Sensible BC was launched in 2012 to promote the Sensible Policing Act, legislation which would stop arrests for marijuana possession in BC.
Our campaign pointed out that policing is provincial jurisdiction, and that marijuana possession charges have more than doubled in BC.
We wanted to force a public vote on the Sensible Policing Act by collecting signatures for a ballot initiative vote, similar to the campaign against the HST.
We worked to build a province-wide network of organizers and volunteers, and from September 9 to December 3 of 2013, our team collected 202,085 signatures from across BC.
While not enough to trigger a referendum, the signatures gathered represented an significant accomplishment, and showed the widespread support for marijuana enforcement reform at the provincial level.
At the end of the campaign we were left with a province-wide network of volunteer canvassers, and a team of experienced, enthusiastic organizers.
Sensible BC has become Canada’s largest cannabis reform organization. Our office is regularly full of volunteers, donations continue coming in, and our team is more passionate, more enthusiastic and more organized than ever before.
The question is, where do we go from here?
SENSIBLE BC PLANS FOR 2014
We’ve decided to hold off on another referendum campaign until after the federal election in October 2015.
One reason for waiting is that if Harper is defeated in the October 2015 election, then there’s a good chance we could see legalization in 2016 at the federal level. That would supersede anything happening on the provincial level in BC.
If Harper wins the 2015 election, or if his replacement refuses to move forward on legalization, then we will launch a new referendum signature campaign in BC for the spring/summer of 2016.
Our focus for 2014 will be building our network and organization, keeping our issue in the media, fighting several legal challenges, and working towards the municipal elections coming this November.
Sensible BC has already been busy in 2014. We organized a successful rally in Victoria on February 11 to mark the opening of the BC Legislature. We put on a Day Of Action on April 1 to jam the phone and fax lines of Health Canada, in protest of their mismanagement of the medical marijuana system. We worked the Vancouver April 20 rally to sign up thousands of new supporters and volunteers. Our office is busy every day and new volunteers are always welcome.
Sensible BC at the Legislature, Feb 11 2014
SUMMER TOUR & COMMUNITY EVENTS
We’ll be organizing local community events across the province during June and July. I will be touring the province with our best organizers, putting on talks, hosting events and building local campaign teams.
In September we will be hosting a Sensible BC convention in Vancouver. Details are still being established, but the idea is to have as many supporters as possible come from across BC, for a long weekend of talks, strategy sessions, canvasser training and socializing.
On November 15 of this year we have municipal elections in every city and town in BC, and that will be our focus for the fall. We want to defeat some of BC’s more prohibitionist mayors, and make sure that reform-minded mayors and councillors are elected and re-elected.
We have seen that Mayors and city councillors have a huge role in enforcement of the cannabis laws. Some cities, like Vancouver and Victoria, have accepted medical cannabis dispensaries, while others, like Surrey, Langley and Prince Rupert, have gone after head shops and cracked down on personal possession.
Municipal elections usually have a very low turnout, so it’s easier for a core group of organized citizens to have a real impact. We will be endorsing many municipal candidates across the province, then choosing several specific cities and towns to focus our resources for maximum impact.
PLANS FOR 2015
Our goals for 2015 are similar to 2014, but with a focus on the federal election coming in November.
We’ll spend early 2015 continuing to put on events, touring the province, building awareness, support and organizational capacity.
By summer of 2015 we will have a list of endorsements for federal election candidates in BC, and we’ll focus our resources in the regions where we can have the biggest effect.
GET INVOLVED NOW!
If you haven’t signed up to stay in touch with our team, now’s the time to step up. We’ve got new people joining every day, so you’re guaranteed to meet interesting new folks and make awesome new friends.
If you want to help out right away, then send us an email or give us a phone call at 604-343-4684. If you’re in Vancouver, you can also drop by our office. If you’re on Vancouver Island, in Kelowna or in Kamloops and the Interior, please get in touch with our team leaders in your region.
We can repeal cannabis prohibition in Canada. This is an issue whose time has come, but change won’t happen unless we lead the way. Please get involved, join our campaign, and let’s end prohibition together!