Time for sensible marijuana laws in B.C.

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

To the Editor,

Re: B.C. marijuana referendum misguided, Oct. 10

Fletcher’s column 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 act has four components, all 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 over 16,500 arrests for possession, draining $10.5 million in police and court time away from more serious criminal offences.

Second, our legislation treats a minor in possession of marijuana the same as if it were alcohol. The 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.

Finally, our legislation creates a B.C. commission to figure out the rules needed to implement 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.

Dana Larsendirector, Sensible B.C.