Marijuana activist Dana Larsen was at the CRD Library in Williams Lake on Nov. 15 speaking about the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize cannabis.

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen was at the CRD Library in Williams Lake on Nov. 15 speaking about the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize cannabis.

Marijuana activist says it’s time to change the law

It is not about "if" but "how" the law should be changed said marijuana activist Dana Larsen while visiting Williams Lake last week.

It is not about “if” but “how” the law should be changed said well-known marijuana activist Dana Larsen while speaking at Cariboo Regional District library Nov. 15.

In Washington and Colorado, where votes were recently passed to legalize cannabis at the state level, the governors were against the laws and both said it shouldn’t be done, he explained.

“Now they are in the position of having to force and create a system that they actually campaigned against having in there in the first place.”

Larsen said B.C. is the only province with the ballot-initiative system, the only province where people can do the same thing as they do in many American states. People can sign up, get popular support, and impose a law upon the government, which it really has to pass.

“It is still a difficult hill to climb because you have to get 10 per cent of the registered voters in every one of the provinces 85 electoral districts to sign on to your ballot initiative in a three month period.”

Working with a lawyer, Larsen designed a law he thinks will work — the Sensible Policing Act.

The act would direct the police in B.C. to stop searching, seizing or arresting anybody for simple possession of cannabis.

“Provinces have jurisdiction over policing and the administration of criminal justice so even though this is a federal law and we cannot change that federal law as a province; the attorney general has the power and the responsibility to instruct the police on what their priorities should be, where they should focus their resources,” Larsen explained.

He used the long-gun registry as an example of how eight provinces said they were not going to enforce the long gun registry, adding: “provinces have a lot of power to make these changes.”

The second part of the act prohibits possession by minors in the same way as alcohol, while the

third part calls on the federal government to let B.C. tax and regulate cannabis.

“We have to bring this industry into the sunlight and regulate it so it’s safe for everyone involved. We would mandate the attorney general of B.C. to write the federal government to change the laws. Either remove cannabis from the Controlled Drug and Substances Act or just give B.C. an exemption.”

In addition, a provincial commission would determine the laws and rules around legal cannabis — selling, growing, age limits, exporting, and tax rates, the same things that occur around alcohol.

“We want the province to figure out all of this so that when the federal law changes we’re ready to implement something immediately.”

Larsen is gathering signatures in anticipation of a referendum in September 2014 and

over the next 10 months will continue to tour the province, returning to Williams Lake in the spring with a panel. In September 2013, SensibleBC will start the clock with Elections BC and refile a legislation.

“By then I hope to have 4,000 people registered all around the province, well over 10 per cent, with thousands of volunteers in place so that when we say “go” they will already know who the people are that said they will sign and they will go out and get those signatures.”

When the ballot is cast it will be the “happiest” ballot he’s ever cast in his life, Larsen said.

 

 

Just Posted

An RCMP cruiser. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Police kept busy following overnight vehicle thefts, B&Es near 100 Mile House

One man is facing charges and three others suspects in relation to the thefts

A new banner was unveiled Monday, June 21, in Williams Lake that will hang across Oliver Street. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Orange Shirt Banner Project unveiled in Williams Lake

The Every Child Matters - 215 banner will hang across the city’s main street

(File Photo)
Police watchdog clears 100 Mile RCMP of wrongdoing after man dies in Williams Lake shelter

The man had been in custody at 100 Mile RCMP detachment prior to being taken to Williams Lake

The future of the Quesnel Rec Centre pool is unknown after residents shot down potential renovations in a referendum. (Melanie Law photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Cariboo Regional District, Quesnel residents shoot down pool renovations in referendum

The $20 million project needed approval from people living in the North Cariboo Recreation area

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read