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Th ursda y , Ju l y 1 8 , 2 0 1 3 FERNIE Serving the South Country, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford since 1898 FREE July 27 - August 2 Fernie to Canmore Sunday Socials - Check it out! Black bear destroyedPage 4 OUTDOOR Rafting adventures Page 12 COMMUNITY Summer socials heat up- Page 20 GOLF A chess Grandmaster in the making at Fernie’s latest Sunday Downtown Social. More photos on page 20 or visit Photo by T Hynd Sensible BC drums up support for marijuana referendum By Tamara Hynd Free Press Staff BC ALS Golfathon Page 17 SPORT Roller Girls triumph Page 19 E lections BC has approved the Sensible Policing Act, a law which would effectively decriminalize marijuana possession in the province, as valid legislation and suitable for a referendum. Sensible BC visited Fernie today, outside The Lunch Box, to spread the word of the upcoming campaign. Many locals came to show their support during their lunch break. “We are gathering signatures today to preregister our supporters so we have a big head start,” said Dana Larsen, Director of the Sensible BC campaign, which drafted the legislation. Sensible BC currently has 30,000 supporters in their data base that they hope to call on for registered canvassers. "Elections BC’s approval shows that the provinces do have the power to effectively decriminalize marijuana," said Larsen. "BC politicians can't say this is solely a federal issue anymore. Our province pays for all the costs of marijuana enforcement, and now we've confirmed that BC has the jurisdiction to take action and make change." Sensible BC now has 60 days before the 90-day signature-gathering period begins on September 9. If the campaign can collect signatures from 10 per cent of the registered voters in each electoral district, the Sensible Policing Act will be put to a referendum in 2014. "We can start registering canvassers next week," said Larsen. "We'll need a few thousand volunteer registered canvassers to collect the roughly 400,000 signatures required. Anyone who wants to help out and become a canvasser should visit our website at” “There is still a stigma around this issue that makes people afraid that they could lose their job or have negative repercussions by supporting our campaign,” said Larsen. “A lot of our supporters and top organizers do not use marijuana. People don’t want to see their tax dollars wasted. Many people think marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol, not criminalized.” “Most people I’ve spoken to support this but many are afraid to sign for fear they will lose their jobs,” said Daniel Dufresne who has been canvassing in Hosmer. "Our polling shows over 70 per cent support in BC for the provisions of the Sensible Policing Act," said Larsen. "The question for us is, are there enough British Columbians who feel passionately about this issue Continued on page 4

The Free Press, July 18, 2013

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