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British Columbia

City of Campbell River bans all drug use on public property

The City of Campbell River has enacted an ordinance prohibiting the use of drugs on public property.

The council approved the bylaws just days before BC’s three-year decriminalization process went into effect.

The statute states that the purpose is to “protect and enhance” the welfare of the community.

Anyone caught using a controlled substance in public places like parks or city lands could face a $200 fine.

“I support this because law enforcement has asked us to,” said Councilor Ben Lanyon.

“I think if evidence turns out to contradict that, we can remove it. As it stands, this seems like the most prudent step to protect our entire community. Campbell River is being used as a test subject for a new program and we don’t know what will happen.”

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British Columbia’s pilot project to decriminalize possession of small amounts of some drugs on Tuesday began a three-year experiment that builds on a three-year federal exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

This exemption allows drug users to carry up to 2.5 grams of opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, crack and powder cocaine, or methamphetamine and MDMA. Under the program, police do not seize small amounts of drugs from people, but instead distribute information about recovery options.

One councilwoman said she would have liked to see more consultation with those working on the front lines.

“We have not sought any advice on this at all and we are in the midst of a health crisis,” said Tanille Johnston, Campbell River City Councilwoman.

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“This is a supply crisis for toxic drugs so it is not good advice to rely solely on the information provided by RCMP to make this type of decision – although this is absolutely valuable information, it is our frontline service providers.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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