Canada's B.C. province to decriminalize some drug possession

STORY: "As of January 31st, 2023 adults 18 and over in British Columbia will no longer be subject to criminal charges for the possession of up to 2.5 grams of certain illegal drugs for personal use, and the drugs will not be confiscated," Canada's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Carolyn Bennett said on Tuesday.

B.C., Canada's westernmost province and the epicenter of the country's overdose crisis, had requested the federal government for such an exemption in November.

The exemption, a first in Canada, is intended to reduce the stigma associated with substance use and make it easier for people to approach law enforcement and other authorities to seek guidance.

"Our government recognizes that problematic substance use is a public health issue and we are working with partners to advance a multifaceted, health-based strategy to end the overdose and toxic drug supply crisis. That is why we've approved the B.C. proposal to decriminalize personal possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs within the province," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

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