As he tours Vancouver Island, Dana Larsen is promoting the Sensible Policing Act in an effort to decriminalize cannabis possession in B.C.
Larsen — director of the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary who sought the provincial NDP leadership last year — spoke to supporters Saturday at the Filberg Centre in Courtenay.
He is leading a Sensible BC campaign in hopes of securing a referendum on the act. Volunteers will collect signatures next year from September to November. If 10 per cent of registered voters in every riding in B.C. sign the petition, a referendum would occur in September 2014.
Campaign supporter Ernie Yacub of the Comox Valley says Larsen is “brilliant,” noting his involvement in marijuana decriminalization and legalization, and his work with Marc Emery on cannabis culture.
“He was one of the organizers for the Marijuana Party when they fielded representatives in every riding,” said Yacub, manager of the North Island Compassion Club. “He’s very knowledgeable.”
Larsen has toured 30 B.C. cities and towns since mid-October.
Cannabis was recently legalized in Colorado and Washington. The latter has legalized cannabis possession up to an ounce, and will determine how to open cannabis shops within a year.
Larsen says the Sensible Policing Act is similar to the Washington initiative.
“It’s a good beginning,” Yacub said. “Lots of media coverage, especially as a result of the vote in Washington and Colorado. It certainly gives us a boost — takes away the concern that the states across the line are having a problem with our decriminalization when they’ve legalized themselves.
“That was the beginning of the end of alcohol prohibition was the States, one by one, repealing. So it’s a similar pattern.”
The petition can be signed at sensiblebc.ca.