Letters: Sensible laws needed

Sensible BC campaigner Dana Larsen responds to Fletcher's comments

In response to Tom Fletcher’s editorial in your most recent edition. “B.C. marijuana referendum misguided” Sooke News Mirror, Oct. 9, 2013, page 6.

Mr. Fletcher’s recent editorial misrepresented the Sensible BC campaign, and could lead to confusion about our efforts for a marijuana referendum.

The ultimate aim of Sensible BC is to have B.C.’s marijuana industry regulated in a similar manner to wine. Our proposed legislation, the Sensible Policing Act, is designed to bring us closer to that goal.

The Sensible Policing Act has four components, all carefully designed to be within provincial jurisdiction.

The first aspect is to redirect police resources away from being wasted on simple possession of marijuana. Last year, BC police made over 16,500 arrests for marijuana possession, draining $10.5 million in police and court time away from investigation of more serious criminal offences.

If Sensible BC is successful, then tens of thousands of hours of police and court time would immediately be freed up to pursue real criminals. This means safer communities for everyone, and less backlog in our courts.

Second, our legislation treats a minor in possession of marijuana exactly the same as if it were alcohol. It allows police to deal with a teenager smoking pot, but without the lifetime criminal record that can restrict travel and employment.

Third, the Sensible Policing Act calls upon the federal government to repeal marijuana prohibition, so that BC can regulate and tax it in a manner similar to wine and beer. This would send a powerful message of change to Ottawa, and give our Prime Minister the mandate to legalize.

Finally, our legislation creates a B.C. commission to figure out the rules needed to implement legalization. Like alcohol and tobacco, most of the regulation for legal marijuana would be determined at the provincial level.

British Columbia cannot fully legalize marijuana without a change to federal law, but we can take some sensible steps in the right direction. That is what Sensible BC is all about.

We’re now about one month into our three month time-limit for gathering signatures. This is the largest and most organized marijuana reform effort in Canadian history. If you support sensible marijuana laws, then join our growing team of over 3000 canvassers, and help collect signatures in your community.

Find out more at http://SensibleBC.ca

Dana Larsen

Sensible BC