Pot Watchers Focus on U.S. Election Vote

While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney make most of the U.S. headlines, a referendum in Washington state may have a more profound effect on British Columbians.

The multibillion-dollar B.C. bud industry is watching carefully as Washington, Oregon and Colorado vote on whether to legalize marijuana.

Pot watchers believe Washington stands the best chance of legalizing the drug, which would immediately affect B.C.’s growers and exporters as well as the ongoing campaign to decriminalize marijuana in B.C.

“It’s likely there’s going to be pretty significant changes,” SFU criminology professor Neil Boyd said if Washingtonians legalize pot. “There is a big gap between the science and the marijuana laws.

“For most people in most cases, it’s much less problematic than alcohol, tobacco, or many prescription drugs.

“It’s probably a more useful drug than many of the drugs that stores are selling.”

Jodie Emery, a pot activist along with her husband Marc, said she believes the three states are now leading Canada, once thought of as a leader in pot reform.

“People always said we couldn’t legalize pot in Canada without the U.S. doing it, too,” she said. “Now, the U.S. is leading the way.”

Emery said the sickening cycle of drug-related violence is turning the public tide.

“It’s not so much a pro-pot message anymore – it’s an anti-prohibition message,” she said. “Prohibition is making gangsters rich. The momentum is really growing.”

Dana Larsen hopes a win in Washington will help his current campaign to put pot decriminalization to a B.C.-wide vote in September 2014.

“I think it’ll have a huge effect if Washington does,” said Larsen, whose “Sensible B.C.” campaign will be heading out into the street next September, hoping to have the same effect the anti-HST forces did in forcing a public vote.

“That will have a big impact in the United States, Canada and British Columbia.”

– Read the entire article at The Province.