Sensible BC coordinator in Skeena riding thinks region hit petition threshold locally

Zachary Canuel believes the petition to decriminalize marijuana hit the 10 per cent minimum in the Skeena riding.

The district coordinator for the Sensible BC campaign to spark a referendum on decriminalizing marijuana possession is confident this riding made the 10 per cent threshold for the petition.

That’s a victory, despite worry ahead of the December 9 deadline for the petition that on a provincial level there weren’t enough signatures to meet Elections BC requirements.

Zachary Canuel stopped in to Kitimat on December 4, and spoke to the Sentinel on his way to the union office representing Rio Tinto Alcan workers.

The Unifor 2301 union passed a motion on November 14, which supported the petition initiative.

In the motion, available on the union’s website, they emphasize it’s not about drug use, but allowing the democratic process.

“It is important to note that Unifor Local 2031 does not condone illegal drug use,” a message from the union stated, which was attached to the motion that the union publicly support Sensible BC’s initiative.

“What the union is supporting with this motion is the right of the people of B.C. to hold a referendum on this social issue, and to determine the outcome democratically with a vote,” the message continued.

We didn’t immediately receive call back from the union for further comment.

Meanwhile, Canuel is overall pleased with the support in the Skeena riding for the petition, which has been at times a tough go with only about 10 canvassers actually turning out to volunteer out of 40 who had signed up ahead of the petition kick-off.

Of course there is always the image of the pothead that canvassers like Canuel try to overcome when gathering support.

“A lot of people think we’re just trying to get high,” he said. “But it’s really more about their tax dollars, spending everything effectively, and criminalizing cannabis and incarcerating people isn’t effective.”

Also, he said he has heard a few people remark that they’d “stop making money” if the petition was successful.

It should be emphasized though that the petition doesn’t legalize marijuana, just decriminalizes possession.

So effectively, possessing marijuana wouldn’t be cause to be arrested or searched.

Canuel said Kitimat had been a top supporter as far as communities go for the petition.

“I felt like downtown Terrace wasn’t necessarily as supportive as Kitimat. Kitimat definitely seems more in favour, as well as the outlying areas around Terrace,” he said.

Meanwhile news reports show Dana Larsen, who has headed up the Sensible BC campaign, isn’t going to give up even if the petition doesn’t succeed.

“Whether or not we get all the signatures we need, this campaign will absolutely continue,” Larsen said, adding the “army” of supporters will push towards marijuana legalization on multiple fronts.

If people want the chance to sign the petition before the deadline on December 9, a petition is available at Deviant Fibres in Terrace, on Lakelse Boulevard.

– Files from Jeff Nagel