Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Update from Canada

LEAP has been almost 100% focused on Proposition 19 these past couple of months.

Although the ballot initiative did not pass, I am proud of all the staff and the speakers who put so much time into California. The blog has paid a price during this time. There haven't been a lot of posts. Many people associated to LEAP were so busy volunteering for Prop 19 that there was not a lot of time for blogging!

LEAP has also been busy in Canada. On Monday, I drove to Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo and gave guest lectures about the War on Drugs to two different criminology classes. What a great group of students - they a lot of interesting questions (including a couple I wasn't able to answer, such as whether the financial amounts shown in my PowerPoint slides were adjusted for inflation).

A journalist from the Nanaimo Daily News, Darrell Bellaart, sat in the back of the class during the first guest lecture. Here is the article he subsequently wrote. Not only that, but the next day he was kind enough to write this wonderful follow-up piece.

In addition, I met two people in Nanaimo who may end up becoming LEAP speakers. I hope to write more about that later. It was a very successful trip and I am thankful to the VIU Criminology Chair, Joanne Simister, for inviting me.

And today I testified by videoconference before the Canadian Senate (Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs) regarding Bill S-10. This is a "tough on crime" drug bill that introduces mandatory minimum sentences in Canada for certain drug offences. It looks like the bill will pass, although perhaps with some amendments. I should be able to post a YouTube video of my presentation soon.

This was my second time testifying before the Senate committee in regards to drug legislation. It was a real privilege and an honour to be invited back to this committee after my first appearance. I have always felt that if your government asks you to do something, you have an obligation to give the request serious consideration. Even though many of the suggestions I provided will not make it into the final version of the bill, I feel as though, in some small way, I served my country today.

As always, the opinions posted by me on this blog are mine alone, and do not represent the viewpoint of my employer.

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