LongHairBri Posted September 24, 2012 Report Share Posted September 24, 2012 With three western American states mulling legalized marijuana and the Union of B.C. Municipalities set to debate it, a new group wants the province to stop enforcing the federal criminal ban on pot. Several prominent cannabis crusaders have drafted a proposed law, called the Sensible Policing Act, and are asking for a provincial commission to study the regulation and taxation of the demonized plant. Vancouver lawyer Kirk Tousaw said the would-be act instructs police to stop arresting adults for possession, while minors still would not be allowed to possess pot. “The new law also calls upon the federal government to let B.C. go our own way on cannabis policy, and sets up a provincial commission to figure out exactly what legally regulated cannabis will look like, since it will fall mostly under provincial control, like alcohol and tobacco,” Tousaw said. The wished-for legislation is available on the group’s website: www.SensibleBC.ca. “Setting police priorities is within provincial jurisdiction,” Tousaw continued, “and our proposed legislation has been accepted by Elections B.C. as constitutionally sound and suitable for a ballot initiative. While we hope that the provincial government will see fit to pass the into law, we’re focusing on building support for a referendum.” According to statistics, the number of people charged with simple possession of cannabis in B.C. has risen steadily in the last decade. More than 15,000 possession charges went through the courts in 2010. There’s a current Provincial Court backlog of about 22,000 cases; eliminate the pot possession charges and you would practically erase it. By comparison, roughly 2,600 people were charged in 2010 with possession of cocaine — down from nearly 4,700 in 2006 — and only 305 with possession of heroin, down from 362 a decade ago (or 515 in 2006). Marijuana is our “drug problem” and the approach we’ve been taking for almost a century — the draconian laws and expensive prohibition — isn’t working. It’s time for change. And what’s being proposed is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Washington, Oregon and Colorado are debating such reforms and have ballot initiatives in the offing. Former B.C. attorneys-general, Vancouver’s erstwhile mayors, provincial medical officers of health — all kinds of smart people are pushing for legalization. The cost of policing, corrections and judicial resources isn’t worth it and the violence that accompanies the underground drug economy is out of control. On Sept. 26, the UBCM will vote on a resolution from Metchosin district council, endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities, urging “the appropriate government to decriminalize marijuana and research the regulation and taxation of marijuana.” Under the province’s Recall and Initiative Act, a question that meets the requirements could be put to voters on the fixed referendum date next September. “We will be launching our official signature-gathering effort next year, in the fall of 2013,” said Dana Larsen, a director of the new group and a founder of the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary. “Under the rules, we will have only 90 days to collect the roughly 400,000 official signatures we need. So over the coming year we will be putting on local events across the province, building a network of volunteers and registering our supporters.” http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mulgrew+drug+problem+easy+legalize+marijuana/7267694/story.html By Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun September 20, 2012 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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