This year the Canadian Students For Sensible Drug Policy will be hosting their 7th Annual National Conference in Toronto, Ontario at the University of Toronto from February 27th to March 1st. Entirely youth-lead, the CSSDP runs the only national drug policy conference in Canada. This year’s theme certainly fits with this past 12 months in drug policy reform: “A Rising Revolution: Drug Policy Reform Around the Globe”.
Over three days, CSSDP has a variety of events planned, including Drug Policy Tours in downtown Toronto – one featuring a Harm Reduction Tour, which will visit the Central Toronto Community Health Centre, and the other led by cannabis crusaders Matt Mernagh, Amy “Anonymous” Brown, and Dana Larson.
Loading up the “cannabus”, attendees will be taken around Toronto for an in depth history of the drug war, focusing on the history of dispensaries in Canada. The cannabus will also be particularly epic, as any of the crusaders will explain, it marks a ten year anniversary from the last tour they were able to do in the city. Joined by the Emery’s, it’s sure to be an eventful afternoon. Keynote speakers at the conference include Dr. Carl Hart, author of High Price and professor at Columbia University, as well as Marc Emery. You can see the full list of speakers on the CSSDP website.
Certainly this “rising revolution” has a lot to do with the gains made in cannabis policy and legislation all around the world, and it’s no wonder the CSSDP conference will have a strong cannabis stream. Aside from Marc Emery’s keynote, other events include a screening of ‘The Culture High’ sponsored by NORML Canada on Saturday night (you can get tickets for the screening only if you are unable to make the conference), as well as a “Voting for Legalization” panel with individuals such as Jodie Emery, Dana Larson, and Craig Jones, moderated by criminal defense lawyer Paul Lewin.
There will also be a medical cannabis panel, confirmed with strong voices such as Adam Greenblatt from Santé Cannabis in Montreal, as well as Marc Wayne, the CEO of Bedrocan, and Dr. Schecter from the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic. Additionally, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition will be sponsoring an entire panel Friday night that focuses exclusively on “Cannabis and Youth”, featuring drug policy experts Donald MacPherson, Dan Werb and Bernard Le Foll from CAMH (Center for Addiction and Mental Health).
Aside from this cannabis stream, you can expect a variety of panels and workshops focused on racism and the war on drugs; gender, sexuality and harm reduction, public health approaches to drug policy reform, responding to drug related emergencies, youth movements, harm reduction in prisons, drug testing and an exciting lunch and learn with NationBuilder.
Tickets for the conference start at $35 for a student/youth, and $75 for adults, with an additional “pay what you can” option for those who require assistance. This also includes a light breakfast and lunch. If you want to jump on one of the community bus tours, you’ll need to register for the conference (although the tour is free!). In contrast, tickets to see The Culture High can be purchased on their own for $5, and are free for conference attendees. Check it out here.
For ongoing updates and more info, check out the Facebook event page.Feature image from thestar.com