OUR VIEW: Drug law reform must proceed

We say: Debate begins around a referendum on marijuana policy

Failed NDP leadership candidate Dana Larsen and his group Sensible BC are set to kick off their campaign next month to force a referendum on marijuana policy. Much like the ultimately successful Fight HST petition in 2010, Larsen hopes to use the Recall and Initiative Act to force an end to what he sees as archaic and draconian drug laws.

Specifically, Larsen and his group want to prohibit the use of police resources in B.C. to enforce drugs laws aimed at the possession and use of marijuana.

Larsen will need to get more than 10 per cent of registered voters in each of B.C.’s 85 electoral districts to sign the petition in order to force a province-wide referendum on the issue. He’ll have 90 days to do it, beginning next month.

Larsen is no doubt emboldened by the success of the Fight HST campaign, not to mention the recent move by Washington State to legalize recreational marijuana use there.

And the message is clear: Marijuana prohibition does vastly more harm than good.

It’s a message that is increasingly finding an audience.

An Ipsos poll conducted last year found that 66 per cent of Canadians support the decriminalization of marijuana in small amounts. Twenty-five years ago, that number was just 39 per cent. It’s an encouraging trend.

Marijuana prohibition funds organized crime, wastes tax dollars, wastes police resources, and makes the drug easier for young people to obtain.

Larsen should be commended for going after an issue that most politicians are too afraid to touch. His message is one that deserves to be heard.

– Black Press