Pro-marijuana group unveils new billboard in push to legalize pot
The group heading up B.C.’s marijuana referendum initiative is making a new push in their battle to legalize pot.
Sensible BC has already auto-dialed nearly 1.4-million households in the province trying to drum up support and is now set to unveil a new billboard in West Vancouver Monday.
The billboard will appear just off the Lions Gate Bridge, encouraging drivers to consider a referendum to decriminalize the drug,
"Things are getting worse in Canada,” said Sensible BC spokesman Dana Larsen. “More Canadians are going to be going to jail for small-time marijuana offences and I think that's a terrible waste of police resources."
But the group has a long road ahead of it before it can take a referendum to the B.C. public.
Sensible BC is tasked with recruiting thousands of canvassers and then accumulating ten per cent of signatures in each of the 85 provincial ridings.
That amounts to 400,000 signatures required within 90 days.
A man who’s familiar with the enormous amount of work that goes into running a referendum said he’s not sure the group can meet the criteria.
Bill Tieleman campaigned for more than two years to get the government to hold a referendum on the despised HST, which was eventually scrapped.
“I said ‘Don’t expect to win.’ It was intentionally made as difficult as possible,” he said he told Larsen. When it comes to Sensible BC, he said supporters might not be as passionate about the marijuana issue as the hordes of scorned British Columbians who voted in the HST referendum.
“You’ve gotta get people motivated,” he said. “For those who are really in favour of marijuana decriminalization, you have to get up off the couch, put the munchies down and go.”
But Sensible BC does have a few things going for it, Tieleman said.
“They have an issue which a lot of people have opinions on and it’s clearly a popular issue with a certain percentage of the population,” he said.
Larsen said that with the campaign to get signatures officially kicking off in September, Sensible BC could have enough time to raise ample support.
He pointed to the success of recent successful referendums in Washington and Colorado, two states that decriminalized marijuana, and says it’s time for B.C. to follow suit.
“We’re really just fighting against inertia and against lobbying by the RCMP, who like things the way they are,” he said.
If the group is successful in collecting enough signatures, the referendum would take place in 2014.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Julie Nolin