Since Jan. 31, 2023, and lasting for a three-year trial period, possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs, such as opioids and cocaine, will be decriminalized in British Columbia (BC).
Adults 18 and older in BC will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 grams of illicit substances (cumulative – the weight of all drugs combined), without being subject to fines, arrest or drug seizures. The drugs to be decriminalized include opioids (e.g. heroin and fentanyl), cocaine (powder or crack), methamphetamines, and MDMA (ecstasy).
Decriminalization is not legalization. The trafficking of drugs will remain illegal, and there will not be government-approved systems for the manufacturing, buying and selling of these substances.
Note that this situation is
not similar to cannabis, which is a legally regulated and sold product in Canada. (For information about navigating non-medical Cannabis in BC, refer to the
First Nations Community Guidebook to cannabis legalization.)
The FNHA will work with provincial partners to monitor and evaluate BC's approach to decriminalization, which may lead to evidence-based policy adjustments.
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