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BREAKING: Adults in B.C. will be allowed to possess small amounts of some illicit drugs starting next year, the federal government announced Tuesday.⁠

The federal government says Canadians 18 years of age and older will be able to possess up to a cumulative 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA within B.C. The announcement is in response to a request from the province for an exemption from the law criminalizing drug possession.⁠

This first-of-its-kind exemption will go into effect Jan. 31, 2023 and last until Jan. 31, 2026.⁠

Vancouver has been the site of a surge in drug overdose deaths, which accelerated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. B.C. saw 2,224 suspected toxic illicit drug overdose deaths in 2021 alone.⁠

It’s a dramatic policy shift in favour of what decriminalization advocates say is an approach that treats addiction as a health issue, rather than a criminal one.⁠

But while the federal government has granted an exemption, it’s not giving B.C. exactly what it asked for.⁠

One major difference is the quantity of drugs being decriminalized for personal possession. B.C. asked for a cumulative 4.5 grams — the federal exemption allows for just 2.5 grams (CBCVancouver).

What are your thoughts on this? Join the conversation on Facebook @Pulse1077⁠