Sensible BC aims to collect signatures from 10 per cent of the eligible voters in every B.C. riding to force a referendum on legalizing cannabis.

Sensible BC aims to collect signatures from 10 per cent of the eligible voters in every B.C. riding to force a referendum on legalizing cannabis.

Speirs leads marijuana referendum campaign in Ridge, Pitt

Politicians from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows reveal if they've toked

Former Maple Ridge councillor Craig Speirs is inviting politicians of all stripes to join the effort to finding a solution to the smouldering question of marijuana.

Speirs is leading Sensible BC’s efforts in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows in an attempt to collect signatures from 10 per cent of the eligible voters in the riding to force a B.C. referendum on legalizing the herb. The group has to do so within 90 days in order to force an HST-type referendum that could take in September 2014.

The HST referendum in 2011 resulted in the killing of the Harmonized Sales Tax last April 1.

“It’s insane that they keep pressing this,” Speirs said of the federal government’s position on maintaining criminalization of marijuana.

“We’ve got to have this discussion. That’s what the federal government should be doing.”

He said marijuana should be sold in B.C. liquor stores and only to those 19 and over, just like booze.

That way, there can be some control in keeping it away from teens who are now smoking.  People should be at least 20 years old before they start smoking marijuana, he adds.

Speirs admits, he tokes up, on occasion. When he has a quiet time and wants to reflect, he’ll smoke a joint which helps clarify things, he says.

“It’s really good for reflection. I would prescribe it to many politicians.

“Over the years, when I’ve had a thorny problem, I’ve had a puff, sat some place quiet and thought about something and usually what that does is bring something up that maybe hadn’t occurred to me. It really is good for reflective thought.

“I think there are many politicians who would benefit greatly from a little reflective thought. I would just mention the entire (federal) Tory caucus, just have a doobie and relax.”

But he said it’s an occasional thing, which is how most people smoke it. Education is crucial, so people can make up their own minds.

“What somebody does to their own body is their own choice. As long as they’re not hurting me or my society, I don’t really care.”

Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters said she tried pot once when she was a teen. “Growing up with two parents who smoked, it’s just something that didn’t appeal to me at all.

“Smoking isn’t for me, either.

“To be quiet honest, I don’t judge people who do,” although she pointed out it’s still illegal. She’ll respect whatever is the final decision on the marijuana, she added.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin though has never had a puff.

“My first encounter with it was in the late 1960s after a basketball game, scared the crap out of me.

“I have no inclination. Never have tried it.”

See related story: Ridge & Pitt mayors support ticketing for pot possession