EDITORIAL: Marijuana vote not a sure thing

B.C. is famed around the world for the quality of its marijuana, and people here buy, sell, grow and consume it

B.C. is famed around the world for the quality of its marijuana, and people here buy, sell, grow and consume it mostly without fear of serious consequences from the law.

Elections B.C. has approved Dana Larsen’s drive for a referendum on decriminalizing marijuana possession – a reminder that pot remains illegal, and unlike our neighbour in Washington state, our province and country remain far away from laws that take drug profits away from criminals.

Any move to shake up drugs laws in this country is seen as a good thing. But pot smokers shouldn’t have a victory toke yet – it’s not clear this referendum will even get off the ground, and, if it does, if the province will give it the time of day.

Similar to the ultimately successful drive to oust the HST, Larsen and his supporters need to collect signatures of at least 10 per cent of elected voters in each of the 85 ridings.

The gross mishandling of the HST by the Liberals made it easy to whip up voter anger, and voter turnout. Many people in B.C. may support laxer laws around possessing marijuana (or buying, selling and growing for that matter), but the issue is unlikely to inflame the same passions as a government perceived as dishonest and shifting tax burdens from business to citizens.

The drive to create a marijuana referendum could help to get voting-adverse young adults more engaged in the political life of B.C. At the risk of glib stereotyping, hopefully the referendum advocates stay focused and organized, and aren’t smoking what they are trying to legalize.

If the referendum were to succeed anywhere in Canada, it should be B.C. But even if Larsen and his allies win, the victory will be non-binding and symbolic – the B.C. Liberals don’t have to support the vote.

B.C. may have a permissive pot culture, but this isn’t the U.S., where, for better or worse, voter propositions are binding. And unlike Canadian provinces, states like Washington and Colorado will defy their federal government based on the will of the people.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

500 pounds of turkey served at Cool Aid community Christmas dinner

Annual dinner serves hundreds of community members

VIDEO: Annual Tuba Christmas concert draws large crowd to Market Square

Over 100 tuba and euphonium players gathered to play festive tunes

Revisit Christmas past as Point Ellice House displays Victorian-era traditions

Antique bobbles, cards, decor and more are on display

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Most Read