June 19, 2014 1:22 pm

Group behind marijuana referendum plans to sue BC Ferries, City of Surrey

Sensible BC Director Dana Larsen says canvassers were harassed by security officers and bylaw officials.

The Canadian Press

The group behind last fall’s marijuana referendum is planning to sue BC Ferries and the City of Surrey for the alleged harassment of its canvassers.

Sensible BC Director Dana Larsen claims his canvassers were harassed by security officers and bylaw officials.

“During our signature-gathering effort last fall, our canvassers were harassed by Transit police, BC Ferries security, and Surrey bylaw officials.”

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“BC Ferries and the City of Surrey refused to accept our legal right to collect signatures,” says Larsen. “BC Ferries repeatedly threatened our canvassers, and even called the RCMP on us a few times. Happily, police declined to make any arrests, but they should not have been called in the first place.”

Larsen says he doesn’t believe a Surrey bylaw prohibiting canvassing on public land is legal.

“The Surrey bylaw is unique in province, and it is simply not legal,” says Larsen. “It’s a violation of the Charter for a city to use bylaws to shut down this important part of the democratic process.”

He says if marijuana is not legalized after the next federal election in 2015, the group will launch another referendum campaign to legalize it in B.C. Last year’s referendum campaign failed to collect enough signatures.

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