an issue. This is the perfect opportunity. We’ve never had this kind of consensus, or strength in our movement before,” Larsen said.
However charges for possession of marijuana continues to rise, doubling since 2005.
Locally, the amount of people arrested for possession has gone up. In Prince Rupert there were 129 people arrested for marijuana possession in 2011, which is up from 108 in 2010.
“The law is clearly not preventing anyone from using it. How do we reduce any potential harm and maximize any benefits? In a legalized, regulated system,” Larsen said.
Larsen will return to Prince Rupert in the spring for another event.