At 9:30 a.m. today, Mayor Kennedy Stewart will be proposing a groundbreaking motion to the Vancouver City Council and a formal vote will ensue.
Announced last Wednesday, Nov. 18th, the Mayor is hoping to make Vancouver the first Canadian city to decriminalize drug possession. This is said to be a response to the opiate crisis, not a magic solution; it’s about approaching from a harm reduction standpoint, reducing stigma, and treating addiction as a health issue. In August 2016, officials in BC declared the opiate epidemic to be a public health emergency but overdose rates continue to rise.
Mayor Steward is not alone in wanting to see this change and is vocally naming his supporters. According to Wednesday’s Twitter announcement, “Decriminalization is supported by Premier Horgan, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Dr. Bonnie Henry & Dr. Patricia Daly, PIVOT Legal Society & many others.”