Larson says that the tour has been trying, but has been finding support among his various stops in the province.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of driving, but I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people,” Larson says. “In every town I find some people that are interested in carrying our banner forward, and collecting signatures. In a lot of these smaller communities, we don’t necessarily need a lot of people to be collecting signatures, but we need a few devoted people who will get involved, and I’ve been finding those everywhere I go.
Larson adds that while there are challenges with the tour, most people he comes across are excited about the prospects of changing the current laws.
“People are excited about getting involved in this campaign, so a lot are really enthusiastic about it,” he says. “There’s some people who are worried about the stigma of being attached to a marijuana cause, that somehow they are going to be judged, or looked poorly upon because they are advocating for this, but by and large, most people that I meet really just want to see this happen.
One of the main misunderstandings Larson says, is that people believe that change can’t happen at the provincial level, but that isn’t the case according to him.
“Some people don’t really understand the legislation we’re trying to pass, so they say ‘oh these are federal laws, and British Columbia can’t do anything’, but that’s not really true,” Larson argues. “The law that we’ve written has been very carefully crafted to approach this from the provincial angle, so the law that we’ve created, the ‘sensible policing act’, would effectively decriminalize marijuana possession in British Columbia, by using our jurisdiction over policing, to tell the police ‘no more searching, no more arresting for marijuana possession’ “.
One of reasons behind the campaign, according to Larson, is that marijuana is a big money maker in the province, and that a lot of money could be made by the government if it was something that was properly taxed.
“I believe that the war on marijuana, and marijuana smokers is a very important social, and civil rights issue,” he explains.” We all pay for the tax dollars that are spent for the police and courts to deal with marijuana users, and really, we are handing over one of British Columbia’s biggest industries. Marijuana is on par with tourism and forestry, it’s worth about six billion dollars, and our current laws hand that entire industry over to the underground market on organized crime.”
He continues by saying, “It really would benefit all British Columbians to bring this industry above board where we can regulate it, where we can tax it where needed, where we can make sure medical users get the medicine they need, and we can make our communities safer, and generate a lot of tax revenue for British Columbia.”
The campaign needs to get signatures 10 percent of the registered voters in every electoral district for the petition to be considered. Larson’s goal is to get one and a half times that amount, or about 500,000 from across the province.