With the goal of decriminalizing drugs, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart came forward in a council meeting on November 17 to unveil his plan and reasoning surrounding the action. 

“Personal possession and use of drugs is not a criminal justice issue, it is a health issue,” he said.

He went on to say that it’s time to get rid of the stigma surrounding substance use and help save lives instead.

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My plan would see Vancouver lead the way as the first Canadian jurisdiction to decriminalize personal possession of illicit substances

Mayor Stewart

The mayor said the path to decriminalizing drug possession is supported by “Premier John Horgan, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Patricia Daly.”

Stewart is putting forward this motion in order to address the city’s overdose crisis and COVID-19 rates.

The announcement states that there have been more than 1,500 deaths in Vancouver since the Provincial Overdose Emergency was declared in April 2016. That includes an estimated 328 overdose deaths from this year alone.

Apparently, 2020 is heading towards the title of the worst year for overdoses in history and this step towards decriminalization is the Mayor’s battle cry in response.

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