Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart wants to decriminalize personal possession of illicit drugs in Vancouver.
Stewart announced Wednesday that he would be tabling a motion to do so next week. If the motion is successful, Vancouver would become the first Canadian jurisdiction to do so.
“Personal possession and use of drugs is not a criminal justice issue,” Stewart said. “It’s a health issue.”
This action is long overdue, Stewart said, citing the more than 1600 overdose deaths in Vancouver since a provincial health emergency was declared in April 2016.
2020 is on track to be the worst year yet for overdose deaths in Vancouver. There have been over 300 overdose deaths in the city this year alone.