Employee Kim Wall of LockWorks on Main Street holds some of the material including a clipboard with the petitions containing the signatures of people who would like the government to decriminalize cannabis.

Employee Kim Wall of LockWorks on Main Street holds some of the material including a clipboard with the petitions containing the signatures of people who would like the government to decriminalize cannabis.

Penticton businesses jump on marijuana petition

Push is on to collect signatures necessary to trigger B.C.-wide referendum on decriminalization

People from all walks of life have taken an interest in the province-wide petition to decriminalize marijuana, according to a campaign volunteer in Penticton.

“I’ve had a uniformed firefighter and I’ve had older gentlemen and ladies who are in it for the medical benefits,” said Kim Wall, an employee at LockWorks, where people can sign the petition during regular business hours.

“I even actually had a group of high school students come in wondering what they can do to help the campaign, even though they’re not registered voters or legally able to vote yet,” she said.

Sensible BC organized the petition to win support for its proposed amendments to the provincial Police Act that would forbid officers from applying any resources towards arresting people for marijuana possession.

The group, which has been authorized by Elections BC, needs to collect signatures from 10 per cent of eligible voters in each of the province’s 85 ridings to trigger a full referendum or a vote in the legislature on the issue.

Sensible BC’s proposed legislative changes also call on the federal government to legalize marijuana or grant an exemption for B.C. to set up its own system to regulate the sale and use of pot.

The campaign kicked off Sept. 9 and organizers have just 90 days to collect the required signatures. The magic number in the Penticton riding is 4,337, while a total of about 318,000 signatures are needed across B.C.

Amanda Stewart, the Sensible BC riding co-ordinator for Penticton, said she’s optimistic the thresholds will be met because decriminalization of marijuana appeals to more than just recreational pot smokers.

“Even people that aren’t pro-cannabis are pro-common sense. Why should we keep using police resources to keep putting these people in jail or keep giving these people criminal records?” she said of those busted for marijuana possession.

“I have a young son and I would hate for him or any of his friends to get charged for possession and limit their employment chances, their chances for travelling.

“That’s actually one of my biggest motivators, kids.”

So far, Stewart has about 40 volunteers on board and is “constantly” looking for more. She said campaigners tend to be over 50 years old and have so far met with strong support.“About 10 per cent of the time people will say, ’No, I’m not interested in signing the petition,’ but we don’t really see much hate,” said Stewart, who operates the Valley Hemp and Import Company, where the petition is also available.

Wall said she and LockWorks jumped on the wagon because decriminalization of marijuana could be a plus for people in her industry, since  locksmiths are regulated by the provincial government and subject to criminal record checks.

“It’s something that could dramatically affect my employment if I was ever busted for (marijuana possession), so it’s definitely something that we’re passionate about,” she explained.

Since the campaign began, about 20 people have signed her copy of the petition, said Wall, adding she is available during regular business hours to talk about the initiative.

“We’re very open to conversations and discussions with anybody who has questions about why somebody in our trade would be taking this kind of a stance,” she said.

Petitions are also available at ServiceMaster and at a table at the farmers’ market on Saturdays.

To volunteer for the campaign or for more information, contact Stewart by email at astewart@img.ca or visit www.sensiblebc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read