Thursday May 23, 2013 - Canadian Drug Policy Coalition - http://drugpolicy.ca/
Last week, we released our first report on the state of Canadian drug policy. Entitled "Getting to Tomorrow: A Report on Canadian Drug Policy", it examines the overwhelming failure of Canada's drug laws and provides recommendations on how we can improve the health and safety of Canadians when it comes to drugs. Please download it, read it and share it.
At the beginning of the report you will find the recommendations we have made, which include the regulation of cannabis, the decriminalization of other drugs, the scaling-up of harm reduction services, and the expansion of overdose prevention strategies, among others.
In the coming year we will be working hard to advocate and promote these recommendations. If you would like to help make this happen, please consider making a donation to CDPC. It will be greatly appreciated and your support makes our work possible.
One of our supporters has agreed to match all donations up to $5,000 over the coming months, so please consider making a tax-refundable donation to CDPC on our SFU secure donations page.
The report release received ample coverage from the Canadian media, which included articles in major newspapers across the country, network television news segments and countless radio interviews. Overall, the response was positive and productive.
Read about it here:
Calgary Herald: Report calls for decriminalizing both 'hard' and 'soft' drugs
National Post: Canadian Drug Policy Coalition recommends decriminalizing hard drugs
CBC Radio: Decriminalizing Drugs
The Province: Harper government to stay tough on drugs
Bob Erb 4 Herb wins the lottery November 2012 and pledges to donate one million dollars to cannabis legalization efforts. First weekend of February 2013 drug policy reformers meet with Bob Erb in Terrace BC. Bob donates one hundred thousand dollars, towards legalize advertising, merchandise and posters for many 420 events on April 20 across Canada in 2013.
Although the requests for Alberta Legislature grounds event permits were denied Alberta 420 communities refused to allow the reefer madness prohibitionists at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton deny us our Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms just because they don’t like the annual 420 celebration end cannabis prohibition messages! Many of the messages there are actual scientific evidence no less.(*)
The horrible fact is the reefer madness prohibitionists at the Alberta Legislature were actually successful in denying some Canadian citizens their Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms! In addition to putting thousands of people safety at risk. No need to just take my word for they are putting people at risk either. According to Vancouver police they knew full well taking such suppressive actions for minor offences that happen in Edmonton Saturday at the annual peaceful 420 event would only “put the general public at risk" (**)
Calgary, Bongs and Such Ltd. rents a 56 seat Brewsters highway coach to transport community supporters to the annual 420 event in Edmonton. Donates over a thousand dollars in merchandise from their stores for the annual Alberta 420 celebration at the Alberta Legislature grounds in Edmonton. Meet up at Bongs and Such south store at 7:00 AM for coffee, hot chocolate and to medicate with like minded friends. Bus loaded and on our way to Edmonton by 8:00 AM with a scheduled stop in Red Deer to medicate and drop off Alberta 420 and Bob Erb 4 Herb donated merchandise for the local Red Deer 420 event. We arrived at the Alberta Legislature grounds just before 12:00 noon to a few groups of people sitting in circles spread out over the grounds. The next thing we saw immediately brought back memories to Debbie and I from 7 years ago on the same date and event in Calgary, Alberta. The scene is Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and Sheriff authorities out in force. The clam shell stage surrounded with a six foot steel fence to block all access. This was very unlike past years 420 celebrations at the Alberta Legislature grounds. April 20 / 2012 we had access to the clam shell stage, amplified music, entertainment, guest speakers and even food vendors.
We immediately unloaded the bus and setup 18 feet of display tables right beside the fenced in clam shell stage with Bob Erb 4 Herb donated merchandise, pro cannabis magazines, scientific evidence based information, raffles, snacks, and much more. Three Edmonton Police Service (EPS) officers told me the display tables and all our merchandise including the Norml Canada banner were not going to be allowed on the Alberta Legislature grounds. After much discussion between me the EPS they came to realize the only way the display tables were going to be removed was to arrest me and then have to arrest more dedicated people from Calgary 420 manning the tables as well or leave us alone to do what we came to do. Later in the afternoon the Edmonton 420 sound system crew and food vendor arrived. I was told they were threatened with arrest and having their vehicles and equipment impounded if they unloaded anything. We went through these type of prohibitionist suppression attempts by authorities in Calgary on April 20 / 2006. In the end we did put a stop to the people in power and their attempts to deny our Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Alberta 420 communities are already working towards more positive results in the future for next years 420 celebration in Edmonton.
