Sensible B.C. Nanaimo riding director Amanda Orum points to signatures from federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder on a Sensible B.C. banner.

Sensible B.C. Nanaimo riding director Amanda Orum points to signatures from federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder on a Sensible B.C. banner.

Petition less than halfway to goal

NANAIMO – Sensible B.C. calls for vote on pot laws.

With a December deadline looming, the Sensible B.C. campaign is only about half way to reaching the target for its marijuana decriminalization petition.

Signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in B.C.’s 85 electoral districts are sought – approximately 400,000 signatures – and according to organizers, the number is currently sitting somewhere between the 100,000 and 200,000 mark.

“We put out a number a week ago (and) we just said we were at less than half … but I don’t have a number since then,” said Dana Larsen, director of the Sensible B.C. campaign. “Our numbers have been going up substantially in the last little while.”

More than 1,400 confirmed signatures have been collected in the Nanaimo riding and sent to the head office. Amanda Orum, Nanaimo Sensible B.C. zone manager, estimated that if 150 signatures a day are collected from now until a cut-off date of Dec. 5, the Nanaimo riding will hit the 12-per cent mark. The target for the riding is also signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters (4,001).

“When I go into the numbers, our canvassers that are just doing their network around them haven’t submitted their sheets in yet to me, so it’s going to be much larger than that much closer to the cut off,” Orum said.

She estimated that two out of 10 people in the area are against the petition, but even if people are pro- or anti-marijuana decriminalization, it doesn’t hurt to sign, she said, as the petition only seeks to have a referendum on decriminalization in 2014. People can vote against decriminalization in the referendum then if they so desire, she said.

“This just makes us eligible for a vote and this makes cannabis lowest police priority, so we’re following the same steps as the Washington and Colorado referendum … we encourage everyone to come down and sign, even if you’re against it, so that you can exercise your democratic right,” Orum said.

The deadline for organizers to hand in all the petition forms to Elections B.C. is Dec. 9.