This is how it should be

David Bratzer is a LEAP speaker in Canada (and a really nice guy). For some good news today, check out this speaking engagement he had yesterday:

‘Groundbreaking’ conversation as Halifax police chief hosts session with drug law reformer

Canadian president David Bratzer said it’s the first time a Canadian police chief has asked a LEAP representative to address serving officers.

“It shows a police chief who’s open-minded and willing to engage in dialogue about complex issues,” said Bratzer. “It is groundbreaking. In my view, what he did is national police leadership. I can’t say enough about it, I’m so impressed.”

Blais said he invited Bratzer to speak in the interests of being open to a range of new ideas on policing.

“As we continue looking at the sustainability of policing practices here in HRM…overall, what are we doing? Does this make sense?” he said. “We may not agree with his points…but it doesn’t mean we can’t listen and learn from there.”

Bratzer, a police officer in British Columbia, said the presentation seemed well-received.

“These senior officers are very experienced and they asked some good questions,” said Bratzer, adding that his views do not represent those of his employer. “It’s exactly what we need, to be having a national discussion about this issue.”

Blais said Bratzer made some compelling points, and said he’d recommend a LEAP presentation to other police chiefs in Nova Scotia.

Wow! A police chief who really wants to listen and learn. Of course, that’s basic common sense, but it’s so incredibly rare that it’s quite laudable.

Congrats to David and Canadian LEAP for all their hard work that is clearly making a difference.

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19 Responses to This is how it should be

  1. allan says:

    Thanks for posting this Pete. This is exactly what is needed, especially in the U.S.

    If we can’t pressure The Choom on legalization we surely can ask, paraphrasing Clara Pell, “where’s the discussion on legalization?”

    Because there is a lot of difference between having a discussion and being spoken down to.

  2. divadab says:

    Bratzer blogged on Radley Balko’s “The Agitator” site a couple of times. It was an interesting conversation. I asked about the legal status of a couple of dispensaries in the lower mainland and he responded (after a couple of days’ delay) that they were “operating outside the law”. But still operating – because the VPD uses its discretion and generally goes after real criminals, not merchants.

    AT the 4-20 smokeout in front of the Art Museum, the police were directing traffic and making sure no one got hurt. A friend of mine thanked a cop for their help and the cop responded “arms are for hugging”.

    HOwever, it’s not all good – this is the same VPD that called in the DEA to charge Mark Emery in the USA, as the Canadian prosecutors would not lay charges.

    Incidentally, Bratzer is with the Victoria PD – and U Vic hosts Hempology U. regularly. Students voted to allow the Hempology club an exemption from the college’s non-smoking policy!

  3. DonDig says:

    Openness to new ideas is so welcome, and such a far cry from the ‘I already know it all’ stance that so many with long experience bring forward. Everything is in transition, and especially ideas. That is the nature of life. Nice when that is recognized.

  4. ezrydn says:

    I remember when Dave was a LEAP newbie. Just look at what he’s accomplishing! Go git’em, Davie!

  5. Dante says:

    While I applaud the chief’s open-mindedness, I remain unconvinced. This is mere posturing for an audience.

    When the entire world of Law Enforcement embraces the 4th Amendment to the point that SWAT teams refuse to break down a door because the warrant is bad, then I will pay attention.

    When police start turning in their fellow officers for blatant misconduct, then I might believe.

    When actual, dangerous criminals are prosecuted and well-fed labradors are safe, then we will have been served and protected.

    Not yet.

    • allan says:

      Dante… as a qualifier… you know when I disagree here on the couch that I have no animosity and that my disagreement is discussion driven. Right? Roight! ‘ere we go then!

      It’s that broad brush thing. “[w}hen the entire world of Law Enforcement…” Really? That’s like demanding we all agree. Ain’t gonna happen.

      I truly understand your cynicism and doubt. But LEAP’s speakers are proof enough that not all LE agree w/ the wod. And Dave Bratzer shows that there are those still working inside LE willing to step fwd. There has to be that first one…

      • Dante says:

        Allan, I am an old man who isn’t nearly as stupid as I look (nobody could be that stupid), so I know you aren’t attacking me with your responses. No worries, man.

        The Police Chief (Blais?) had a comment that, to me, betrays his true intent:
        ““I’d be willing to do (that) in an effort to allow them to understand some of the challenges that are there, and some of the intellectual opportunities for a rational discussion,” he said.”

        Perhaps I’m wrong, but I see an intent to learn our arguments merely to discredit them in some logical (“rational”) way. Please don’t allow your personal relationships with a few LE to cloud the big picture.

        What is the big picture?

        Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

        • allan says:

          ah, glasshoppa…

          the big picture? Custard… lots and lotsa custard.

          And no, of course you can’t be as stupid as you look. bada boom

          Yeah, I weren’t worried about it. Most of us are adolts in here. Some of us even act like it… You kids! Just say “No.”

          Ok, another cop story.

          I think it was Conde’s ’99 HempFest… fffff… fff… and the police came down hard. Every state trooper was on I-5 near or at the 209 exit. Sheriff cars patrolled the 3/4 mile stretch from the freeway to Conde’s parking. So many people got pulled over there was consideration of a class action suit. All the vehicular citations were things like failure to stop, one license plate light out… and inside the festival they ran foot patrols of 2 – 5 officers. I was working security that show and got the lucky duty of walking w/ the cops for 12 hours. They changed crews every 2 hours.

