Marijuana referendum postponed by B.C. activist
Dana Larsen says he will spend a year organizing volunteers first
A B.C. marijuana activist has withdrawn his petition to decriminalize pot, saying he will spend the next 10 months gathering volunteers and support before submitting it again.
Elections B.C. approved a petition in September by Dana Larsen, who wants to use B.C.'s unique citizen's initiative legislation to force a debate on the issue or even a referendum.
The petition calls for changes to the Police Act to prohibit the use of provincial police resources to enforce simple possession-and-use laws for adults.
Elections B.C. formally issued the petition last Friday, and Larsen says his plan was always to use the current petition as a "test run" before actually gathering signatures after submitting it again in the fall of next year.
If he files again, Larsen will have 90 days to gather the signatures of 10 per cent of registered voters in each of the province's 85 ridings.
If he achieves that, a committee of the legislature could then choose to either send the matter to the legislature for a vote or call a provincewide, non-binding referendum.
Federal Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau told CBC Radio One's The Early Edition Thursday morning he is in "total agreement" with the push to legalize marijuana.
"One of the big concerns that people had were it's going to thicken borders with the [United] States," he said.
"Well, now two states and possibly more eventually are already looking at it, so I think there's going to be a big shift. And the thing with taxing and regulation is it keeps marijuana out of the hands of our kids better than having pushers on street corners."
Only one initiative petition has ever received the required number of signatures in B.C. That led to the 2011 mail-in referendum over the harmonized sales tax.
B.C. residents vote 55 per cent in favour of scrapping the unpopular tax and while the results were not binding, the Liberal government has promised to rollback the HST in 2013.