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Fight to decriminalize marijuana comes to South Delta
The movement to decriminalize marijuana possession is underfoot – and up high. Two billboards promoting the Sensible BC campaign are now running on Highway 99 by the Massey Tunnel, with a third on Highway 91 by the Alex Fraser Bridge.
The billboards ask those driving by to join the Sensible BC marijuana referendum campaign and direct them to the group’s website (sensiblebc.ca).
The movement aims to collect enough signatures to launch a referendum on how pot possession is policed in B.C. The group must gather signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in each of the province’s electoral districts within a 90 day period, which starts in little over two weeks on Sept. 9.
“Right now our main focus is to register as many canvassers as possible all around the province,” Sensible BC founder and director Dana Larsen said in a media release, adding they have currently registered 1,000 canvassers with a goal of 5,000.
Larsen recently returned from touring towns in B.C.’s northern interior and was on Vancouver Island when reached by phone earlier this week. He said he will host a series of events in the Lower Mainland soon, including South Delta, but didn’t have a schedule just yet.
Sgt. Ciaran Feenan said the Delta Police Department does not have an official position on the movement and the group’s proposed Sensible Policing Act, which hopes to amend the BC Police Act to decriminalize the simple possession of cannabis in B.C. and eventually work toward legal regulation.
“Essentially, we have to enforce the laws that are currently in place, and that would be our role,” Feenan said. “Whether it be provincial or federal our mandate is to enforce those laws, and so in terms of a position relative to the Sensible Policing Act, we don’t have one.”
On Tuesday (Aug. 20), the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police proposed giving police the option of handing out tickets for the illegal possession of marijuana opposed to laying criminal charges.
“The CACP is not in support of decriminalization or legalization of cannabis in Canada,” the CACP said in a release. “It must be recognized, however, that under the current legislation the only enforcement option for police when confronted with simple possession of cannabis, is either to turn a blind eye or lay charges. The latter ensues a lengthy and difficult process which, if proven guilty, results in a criminal conviction and criminal record.”