Sensible BC director Dana Larsen says he remains optimistic despite a slow start to the group's marijuana reform petition.

Marijuana petitioners off target at 30-day mark

Sensible BC predicts slow sign-up start will accelerate but remains far behind Fight HST pace

Pot reformers have fallen short of their sign-up target for the first third of their campaign to force a provincial referendum on marijuana enforcement.

Sensible BC spokesman Dana Larsen said the campaign had 65,000 signatures as of Oct. 9 – 15,000 less than their aim of 80,000 by the 30-day mark of the 90-day petition drive.

“We’re a little bit behind the target we set,” Larsen said, adding getting canvassers officially registered has proven more onerous than expected.

But he remains confident the campaign can succeed in getting the signatures of 10 per cent of eligible voters in every B.C. district.

That would take 300,000 signatures in total, but Larsen said the aim is for 450,000 or 15 per cent in each riding to provide a buffer against signatures that are declared invalid.

The campaign aims to pass legislation that would bar police from spending any time or resources enforcing the federal law against possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Its goal is to use that as a starting point to work towards broader cannabis legalization.

Defeat in any single district means the petition campaign fails.

And even if it succeeds, a referendum is not automatic – the Legislature could introduce the proposed Sensible Policing Act but not put it to a vote.

If it was sent to another referendum it could be non-binding – the HST referendum after a successful Fight HST petition was binding only because Premier Gordon Campbell declared it so.

Fight HST also had many more signatures at their 30-day mark – more than 300,000 – and wrapped up with 705,000.

“They got a lot more than they actually needed,” Larsen said. “They could have done it with less.”

Larsen said canvassers have already got nearly enough signatures in Vancouver districts like the West End and along False Creek.

Most Interior and Northern districts are also doing well, with about a third of the signatures gathered, and campaigns are running ahead of schedule in Nelson, Kelowna and Kamloops.

Suburban ridings in Metro Vancouver, including Surrey and Coquitlam, have proven more challenging.

“Surrey is a bit of an issue. It’s a lot of districts in one city and a lot of people that we need.”

Canvassers from Vancouver will be sent to those areas as Vancouver ridings wrap up, Larsen said.

So far, Sensible BC has 3,000 canvassers registered, up from 1,600 when they launched.

Larsen expects the canvasser count will grow to 4,000 by the early December deadline, but that would be well short of Fight HST’s 6,500 canvassers.

Petition locations are on the Sensible BC website at sensiblebc.ca.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dubai-based company buys Fraser Surrey Docks

Company also has ports and terminals in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert

Surrey Police to work with integrated teams during transition from RCMP

Terry Waterhouse says new police force will ‘collaborate’ with RCMP to maintain continuity of investigations

Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

Farnworth wants report released to public ‘a week this coming Tuesday’

Surrey councillors ‘very disappointed’ as B.C. gives final approval of city police force

Meantime, Safe Surrey Councillor Allison Patton says she can ‘breath a sigh of relief’

Delta Hockey Academy wins WHL U.S. Challenge Cup

Canadian youth teams dominated the inaugural tournament last weekend in Kent, Wash.

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Aspiring entrepreneurs invited to pitch ideas at Dragons’ Den auditions

Abbotsford and Vancouver the only Lower Mainland try-out locations

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read