Canada Legalize All Drugs

PA ASSESSMENT: Lack of context. An exception to Canada`s drug laws, which are tested for three years in the province of British Columbia, decriminalizes substances, but does not legalize them. Canadians who possess up to 2.5 grams of these drugs for personal use will not be arrested or charged. But sponsors have proposed a number of secure supply models for Canada, with options ranging from prescribing pharmaceutical-grade drugs — as is already the case to a very limited extent — to selling drugs in licensed entertainment venues or pharmacies. Not everyone in Canada celebrated this decision. Chuck Doucette, president of the Canadian Drug Prevention Network based in Delta, B.C., called the government`s announcement a “cop out.” He said people should get help for the “problems that led them to take drugs in the first place” and “the help they need to become clean and sober.” May 31 (Reuters) – Canada will temporarily decriminalize the possession of certain illicit drugs such as cocaine, MDMA and opioids for personal use by adults in British Columbia (B.C.) to address a growing substance abuse problem in the province, the government said on Tuesday. And these numbers are in spite of all the drugs in the country that come from a black market. The lower threshold simply doesn`t reflect how people actually use drugs – one size fits all. The increase in drug tolerance among people who have used drugs over a long period of time, the joint purchase between several people for affordability reasons, and the enduring nature of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin often found on the illegal drug market – mean that people often carry more than 2.5 grams. CLAIM: It is now legal in Canada to possess illegal drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. On Tuesday, May 31, the Canadian government made a decision that was the first of its kind for the country. Starting January 31, 2023, the Province of British Columbia will conduct a three-year study in which people over the age of 18 will be able to possess up to 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA without arrest, seizure or charge. Canada joins a handful of countries that have already adopted decriminalization policies; Others include Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the United States (Oregon decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs in 2020).

The City of Vancouver had already requested an exemption in March 2021, which is still under review with Health Canada. If approved, the city`s exemption would apply to all amphetamines. Dr. Bennett, the federal minister, said British Columbia`s accepted application could be an example of other communities decriminalizing drugs for personal possession, including Toronto, which has formally applied. Montreal and Edmonton are considering it. In British Columbia, fentanyl was found to be present in nearly 90% of opioid samples analyzed by drug control services. Beyond decriminalizing possession, much more effort should be made to give people access to safer drugs. “Neutrality is a human rights necessity,” says Jordan Westfall, co-founder of the Canadian Association for Secure Supply, “but I think a secure supply is a vital necessity.” The policy approved by federal officials does not legalize substances, but Canadians in the Pacific Coast Province who possess up to 2.5 g of illegal drugs for personal use are not arrested or charged. Since 2016, there have been more than 9,400 deaths from toxic illegal drugs in British Columbia, with a one-year record of 2,224 in 2021, the AP reported as roadside drugs become increasingly dangerous on both sides of the border, closely monitoring whether Canada — where it grew up — is listening to calls for safe regulated care.

In recent years, Canada has implemented a number of health-focused programs to combat its overdose epidemic, including establishing supervised injection sites, providing tests to check for fentanyl in drugs, and providing prescription heroin to those who have not been successful with other treatments. In the United States, voters in the state of Oregon approved a similar policy in 2020 that decriminalizes personal use of most illegal drugs under state law. This amendment was made without the consent of the federal government. “I think making it easier for them to use drugs is kind of palliative care,” said Doucette, who worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 35 years before retiring, most of which was spent on drug control. “It`s just a matter of sentencing them to a slow death for drugs, whereas if you keep them away from drugs, give them a life back, they can enjoy life.” The substances would remain illegal, but adults found in possession of up to 2.5 grams of illegal substances will no longer be arrested, charged or their drugs seized, according to an official statement. And that is indeed a problem. The war on drugs has been going on for half a century, and writing is on the wall: it`s clearly not working. “The record is clear that the global war on drugs has been a total catastrophic political failure,” said Ben Perrin, a law professor at the University of British Columbia and author of Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada`s Opioid Crisis. The criminalization of drug use is disproportionately directed against marginalized people, including Black and Indigenous communities, the uninhabited, and people with mental illness. And the stigma that comes with criminalization means that people are less likely to seek help and are more likely to use drugs on their own, contributing to higher overdose rates. When Estonia decriminalized all drugs in 2005, the black market for illegally produced fentanyl was on the rise.

The exemption, announced Tuesday by the country`s drug enforcement agency, comes four years after the country legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana and Canada is among a small group of countries around the world that have taken steps to decriminalize illegal drugs. “Today is a very important day and it`s hard to believe we`ve come here,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, health commissioner for the province of British Columbia, added that when her report was released, which called for the decriminalization of drug users, “there wasn`t much support at any level.” Currently, the exemption only applies in British Columbia, the first Canadian province to apply for an exemption from Canadian drug laws.

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