Gitsegukla Band Council: Response to Decriminalization of Certain Opioids in BC
The Gitsegukla Band Council emphasizes that decriminalization does not give drug dealers a free pass!
Dear Community Members,
We would like to share with you some important updates regarding the recent decriminalization of personal possession of certain illegal drugs in British Columbia.
Effective January 31, 2023 to January 31, 2026, adults (18 years and older) in B.C. will not be arrested or charged for possessing small amounts of opioids, crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA for personal use.
The Health Canada exemption is effective from January 31, 2023 to January 31, 2026 and decriminalizes:
- opioids, crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA.
- Adults (18 years and older) in B.C. will not be arrested or charged for possessing small amounts of these drugs for personal use.
It is important to note that this decriminalization does not give anyone the right to sell or distribute drugs in the community.
The possession of drugs, including those covered by the exemption, remains illegal such as on school grounds, around the gym during special events
The Band Council is aware of the legal changes and is actively taking steps to protect the community by amending policies and by-laws to address these changes.
We are closely monitoring this situation and taking action to protect our community by updating our policies and by-laws.
Our goal is to ensure that everyone is aware of the legal changes while also keeping a watchful eye on drug trafficking in the village.
Please also be mindful of the continued illegal status of drug trafficking and possession of more than 2.5 grams of these drugs.
The Gitsegukla Band Council
Summary List: Decriminalization as of January 31, 2023:
- Decriminalization of personal possession of certain illegal drugs for personal use has been implemented in British Columbia
- This is a step towards addressing the toxic drug crisis and reducing stigma and barriers to accessing Health Services.
- Health Canada granted:
- an exemption to the Province of B.C. that is effective from January 31, 2023 to January 31, 2026
- decriminalizes personal possession of: opioids, crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA.
- Adults (18 years and older) in B.C:
- Will not be arrested or charged for possessing small amounts of these drugs (up to a combined total of 2.5 grams) for personal use.
- They will instead be offered information about health and social supports.
- Possession of more than 2.5 grams of these drugs and any amount of other illegal drugs not covered by the exemption remains illegal.
- Drug trafficking remains illegal regardless of the amount in possession.
- This exemption does not apply to certain circumstances, it will remain a criminal offense no matter the possession amount on the premises:
- of schools and daycare facilities, airports, Canadian Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, and private property in some cases.
- The exemption does not change laws in other Canadian provinces and territories: taking illegal drugs across borders remains illegal.
- Possession of illegal drugs, including those covered by the exemption, remains illegal:
- in motor vehicles or watercraft operated by a minor, on public transit, or on watercrafts that are readily accessible to the operator.
- Canadian Armed Forces members are subject to criminal offenses if they possess the drugs covered by the exemption unless otherwise authorized.
- The exemption does not apply to people under 18 years of age and they are subject to the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.
- Decriminalization was implemented through:
- Training of police, educating the public, engaging First Nations communities and continuing to invest in mental health & substance use supports.
- A robust monitoring and evaluation plan has been developed to monitor the impact of decriminalization.
Read Full Official Notice Here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose/decriminalization
Download Council’s Notice BelowDownload PDF