Decriminalizing simple possession of illicit drugs

What's happeningKnow your rights

As of May 7, 2024, and further to the recent amendment  to a Health Canada exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, people using or carrying small amounts of drugs for personal use in public spaces in BC may face criminal charges.

Decriminalization of possession of 2.5 grams-or-less of certain drugs continues to apply to:

  • Designated health care clinics
  • Private residences
  • Unhoused people who are legally sheltering

Support services

If you are a person who uses drugs and needs more information about the support available to you in Vancouver, learn more about the harm reduction services  provided by Vancouver Coastal Health.

Decriminalization of drugs in British Columbia

Decriminalizing people who use drugs is intended to help reduce stigma related to substance use, increase access to health services, and decrease harms related to criminalization.

This is shown to increase safety for people who use drugs by reducing the seizure of small amounts of drugs that often force individuals who rely on illicit substances into risky behaviours, and by increasing their ability to access life-saving services without fear.