Conference Day 1

Conference Day 1

Alex Betsos

CSSDP’s conference began like all good conferences that discuss touchy topics do, with lively discussion. CSSDP’s 7th Annual National Conference on drug policy is our best attended, and not just in terms of the amount of people in seats. The discussion went into deep and personal stories from the audience on their personal usage with substances, and ultimately set the tone for the rest of the conference; everyone has a strong opinion on what the world of drug policy should look like, and in a world where we are so often left holding our signs in silence, a bit of protest is justified.

City of Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy’s opening remarks looked at the different impacts of evidence based approaches to drug policy.  Once the panels started, the panelists were met with an opinionated crowd in part led by pot activist Marc Emery, who rallied against calls for a public health model of cannabis usage. Standing beside 4 pillars pioneer Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) Executive Director Donald MacPherson, Cressy started the conference off by placing the audience and themselves in the current world of local public policy. Toronto is looking at discussions on what cannabis policing looks like within the city, and what impact the war on drugs can have on the people who use within its cities.

The panel itself was titled Public Health Approaches to Drug Policy, and featured experts from within the field, to discuss the importance of the public health approach to regulating drugs. It offered a future world, one where drugs were heavily restricted and regulated by government forces. MacPherson began the conversation by framing the War on Drugs as a “major distraction.” “A drug is a substance,” MacPherson said, “A war on drugs is like a war on pens.” Of course, he was right. A war is fought against people, and the casualties of this war are accepted casualties in our society.

Dr. Bernard Le Foll’s conversation was by far the most interesting, as he touched on a topic near and dear to the hearts of many in the audience: cannabis. Coming from CAMH (Center for Addiction and Mental Health), Dr. Le Foll placed his discussion on how cannabis prohibition must begin with caution. While CAMH supports the Public Health model to substances, our drug policy needs to be based in scientific facts. This drew criticism from Emery, when it was suggested by Dr. Le Foll that cannabis would be more risky if it were left totally free of market regulations. As Dr. Le Foll continued his speech, advocating for scientific skepticism and caution, he drew more and more cries from a crowd that disagreed that cannabis carries risk.

Dr. Dan Werb from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, discussed the “heroic retreat” of drug policy enforcers and regulators. His discussion centered primarily around reframing the conversation on drug policy around how communities view their own needs, rather than by some government official. Notably, Dr. Werb pointed out something that would ring true for many who would be sitting on the panels that night: our scientists and expert panelists all in some ways benefitted from the War on Drugs. Whether it was because we stand in opposition or lobby for these policies to continue, our status in society and our role as researchers meant that we all had a hand in the till.

Denise Baldwin pointed out that our failed drug policy needed to be fixed as it disproportionately impacted people who society mostly marginalizes, both racially and economically. “Drug policy, frankly,” she paused, “is kind of racist.” Baldwin pointed out the huge health equity gaps in Canada for Aboriginal people, and encouraged the audience to read a new study, “First Peoples, Second Class Treatment”.  If we are to adopt a public health approach to drug policy we must first decolonize public health and ensure equity for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-status Indigenous peoples in Canada.  There were going to be limitations to a change in drug policy too; even if legalizing drugs might take the heat off of marginalized communities, it will not end the unequal distribution of power in our society. Sadly, as the panel moved away from important issues around colonialism, and the Canadian settler mentality, Baldwin was the only person to stay quiet. Her message, while noted, did not seem to carry as much weight as some of the speakers – the irony of the silence, not unnoticed.

Dr. Carl Hart opened the discussion by recognizing the importance of the conversations of the speakers, as well as acknowledging Marc Emery. Dr. Hart facilitated the ongoing discussion, providing critical commentary to some of the more interesting comments that were levied against the panel. He was quick to point out the limitations of science. Our scientific skepticism was important, but it meant that sometimes we were going to make mistakes, we might not move fast enough to fix a problem, and when the problem impacts millions of people annually, sometimes a less conservative approach might be important. On the other hand, moving too fast could also put lives at stake, and we needed to be reminded that our purpose is to help people, not hurt them.

