Canada

Quebec government turns down QS motion to debate decriminalizing drugs

A debate on the decriminalization of drugs was quickly aborted Friday at the National Assembly.

Québec solidaire MNA Alexandre Leduc (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve).

QUEBEC — A debate on the decriminalization of drugs was quickly aborted Friday at the National Assembly.

Québec solidaire put forward a motion for the parties to discuss the issue, but the Coalition Avenir Québec government did not give its consent.

QS MNA Alexandre Leduc, who put forward the motion, told journalists earlier Friday morning that more and more people are demanding decriminalization of simple drug possession.

He compared the situation to the legalization of cannabis, or alcohol and tobacco.

“It’s all a question of public health,” he said. “Is someone who takes drugs in the street more or less at risk of overdosing in the current situation or in a framework where we don’t treat them like a criminal? It’s a question of addiction.”

Criminalization of drugs requires amendments to the Criminal Code, which is federal government jurisdiction. But Quebec can still act, Leduc said, for example in the directives given to police forces or in discussions with prosecutors.

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