in a recent announcement, the federal government and B.C. provincial government announced that the province would have an exemption from the current Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to remove criminal penalties from those carrying a small amount of certain illicit substances.
The decriminalization will last from Jan. 1 2023 to Jan.1, 2026, and is set up to see the effects the policy will have.
“The shocking number of lives lost to the overdose crisis requires bold actions and significant policy change. I have thoroughly reviewed and carefully considered both the public health and public safety impacts of this request,” said Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health in a release. “Eliminating criminal penalties for those carrying small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use will reduce stigma and harm and provide another tool for British Columbia to end the overdose crisis.”
Other jurisdictions saw the change and told their residents they wouldn't be a part of the changes such as Manitoba and Alberta.
Saskatchewan is joining them, according to Estevan MLA Lori Carr.
"I think the new minister of justice, it's something that she's going to look at and we're gonna watch very closely, right now it's just a pilot project in British Columbia, so we have to see what happens out there before any consideration would be given to that at all."
Carr says that the Saskatchewan government hasn't been looking into decriminalization, so the outcomes from British Columbia's exemption will be important for them to watch.