Vancouver plan to decriminalize street drugs sets up battle with Ottawa

published on December 3, 2020 by Jesse Winter in The Guardian

Vancouver has set the stage for a showdown with Canada’s federal government by moving to become the first city in the country to decriminalize street drugs – setting itself on a collision course with Justin Trudeau, who has so far declined to pursue the option.

The city’s council voted unanimously last week to ask the federal government in Ottawa for an exemption to the country’s criminal code, which, if granted, would remove the threat of criminal sanctions for possessing small amounts of street drugs for personal use within a city.

The move is widely seen by drug policy experts as a linchpin in any serious effort to slow the deaths from Canada’s overdose crisis, which has so far killed 1,386 in people British Columbia this year, and more than 16,300 nationally since 2016…

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