National Conference

National Conference

CANADIAN STUDENTS FOR SENSIBLE

DRUG POLICY PRESENTS…

 

A RISING REVOLUTION:

DRUG POLICY REFORM AROUND THE GLOBE

 

Eventbrite - CSSDP National Conference 2015: ‘A Rising Revolution: Drug Policy Reform Around the Globe’

February 27th-March 1st 2015

Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St George Street

University of Toronto

This weekend Canadian Students For Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) will be hosting its 7th Annual National Conference, “A Rising Revolution: Drug Policy Reform Around the Globe,” from Friday February 27 to Sunday March 1, 2015 at University of Toronto. As the only drug policy reform conference in Canada, “A Rising Revolution” will bring together international drug policy experts to share insights into the future of drug policy in Canada and around the world. According to Donald MacPherson, Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, “It is clear that drug policy is at a tipping point for reasons that have become clear over the past few years. Current approaches are ineffective, costly, unsustainable and in fact cause significant harm. The shift from the war on drugs to an approach that embraces health and social responses to drug problems is well underway globally. Canada could be a leader in this area.” CSSDP Outreach Director Lisa Campbell emphasized, “with drug policy reforms occurring globally, the time is now to engage youth in a national dialogue on the future of drug policy in Canada.” The conference will focus on public health approaches to drug policy including cannabis legalization and harm reduction.

Featured Speakers:

Dr. Carl Hart, Author of “High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society”, Associate Professor, Columbia University

Donald MacPherson, ED, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Marc & Jodie Emery, Cannabis Culture

Johann Hari, Author of “Chasing the Scream”

Brian O’Dea, Author of “High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler”

Dana Larsen, Director, Sensible BC

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) is a grassroots network of youth and students across Canada who are interested in reforming drug policy on a local, national and international level. CSSDP is a national voice for young people across the country who want an active voice in this debate, and advocate for drug policy focused on public health and research-based evidence. For more info check out www.cssdp.org.

 

 Platinum Sponsors:

                  

Gold Sponsors:

        

Silver:

  

Bronze:

     

munk school

Media Sponsor:

 

Social Sponsor:

 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Plenary Room = SS 2102

Room 1 = SS 2106

        Room 2 = 22108

 

Friday

Drug Policy Community Tours

12pm-1:30pm Harm Reduction Tour (Lunch included)

South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen Street East

Hosted by the COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program

12pm-1:30pm Harm Reduction Tour ** SOLD OUT**

Central Toronto Community Health Centre, 168 Bathurst

Hosted by the Queen West Harm Reduction Program Street

2pm-5:30pm Cannabus Tour  ** SOLD OUT**

Pick up: 168 Bathurst Street

Explore Toronto’s tantalizing cannabis culture with its most colorful commentators Amy Anonymous and Matt Mernagh. Tour participants will celebrate and engage in Toronto’s rich, but somewhat forgotten history and lore. Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy registrants will create another page in Toronto’s cannabis culture with advocates Marc Emery, Jodie Emery and Dana Larsen onboard. In case you can’t turn up live, tune in and watch what happens as The Mernahuana Zone producer Chris Goodwin will demonstrate his marijuana media activism by webcasting the event.

4pm-6pm Registration

6pm Opening Remarks: Councillor Joe Cressy

Public Health Approaches to Drug Policy

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition National Dialogue

Moderator: Nazlee Maghsoudi, Chair, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Susan Shepherd, Manager, Toronto Drug Strategy Secretariat

Donald MacPherson, Executive Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Denise Baldwin, IDU Outreach Worker, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy

Dan Werb, PhD, Director, International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

Bernard Le Foll, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto

Respondent: Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University

 

Friday

8:15 PM Conference Opening Party

Location: Madison Ave Pub, 14 Madison Ave.

Reservation under ‘CSSDP’

Saturday

8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Registration

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Welcome & Opening Remarks

Jenna Valleriani, Conference Chair, CSSDP

Lisa Campbell, Outreach Director, CSSDP

Meena Rizwan, CSSDP Board Member

Wanda Whitebird, Womens Coordinator, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy

Kali and Kyle from the Eva’s Initiatives SPOT Program

Honourable MP Adam Vaughan

9:40 AM – 11:00 AM Keynote: Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM Break

11:10 AM – 12:30 PM Drug Policy at the United Nations:

United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Panel

Hosted by Open Society Foundations

Moderator: Donald MacPherson, Executive Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Scott Bernstein, Program Officer, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations

