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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.)

​Please be aware that decriminalization does not apply in the following circumstances:
  • On K-12 school premises;
  • ​On premises of licensed childcare facilities;
  • In airports;
  • On Canadian Coast Guard vessels and helicopters;
  • For Canadian Forces members subject to the Code of Service Discipline;
  • In a motor vehicle or watercraft operated by a minor;
  • When readily accessible to the operator of a motor vehicle or watercraft;
  • Within 15 metres of any part of any play structure in a playground;
  • Within 15 metres of a spray pool or wading pool; and
  • Within 15 metres of a skate park. 

The FNHA will work with provincial partners to monitor and evaluate BC's approach to decriminalization, which may lead to evidence-based policy adjustments.​​

Decriminalization​ Social​ Media Graphics

Download and share our decriminalization graphics to share on your social media accounts to get the word out about decriminalization.​ Right-click ​and save or long tap on a mobile device.

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