          And all the while I walked w/ those county deputies I was talking the talk. And in every group there was at least one willing to keep the conversation rolling so the others got to listen. Hemp, drugs, rock and roll, women/wives/grrfriends, hippies and rednecks, freedom… but always back to the ganj and why I wasn’t a criminal.

          … well there were several times that the dupeties saw somebody sitting in a tent w/ a lantern, silhouetted w/ a bong, or smoking a hooter and they would point and say “Allan” and I would walk over, point out the squad of LEOs and the folks would sheepishly put away their weed. They didn’t have me (nor did they) fuck w/ anybody. And they could have.

          I think the slack, no-slack difference between us is just a matter of degree.

        • Steve Finlay says:

          “an intent to learn our arguments merely to discredit them in some logical (“rational”) way” – not likely. He also recommended that other police forces in the province should invite LEAP and hear the arguments. Since those meetings would not involve Chief Blais, he would not be able to implement any plan to discredit. More importantly, he is clearly a highly intelligent man. He’s smart enough to see that there aren’t any rational ways to discredit David’s arguments: He knows who will win the rational argument once it starts.

  6. claygooding says:

    I don’t know if the Canadian LE agencies recieve “bounty” money the way American police agencies do,,so talking to the police chiefs and administrators in Canada would be heard a lot better than talking to people depending on that bounty money for their latest,greatest Gestapo gear.

    If the CAN police are not receiving funding from ONDCP(or the Canuck equivalent)you can bet Kerli is gearing up to increase the flow of funding too CAN so they can start doing it,,it is how they bought support from America law enforcement and the minute possession arrests don’t count towards that money,,the ONDCP will lose their support.

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  8. allan says:

    note to Kleinman, Sabet, et al…

    When I see you discussing w/ the likes of ANY of LEAP’s speakers I might pay you some mind. I suspect that the top o’ the LEAP heap – folks like Judge Gray, Jack Cole, Dr. Joe McNamara, Norm Stamper, Neill Franklin, Pete Christ… Doddridge, Cameron… any of ’em – would duly set the record straight.

    Another thunk that I had… remember after the election, the prolonged shell-shocked silence form the Prohibitionists? Consider that all this recent blather, all these utterings from the udder sucking sycophants and blood sucking leeches of the WOD (no offense to real leeches intended), the Pat Kennedy Project Sam bunk… is the best they’ve got. They’ve met the enemy and we weren’t the slackers they accused us of being.

    Gil wouldn’t stand a lone-Oscar-Mayer-wiener-in-an-open-kennel’s chance in a public debate. I really suspect speaking extemporaneously isn’t Droopy’s strong point. But that’s what we need to demand. Seriously. I’m really hoping LEAP starts demanding some face time. They definitely have the credentials.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Mr. Walters certainly had no problem with producing bald faced lies off the cuff.

      It’s probably hard to demand face time with people that can cause serious attacks of severe nausea by just the thought of meeting face to face. I seriously think you’ve spoiled my dinner by putting that picture in my mind. I know it was unintentional old man but darn it, I’ve got Chinese food on the stove, and I really like Chinese food. At least the stuff we call Chinese food here. I don’t know if they’d recognize it as food in Peking (or however they spell that city’s name nowadays.)

  9. Steve Finlay says:

    Like David, I can’t say enough about the foresight, common sense and courage that Chief Blais is displaying. He is also very smart politically: He presents the argument for enabling the discussion to happen in such a way that anyone who tries to disagree with him looks foolish.

    The media interest has been amazing. We set up about four interviews in advance, but ever since Tuesday, news shows and talk radio hosts have been chasing us to try to get a few minutes of David’s time.

  10. Peter says:

    npr just aired a remarkably sympathetic piece on a mmj dispensary in bideford maine intrrviewing the owner and several patients. in the past npr has tended to sound like kevin sabet on this issue. could this be another thunk as npr rejects the dw teet?

  11. claygooding says:

    THIS is how it SHOULD really be!

    Strong smell of marijuana reported inside Colorado Capitol Wednesday morning

    DENVER – A strong smell of marijuana was reported inside the Colorado Capitol Wednesday morning, 7NEWS Reporter Russell Haythorn confirmed.

    The entire Senate chamber smelled like marijuana, said Doug Schepman, Communications Director for the Senate Democrats.

    Senate President John Morse cracked up fellow lawmakers during the session by asking: “Do you smell marijuana in here, or is it just me?”

    On the recording of the morning’s proceedings, Morse can be heard asking, “If the Sergeants would please douse all the doobies in the area.”

    I would venture to guess that there are marijuana dealers working in both the House and Senate in DC,,but doubt they have a smoking lounge.

  12. allan says:


    Pot farmer dies in prison; attorney points to mandatory minimums

    Critics argue mandatory minimums have undermined a judge’s ability to use common sense and compassion in a sentencing and scared the potentially innocent into accepting plea deals.

    Kristin Flor says one of those people was her 68 year old father Richard.

    “Who in this country deserves to die shackled to a bed over marijuana?” she said. “Nobody.”

    Richard Flor lived with an advanced aneurysm in his brain, collapsed discs in his back, a failing heart in his chest and an elaborate medical marijuana farm in his home.

    Defense attorney Brad Arndorfer says his client thought he was following the letter of the law. “Here we have a guy who believes the federal government when they say ‘if you comply with state law, we won’t prosecute you,’ believed everything he was doing was legal.”

  13. allan says:

    just went to look something up on Google and saw this on the page:

    President Obama answers your questions. RSVP to tomorrow’s Hangout.

    going to the link… and of course my browser “is not supported”

    President Obama answers your questions.

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