“Why decriminalize?” asks Vancouver’s First United Church at a public discussion happening June 7

published on June 4, 2018 by Travis Lupick in The Georgia Straight

This Thursday (June 7), Vancouver’s First United Church will hold a panel discussion on decriminalization. That is, on what would happen if Canada were to remove criminal penalties for the personal possession of drugs, including hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.

The church will not present opposing views, its executive director, Rev. Carmen Lansdowne, told the Straight.

“It’s not a debate,” she explained in a telephone interview. “We made a very conscious choice to promote education around why we feel drug decriminalization is important. And so we won’t have voices that are opposed to it, and that was an intentional choice on our part.”

The experts panel convened by the Downtown Eastside church will consist of Mary Clare Zak, director of social policy for the City of Vancouver, Dr. Evan Wood, director of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use; and Donald MacPherson, executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and former drug-policy coordinator for the City of Vancouver.

It is titled “Why decriminalize?”.

Lansdowne said there are lots of very good answers to that question. One of her favourites, she continued, recently made headlines around North America when it was voiced by Cynthia Nixon, a candidate for New York governor and former star of the HBO series Sex and the City.

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