Heather Haase, Chair, New York NGO Committee on Drugs

Ayesha Mian, President Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK

Nazlee Maghsoudi, Chair, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch

Book Signing: Dr. Carl Hart

12:45-1:30 PM Lunch and Learn with NationBuilder & Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

1:30 PM – 2:50 PM Breakout Sessions

Plenary Room: Nightlife Harm Reduction

Moderator: Lisa Campbell, Outreach Director, CSSDP

Brun González, Espolea, Mexico City, Mexico

Munroe Honsberger, Karmik, Vancouver

David Stuart, Substance Use Lead, GUM/HIV (addressing #ChemSex behaviours)

Lori Kufner, Coordinator, Trip Project, Toronto

Julie-Soleil Meeson, M.Sc, Directrice GRIP Montréal

Room 1: Racism and the War on Drugs

Moderator: Michael Brito, Osgoode Hall, York University

Julius Haag, PhD Candidate, Department of Criminology, University of Toronto

Maija Martin, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Movement Defence Committee of the Law Union of Ontario

Nicolas Lopez, Jane and Finch Youth Organizer

Kali from the Eva’s Initiatives SPOT Program

Knia Singh, Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice

Room 2: Emerging Trends in Youth Drug Use and Treatment

Hosted by the Canadian Harm Reduction Network

Moderator: Walter Cavalieri, Executive Director, Canadian Harm Reduction Network

Cathy Dang & Daniel Shonibare, students at Canadian Harm Reduction Network

Wende Wood, Accredited Psychiatric Pharmacist

Navprit Singh, Youth Substance Abuse Program, YMCA

Sandy Mteirek, Advocacy Coordinator, Skoun, Lebanon

3:00 PM – 4:20 PM Breakout Sessions

Panel: Youth Movements Leading International Drug Policy Reform

Hosted by SSDP International Organizing Committee

Moderator: Ayesha Mian, President, Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK

Jake Agliata, Outreach Coordinator for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Mountain, Pacific, and International regions & Chair, International Outreach Committee, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Sarah Merrigan, Vice Chair International Outreach Committee, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Lisa Campbell, Outreach Director, CSSDP

Jessica Murray, SSDP, UOIT-Durham

Graham de Barra, Pomidou Group (Council of Europe), SSDP Ireland Alumni

Sandy Mterik and Sally Shamas, Skoun

Room 1: Medical Cannabis in Canada: Licensed Producers, Dispensaries, and Home growing: Future Possibilities in Patient Access and Care

Moderator: Theresa Kozak – Client Services Manager, MedCannAccess
Adam Greenblatt, Executive Director, Santé Cannabis
Dr. Danial Schecter, Executive Director, Cannabinoid Medical Clinic
Dana Larsen, Director, Sensible BC, Executive Director, The Medical Cannabis Dispensary
Marc Wayne, President, Bedrocan
Jonathan Zaid, Director, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM)

Room 2: Facing Criminalization: The Development of Peer Support for People Who Use Drugs

Hosted by John Howard Society of Toronto

Moderator: Amber Kellen, Director of Community Initiatives, Policy and Research, The John Howard Society of Toronto

Cindy Ferguson, Reintegration Centre Coordinator, The John Howard Society of Toronto
Lindsay Jennings, Support Worker, The John Howard Society of Toronto
Harold Johnson, Support Worker, The John Howard Society of Toronto
Peter Leslie, Support Worker, The John Howard Society of Toronto

4:30 PM – 5:50 PM Breakout Sessions

Plenary Room: Worker Forum: Barriers, Solutions, and Next Steps in Harm Reduction

Hosted by the Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union (THRWU)

Moderator: Pat Fifield, Toronto Harm Reduction Worker, THRWU

Peter Leslie, Toronto Harm Reduction Worker, THRWU

Kathy Pinero, Toronto Harm Reduction Worker, THRWU

Zoë Dodd, Toronto Harm Reduction Worker ,THRWU

Meena Rizwan, Outreach Worker, Trip! Project, CSSDP Board

Room 1: Workshop: Responding to Drug Related Emergencies

Greg Khaymov, Parkdale CHC, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Cameron Reid, Parkdale CHC, Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance

Kris (Kristel) Guthrie, RN Health Promotion Specialist The Works, Toronto Public Health

Michael Vipperman, Psychonaut

Room 2: Workshop: Strategic Litigation

Hosted by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Scott Bernstein, Program Officer, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations

Cecile Kazatchkine, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Nathan Allen, Coordinator of Insite for Community Safety, Portland Hotel Society

Mikhail Golichenko, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

6:30 – 7:30 AGM

8 PM  FILM SCREENING & DISCUSSION

Hosted by NORML Canada

The Culture High

MC Craig Jones

Join CSSDP in partnership with NORML Canada at one of the first Toronto screenings of ‘The Culture High’, a documentary which examines the present cannabis debates surrounding legalization. The highly anticipated sequel to “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High” includes appearances from Richard Branson, Snoop Dogg, Lester Grinspoon, Joe Rogan and Gabor Mate, analyzing the motives and arguments of both sides of the legalization discussion. This screening will take place in Sidney Smith Hall at the University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street. Thank you to NORML Canada for hosting this exciting event!

10:00 PM Conference Reception

Location: Centre for Social Innovation, 215 Spadina Ave, 1st floor

Directions: Walk out to Spadina Ave from Sidney Smith Hall, take TTC streetcar 10 minutes down Spadina, exit at Sullivan Street.

Join us for some appetizers and refreshments at the Centre for Social Innovation. Check out the rooftop for a beautiful view of downtown Toronto! Let’s celebrate the future of drug policy together.

Sunday

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Breakfast & Registration (outside Plenary Room, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2102)

9:30 AM – 11 AM #RisingRevolution Talks

Donna May, Jac’s Voice

Johann Hari, Author of “Chasing the Scream”

Brun González, Harm Reduction Program Coordinator, Espolea, Mexico City, Mexico

Brian O’Dea, Author of “High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler”

11:00 AM – 11:10 AM Break

11:10 AM – 12:30 PM

Introduction: Greg Khaymov, CSSDP Board Member

Keynote Marc Emery

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch

Regional Chapter Brainstorming Networking

Book Signing: Brian O’Dea

1:30 PM – 2:50 PM Breakout Sessions

Plenary Room: Panel: Voting for Legalization

Moderator: Paul Lewin, Criminal Lawyer & Ontario Regional Director, NORML Canada

Jodie Emery, Public speaker, political activist, owner of Cannabis Culture & Pot TV
Dana Larsen, Director, Sensible BC; Executive Director, The Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Craig Jones, Executive Director, NORML Canada

Stefan Ferraro, Philosophy Student, University of Toronto

Alyson Mryden, Patient Advocate

Room 1:  New Psychoactive Substances
Moderator: Lisa Campbell, Outreach Director, CSSDP

Andrew Wilson, Trip! Project

Marc Allen, Trip! Project

Nazlee Maghsoudi, Trip! Project / Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Chair

Brun González, Espolea, Mexico City, Mexico

Room 2: Gender, Sexuality and Harm Reduction

Moderator: Meena Rizwan, Outreach Worker, Trip! Project, CSSDP Board Member

Sheryl Jarvis, Counsellor/Advocate, Community Action for Families

David Stuart, Substance Use Lead, GUM/HIV (addressing #ChemSex behaviours)

Kara Janowsky, Chapter Chair, Women Grow; Chapter President, SSDP at the University of Colorado at Boulder

Carver Manuel-Smith, Volunteer, Trip! Project

3:00 PM – 4:20 PM Breakout Sessions

Plenary Room: Needle Syringe Programs in Prisons

Annika Ollner, HCV Federal Prison Coordinator, PASAN

Wanda Whitebird, Women’s Outreach Worker, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (Oahas)

Cécile Kazatchkine, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Emily van der Meulen, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, Ryerson University

Room 1: Legalizing Coca: Roundtable Discussion

Ella Quarrey, Munk School as a Masters Candidate in Global Affairs

Sam Quarrey, University of Waterloo as a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, Honours International Development Alumni

Room 2: Drug Checking

Moderator: Alex Bestos, Karmik, CSSDP Board

Brun González, Espolea, Mexico City, Mexico

Lori Kufner, Coordinator, Trip! Project

Julie-Soleil Meeson, M.Sc, Directrice, GRIP Montréal

Evan Dorion, Nightlife Harm Reduction Advocate

4:30 – 6:00 PM Mapping the Future of Canadian Drug Policy (Room 2)

Co-Facilitated by Canadian Drug Policy Coalition & Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy