On April 14, 2016, Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Medical Health Officer declared a public health emergency under the BC Public Health Act in response to increasing overdoses and overdose deaths in our province.
BC Drug Decriminalization 2022
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths caused by overdoses of controlled substances, the federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health granted the province of British Columbia’s request for an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allowing adults to possess small amounts of some controlled substances for personal use without fear of criminal prosecution.
From January 31, 2023, to January 31, 2026, adults (18 and over) in BC will be exempt from criminal charges for possessing a cumulative maximum 2.5 grams of the following substances:
- Opium, including heroin and fentanyl.
- Methamphetamine, but not its salts.
There are two important conditions for the exemption to apply. First, possession of these substances must only be for personal use. This means there must be no intent to traffic, export, produce or manufacture the substance. Second, if the substance is possessed on a boat, a train, or a motor vehicle operated by an adult, the substance must not be readily accessible to the driver or operator.
The exemption from prosecutions does not apply in the following circumstances:
- on K-12 school premises;
- on child care facility premises;
- in airports;
- in a motor vehicle that is driven or operated by a minor, whether or not the vehicle is in motion; and
- in a watercraft that is operated by a minor, whether or not the watercraft is in motion.
Drug Decriminalization in BC: Next Steps
The stigma associated with substance use can lead people to use in riskier ways. Individuals found in possession of substances listed in the exemption will be provided with information on available local health and social services and can also be provided with assistance to connect with those services. The decision to exempt users from criminal prosecution will allow users to seek and obtain assistance and reduce the number of lives lost to overdoses in BC.
If you are being investigated or have been charged with a drug offence, contact the experienced lawyers at Filkow Law for legal assistance.
Apr 22, 2016
A drug conviction can have lifelong implications.
Drug related offences, particularly trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking, are some of the most heavily resourced police files. Police receive extensive training and are provided unlimited resources to utilize a variety of investigative techniques for drug cases. Some of these techniques include:
- Confidential informants
- Undercover officers
- Trafficking devices
The accused is often faced with a large amount of evidence against him/her. The drug case looks bad and the penalties and implications can be very serious.
Why You Need A Lawyer For A Drug-Related Offence
As drug cases have many layers, a wide variety of legal issues arise. It is important to go through all the evidence with a fine tooth comb and flush out the different issues.
Drug cases require strong preparation, excellent strategy, and more importantly, the right lawyer and legal team.
We have recently achieved some remarkable results for our clients with drug charges. Our extensive experience on drug cases has allowed us to develop specialized knowledge and a specific approach to handling these types of complex cases.