Sensible BC Launches Referendum Campaign to Decriminalize Marijuana in British Columbia

CANNABIS CULTURE – A new campaign called Sensible BC aims to decriminalize cannabis possession in BC and create a provincial commission to study full regulation and taxation of cannabis.

“We’ve prepared legislation called the Sensible Policing Act,” explained Dana Larsen, a Sensible BC director and founder of the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary. “This new law will stop arrests for simple cannabis possession in BC, as a first step towards a sensible cannabis policy based on public health and safety.”

“The Sensible Policing Act instructs all police in the province to stop spending time and resources searching or arresting people for simple possession of cannabis, while still prohibiting possession by minors in the same manner as alcohol,” explained Kirk Tousaw, a prominent Vancouver lawyer who drafted the legislation. “The new law also calls upon the federal government to let BC go our own way on cannabis policy, and sets up a provincial commission to figure out exactly what legally regulated cannabis will look like in BC, since it will fall mostly under provincial control, like alcohol and tobacco.”

“Setting police priorities is within provincial jurisdiction, and our proposed legislation has been accepted by Elections BC as constitutionally sound and suitable for a ballot initiative,” continued Tousaw. “While we hope that the provincial government will see fit to pass the Sensible Policing Act into law, we’re focusing on building support for a referendum.”

Under BC’s Recall and Initiative Act, any ballot initiative which meets the requirements will be voted on at the next fixed referendum election date in September 2014.

“We will be launching our official signature gathering effort next year, in the fall of 2013,” explained Larsen. “Under the rules, we will have only 90 days to collect the roughly 400,000 official signatures we need from all over BC. So over the coming year we will be putting on local events across the province, building a network of volunteers and registering our supporters. It is going to be an exciting campaign, unique in BC history. Our website at has already been getting a great response.”

“Polls show that the people of BC overwhelmingly reject the current prohibition on the adult use of cannabis. Sensible BC will give BC residents the chance to support a better strategy focused on science, health and safety,” concluded Larsen.


On Monday, September 24, at 7pm, Sensible BC is hosting a public forum on BC cannabis laws and the Sensible Policing Act at the Alix Goolden Hall in Victoria. Speakers include:

Nicholas Simons – NDP MLA Powell River – Sunshine Coast
John Ranns – Mayor, City of Metchosin
David Bratzer – President of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Canada
Kirk Tousaw – Barrister, precedent-setting cannabis lawyer
Dr. Evan Wood – founder of Stop the Violence BC

The panel will be moderated by Philippe Lucas of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. Lucas is also a former Victoria City Councillor and founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society. Admission is free and tickets can be ordered at: