Pubdate: Wed, 01 May 2002
Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2002 CBC
Note: *VIDEO LINK*: Sean De 
Vries reports for CBC TV


Vancouver - A Vancouver anti-drug conference is being targeted by advocates 
of a more permissive approach to illegal drug usage.

The B.C. Marijuana Party held a rally outside the trade and convention 
centre, because the International Drug Education and Awareness (IDEA) 
symposium is not open to anyone who supports drug use.

B.C. Compassion Club president Hilary Black says the conference is about 
oppression, not education.

"The war on drugs hurt people and more tolerant drug laws allow us to deal 
with health concerns and deal with real problems around drugs not 
oppression," she says.

IDEA's organizers say people like Black have dominated the discussion about 
drugs in recent years.

"The ones who are pushing permissiveness and tolerance have had their say 
for four or five years and they have only presented the permissive, 
tolerant view, which from my point of view has no credibility." says IDEA's 
president Linda Bentall.

Bentall says this conference will show how just how dangerous and 
ineffective a permissive drug policy is, and how the four pillar approach 
to drug awareness promoted by Mayor Philip Owen is not the answer.

Many city councillors including mayoralty candidate Jennifer Clarke are 
showing interest in this conference, one that may reveal a shift in 
Vancouver's approach to drug policy.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom