DANA LARSEN: More sensible marijuana laws sought

Tom Fletcher’s recent editorial misrepresented the Sensible B.C. campaign, Larsen says

More sensible marijuana

laws sought: Larsen

Re: B.C. marijuana referendum misguided (B.C. Views, Oct. 9)

Tom Fletcher’s recent editorial misrepresented the Sensible B.C. campaign, and could lead to confusion about our efforts for a marijuana referendum.

The ultimate aim of Sensible B.C. is to have B.C.’s marijuana industry regulated in a similar manner to wine. Our proposed legislation, the Sensible Policing Act, is designed to bring us closer to that goal. The Sensible Policing Act has four components, all carefully designed to be within provincial jurisdiction.

The first aspect is to redirect police resources away from being wasted on simple possession of marijuana. Last year, B.C. police made more than 16,500 arrests for marijuana possession, draining $10.5 million in police and court time away from the investigation of other criminal offences. If Sensible B.C. is successful, tens of thousands of police and court hours would be freed up. This means safer communities for everyone, and less backlog in our courts.

Second, our legislation treats a minor in possession of marijuana exactly the same as if it were alcohol. This allows police to deal with a teenager smoking pot, but without the lifetime criminal record that can restrict travel and employment.

Third, the act calls upon the federal government to repeal marijuana prohibition, so that B.C. can regulate and tax it in a manner similar to wine and beer. This would send a powerful message of change to Ottawa, and give our prime minister the mandate to legalize.

Finally, our legislation creates a B.C. commission to create rules for implementing legalization. Like alcohol and tobacco, most of the regulation for legal marijuana would be determined at the provincial level.

B.C. cannot fully legalize marijuana without a change to federal law, but we can take some sensible steps in the right direction. That is what Sensible B.C. is all about.

Dana Larsen

Sensible B.C. campaign

 

 

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