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).
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