December 04, 2013 - 1:06 PM
I KNOW THE SUPPORT IS OUT THERE
KELOWNA - As the campaign to decriminalize marijuana in B.C. draws near to the Dec. 9 deadline, Sensible B.C. has collected only about half of the 400,000 signatures it needs to force a referendum on the issue.
Dana Larsen is on the Board of Directors for the Sensible B.C. campaign and says that although it looks as though they will fall well short of their goal, he is still optimistic for the future.
“I’m hoping we’re going to be around 200,000 (signatures),” Larsen says. “I don’t think we’re going to make it over the top but we’ll see what comes in over the next couple of days.”
The Kelowna-Mission riding had the fewest signatures of the three Kelowna ridings, with only about six per cent of registered voters signing. They need ten per cent from each of the 85 provincial ridings.
“The referendum is probably not going to make it this time,” says Kristi Heemeryck, a Sensible BC volunteer for the Kelowna-Lake Country and Kelowna-Mission ridings.
“The Mission is big homes and retired people so it’s a lot harder to get signatures from people like that,” Heemeryck says.
“A lot of them were concerned that their information would get passed along or that their job would find out. A lot of people there had concerns about signing.”
Heemeryck says that the biggest problem was with their approach.
“We didn’t have the right plan of attack,” she says. “We kind of just waited for people to come to us instead of going to them.”
“We’re going to try again next year.”
Although Larsen agrees that there is room for improvement with their approach, he says he is happy with the support they received from the Kelowna area.
“We’re still counting so it’s hard to say for sure, but as of this morning, we’ve completed West Side-Kelowna, Kelowna-Lake Country is at 9 per cent with more signatures to tally and Kelowna-Mission is around six per cent. We might not make that one.”
Larsen won’t confirm when exactly another attempt will be made, but says they are definitely going to try again.
“At the longest it’s going to be around 18 months from now,” he says.
“I know the support is out there. I think it was an issue of getting the petition in front of enough people and getting enough momentum and volunteers. We’re definitely here to stay.”
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013