Dana Larsen is hoping to stop prosecution of people for simple marijuana possession.

Countdown on ‘sensible’ pot bid

Proponents of a move to have marijuana effectively decriminalized have 90 days to meet petition targets.

  • Thu Sep 12th, 2013 2:00pm
  • News

VICTORIA – Petition sheets for the initiative to amend the Police Act were issued to proponent Dana Larsen, Elections BC announced Monday.

Larsen, former head of B.C.’s Marijuana Party and a recent candidate for B.C.’s NDP leadership, has proposed that B.C. go around the federal prohibition with a “Sensible Policing Act” that would disallow the use of B.C. police resources to prosecute simple possession of small amounts of pot by adults.

He visited Port Hardy and Port McNeill in late August, in an effort to recruit local canvassers.

Registered canvassers have 90 days to collect the signatures of at least 10 percent of registered voters in each of the province’s 85 electoral districts.

“In order to sign the petition, individuals must be registered on the provincial voters list as of today and may sign the petition sheet only for the electoral district in which they are registered to vote,” says Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer.  “The proponent must return signed petition sheets to Elections BC by Dec. 9, 2013.”

There are no registered opponents or currently registered initiative advertising sponsors for the initiative petition. For more information, visit the Elections BC website here.

Elections BC has 42 days from the date the completed petition pages are submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer to verify that those who signed the petition were entitled to do so.  The proponent must file a financing report with the Chief Electoral Officer within 28 days of submitting the petition.

If the petition has enough valid signatures and the legislated financing requirements are met by the proponent, the Chief Electoral Officer will send a copy of the initiative petition and the draft Bill to the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives.

The Select Standing Committee must meet within 30 days of receiving the initiative petition and draft Bill.  Within 90 days of their first meeting, the Committee must either table a report recommending introduction of the Bill or refer the initiative petition and the draft Bill to the Chief Electoral Officer for an initiative vote.  The next scheduled date for an initiative vote is September 27, 2014.

Initiative legislation came into force with the Recall and Initiative Act, 1995.  Eight previous initiative petition applications received approval in principle by the Chief Electoral Officer.