Sensible B.C. struggling to get enough signatures in Parksville Qualicum Beach

The canvassers will be in public areas of Parksville Qualicum Beach for their last big push this weekend

Parksville-Qualicum is proving one of the more difficult for Sensible B.C. canvassers to collect signatures calling for changes to the Police Act, says a local organizer.

The provincial petition drive started mid-September, looking to redirect police from detaining or arresting adults in possession of marijuana. The canvassers will be in public areas for their last big push this weekend.

The campaign, started by Sensible B.C. director and former NDP leadership hopeful Dana Larsen, has 90 days (ending Dec. 5) to collect the signatures of 10 per cent of the voting population in each constituency to trigger a referendum on the issue.

Local organizer, physiotherapist Cory Pahl, said that while at least half a dozen areas have met or surpassed the requirement, they are at least 1,000 signatures short here.

“We were aiming for 15 per cent, or about 6,000 signatures to be safe,” he said, but as of Tuesday, Nov. 26, they had about 3,000 of the minimum 4,000 required.

He said they have had to turn away a lot of people offering to sign who live across the Inland Highway in Errington or Coombs which are in the Alberni-Pacific Rim constituency.

Canvassers from that constituency have been helping here since they surpassed the requirement and have been remarking on how may more people say no here, Pahl said. He said he decided to become an organizer because he was frustrated with the current laws that make it difficult for medical marijuana users to access the medicine they need.