Good news for pot proponents

Columnist Diana French discusses pot decriminalization efforts.

Good news for pot proponents. King of Pot Marc Emery, who is serving five years in a U.S. jail for selling marijuana seeds across the border, was given permission to transfer to a Canadian jail, supposing our government accepts him.

Elections BC has given marijuana activist Dana Larsen approval-in-principle to use B.C.’s unique initiative legislation to propose a law that would effectively decriminalize pot by preventing B.C. police from enforcing simple possession of cannabis.

Larsen and his Sensible BC campaign have good company in advocating for changed  laws. John McKay, the former U.S. district attorney who prosecuted Emery, says the war on pot is a total failure, current laws allow gangs and cartels to generate billions of dollars in profits. In calling for legalizing and taxing pot, he is joined by former B.C. Attorney Generals Geoff Plant and Ujjal Dosanjh who say if the government produced and sold marijuana like alcohol, those dollars would go into government coffers. Their group, Stop The Violence B.C. Coalition, notes opinion polls suggest most British Columbians agree with them. Larsen’s petition with tell that story.

Is marijuana a health hazard?  Willie Nelson, as famous for advocating for pot as he is for his singing, says no. In good health after smoking pot for 60 years, he says pot won’t kill you unless you let a bale of it fall on you.

Smoking tobacco kills even if used properly. It’s  no longer socially acceptable but it is still legal. Alcohol abuse results in horrendous health and criminal problems but the sale and use of alcoholic drinks is not only legal, it’s encouraged.

Sensible BC has two months to enlist canvassers and prepare to start collecting signatures on Sept. 9. A successful referendum would send the proposal to the provincial  legislature. The Liberal government has shown no enthusiasm for changing the law, but it could be difficult to ignore an overwhelming yes vote.

Diana French is an author and former Tribune editor.