Canada

Let users carry certain amounts of drugs without criminal sanctions: Vancouver mayor

VANCOUVER — The City of Vancouver has outlined the amounts of various drugs people should be allowed to carry for a three-day supply as it seeks a federal exemption to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use.

Its proposal aimed at combating the overdose crisis is part of an application to Health Canada and lists possession thresholds for four main drugs: opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and amphetamine.

The recommended amounts for opioids are listed as two grams, while three grams are proposed for cocaine, one gram or 10 rocks for crack cocaine and 1.5 grams for amphetamine, based on long-term studies of drug users.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the city has worked with police, the health authority’s chief medical health officer and experts to determine the three-day thresholds that would prevent people from seeking drugs on a daily basis.

The effort is aimed at removing criminal sanctions and reducing stigma as part of a health-focused approach to substance use.

British Columbia has also asked for a federal exemption to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use after a record number of people died from overdose last year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

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