CANNABIS CULTURE – Despite the remarkable efforts of thousands of volunteers, the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize marijuana fell short of its target, collecting 2/3 of the signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.
But this isn’t the end: organizer Dana Larsen says his now-established team will be back for another try with better chances.
“Although we didn’t hit our target overall … all things considered I think it was a remarkably successful campaign,” Dana Larsen said on Friday’s episode of Cannabis Culture News LIVE. “Other than getting the signatures that we needed, we got everything else that we wanted. We got over 500 media articles. We got a great deal of awareness about this.”
Larsen, the former editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine and founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank and Vancouver Dispensary Society, worked for months in preparation for the campaign, which had only a three-month period to collect 300,000 valid signatures from at least 10% of voters in all 85 provincial ridings. If successful in collecting signatures, the group would have put marijuana decriminalization before the public of British Columbia by asking them to vote yes or no for the Sensible Policing Act, a bill that would de-fund police enforcement of marijuana laws in the province.
“This represents a lot of hard work from a lot of people, working many, many hours,” Larsen told the press. This is over 200,000 signatures here, many tens-of-thousands of hours of volunteer labour from canvassers all across the province working on this important campaign.”
This army of canvassers, which grew significantly during the collection period, will likely give the Sensible BC campaign a much better chance of winning a future ballot initiative campaign, something Larsen plans to kick off before the next federal election in 2015.
“What really is the most meaningful thing to me about the whole campaign is the great many people that thanked me earnestly for giving them a chance to do something,” Larsen told CCN LIVE. “And that there’s a lot of people who want to get involved and want to be part of the marijuana movement but don’t really know what to do. It’s not always easy. We tell them write a letter to your MP or make a meeting with your MLA or write to the paper – and those are good things that people should be doing, but they’re not very soul-satisfying.”
Larsen says the campaign will continue to grow before kicking off again before 2015.
“We’ve definitely had a big impact on the whole debate and we can try it again probably in the next year,” he said. “Maybe 18 months or so. We can make it happen in that time, I think.”