The weather that had been forecast, cold, wet, gusting winds and snowing was exactly that. Despite the poor weather conditions and all the prohibitionist suppression attempts to stop the event several thousand still attended over the 5 hour event. Including over forty Calgarians, some USA tourists and others from around the province to celebrate the herb in a fashion they alone decide for themselves in support of an organized public show of peaceful defiance and civil disobedience directed towards the prohibitionists on the provincial little hill in Edmonton and the prohibitionists on federal hill in Ottawa as well!
In fact we all enjoyed the afternoon celebrating the herb with thousands of like minded people. There were two documentary film crews filming and conducting many interviews during the afternoons festivities and the usual 420 shenanigans. CBC and Edmonton Sun were there and very quickly published interviews with local Edmonton 420 activists as well. The amount of financial donations this year was way higher than past years. A few of the bigger donations came from people who don’t even consume cannabis but attended in a show of support of the end cannabis prohibition messages. The majority of donations this year were contributed in defiance of the attempts to deny thousands of Canadian citizens their Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms at Alberta Legislature grounds in Edmonton on Saturday April 20. And in strong support of the vast array of end cannabis prohibition messages being promoted. However each one of us chose to peacefully express ourselves in a public organized manner.
About 4:45 PM a blowing snow storm started to threaten the legislature grounds. Last year it was typical spring weather, sunny periods with clouds and the occasional light rain shower throughout the afternoon up until about 4:45 when the wind speed picked up and black rain clouds rolled in bringing heavy rainfall shortly after.
On a personal note I am extremely proud and pleased with all the people who stood united and strong with Debbie and I while risking being arrested, suffering through the miserable weather and worst of all access to warm and nutritional food that was denied by the prohibitionists on the little hill in Edmonton. Still we all won a victory on Saturday, April 20 / 2013 by standing up and speaking up together. The Alberta 420 communities are far from finished with improving on this latest win for our Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms!
It is long over due the people in power become responsible adults and work with us to keep the general public safe and allow them to enjoy their freedoms and rights like all Canadians are entitled to instead of increasing their attempts at suppression and risking general public safety.
The Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain freedoms for everyone in Canada. Since 1982, the Charter has given these freedoms constitutional protection.
Under section 2 of the Charter, Canadians are free to follow the religion of their choice. In addition, they are guaranteed freedom of thought, belief and expression. The Charter also protects the right of the press and other media to speak out. Our right to gather and act in peaceful groups is also protected, as is our right to belong to an association.
These freedoms are set out in the Charter to ensure that Canadians are free to create and to express their ideas, gather to discuss them and communicate them widely to other people. These activities are basic forms of individual liberty. They are also important to the success of a democratic society like Canada. In a democracy, people must be free to discuss matters of public policy, criticize governments and offer their own solutions to social problems.
CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom
of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,"
420 Alberta Media 2013:
B.C. Lotto winner donates money to Alberta “4:20″ celebrations
Tim James and Pete Curtis Feb 10, 2013 660 All News Radio
Peter Watts Apr 20, 2013 770 News Talk Radio Calgary
“4-20" rally at the Legislature
Tim James Apr 20, 2013 660 All News Radio Calgary
Brenton Driedger Apr 20, 2013 880 iNews Edmonton
Hundreds of tokers flood Alberta legislature in protest to push for legalization of marijuana
Alberta protest part of national 4/20 movement
David Lazzarino Edmonton Sun Apr 20, 2013
Edmonton 420 celebrations
Edmonton Sun Apr 20, 2013
YouTube video clip http://www.youtube.com/embed/Xual73E6RAM
* Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, entitled: “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy”
“The continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself.”
Vancouver Const. Brian Montague said "If anyone reads our drug policy, it's quite clear that minor offences involving things like marijuana is something that's not a high priority for us. To put the general public at risk for minor offences is something we wouldn't necessarily do," he adds.
Written by Keith Fagin
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