B.C.: Small amounts of some drugs now legal as province recorded 2,272 drug-related deaths in 2022

by The Canadian Parvasi

Small amounts of certain illicit drugs will no longer be illegal in British Columbia starting Tuesday as a part of a three-year exemption by the federal government of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to the province.

Under the exemption, up to 2.5 grams of Cocaine (crack and powder), Methamphetamine, MDMA, and Opioids (including heroin, fentanyl and morphine) can be legally possessed by individuals over 18 years of age in the province.

The pilot is scheduled to last three years till January 31, 2026, unless it is revoked or replaced before the three years. The federal government will be monitoring the exemption throughout to ascertain its effectiveness, a spokesperson for Health Canada stated to media outlets.

“Adults removed from private establishments would not be subject to federal criminal charges for their personal possession of up to 2.5 grams of the illegal drugs listed in the exemption,” stated the B.C. ministry of mental health and addictions.

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Trafficking or possession of the aforementioned drugs (for use other than personal use) is still illegal in the province. Additionally, possession of said drugs at schools, child-care facilities, and airports still remains illegal.

The B.C. Coroner’s Office stated on Tuesday that the province recorded 2,272 suspected drug-related deaths in 2022, making it the second deadliest year for the province in this regard. Most of the deaths were of middle-aged men in private homes, the Coroner’s office added.

A public health emergency was declared in British Columbia in April 2016 due to the upsurge in fatal overdoses of illicit drugs. 11,000 British Columbians have died due to drug-related overdoses since, according to media reports.

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