Marijuana petition falls short

B.C’s marijuana referendum has failed to spark sufficient interest locally and provincially

B.C’s marijuana referendum has failed to spark sufficient interest locally.

As the Dec. 5 deadline approached, Sensible BC organizers for Vernon-Monashee had a strong representation but fell short of the 10 per cent goal.

“We did not hit our target here in Vernon,” said Boyd Goble, local organizer. “We have sent in more then 3,000 (short of our goal of 4,200) and now we wait till after the ninth to see how the rest of the province did.”

The campaign started in September with jurisdictions across B.C. working to collect signatures of 10 per cent of the voting population. While an estimated 200,000 signatures were collected, the number falls short of the minimum 310,000 needed.

But Goble says that won’t snuff out efforts.

“If we do not succeed this time we will be starting anew.”

If the campaign was successful, a referendum would have been held on a Sensible Policing Act, which would decriminalize marijuana possession.

Under the requirements of the B.C. referendum law, the group had 90 days to collect the signatures of 10 per cent of eligible voters in every one of B.C.’s 85 provincial ridings. If the bid failed in any one riding, the entire attempt to have the referendum held failed.

“We’ve got two dozen districts that are over the top, a few that are close and a dozen or so that are pretty low,” said Dana Larsen, who has been leading the province-wide effort.

Despite the result, Larsen said the efforts were far from wasted.

“It was very successful in every possible way, except to get the signatures needed,” said Larsen, adding that the movement is much stronger.

With volunteers eager to try again, Larsen figures a campaign will start up again sometime in the next year-and-a-half or so.

“This is really just the beginning and not the end.”