Summary and Analysis

Canada has granted a request from the province of British Columbia to be exempt from Canada’s federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for three years, starting Jan. 31, 2023. At that time, British Columbian adults 18 and older will be allowed to carry a cumulative total of up to 2.5 grams of some drugs for personal use without being arrested or charged, or having their drugs confiscated. The illicit drugs include opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

The trafficking, production, exportation and importation of those drugs will remain illegal, as will the possession of any quantity of those drugs at airports, near child-care facilities and primary and secondary schools, or by members of the military.

According to Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions, “This is not legalization.”

The article describes this move as an attempt to stem the province’s overdose crisis. However, it’s unclear whether the province of British Columbia intends to increase access to treatment and recovery support services during the three year decriminalization period.

Excerpted from Washington Post

TORONTO — The possession of small amounts of several illicit drugs, including cocaine and opioids such as fentanyl or heroin, will be temporarily decriminalized in British Columbia, the federal government said Tuesday, in what it cast as a “bold” step to “turn the tide” in the province’s overdose crisis.