Advocating for creative approaches to decriminalization

Pivot has long advocated for the decriminalization of simple drug possession, but as the federal government continues to oppose this important policy, we can’t wait any longer: prohibition is killing us. That’s why we’ve expanded our decriminalization advocacy to target each and every level of government. Decriminalizing drug possession at a local level is not only urgent but also well within the power of municipal and provincial governments to achieve.

Pivot’s latest drug policy report, Act Now! Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver, lays the groundwork for achieving a local policy of decriminalization. The report recommendation is simple: Non-federal levels of government should implement decriminalization locally by applying to the federal government for an exemption against the offence of simple drug possession.

Will you urge your local government to decriminalize?

Now that Vancouver has walked the path, it's time for other municipalities and provinces to follow suit. The following resources can aid local governments to apply for an exemption today:

Decriminalizing People Who Use Drugs: A Primer for Municipal and Provincial Governments

HIV Legal Network (November 12, 2020)
Report detailing actions that municipal and provincial governments can take to decriminalize drug possession locally
Download the primer

Act Now! Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver

Pivot Legal Society (September 16, 2020)
Technical report urging the City of Vancouver to apply for a federal exemption to ensure local decriminalization
Download the report

Joint Statement of VANDU and Pivot Legal Society on Decriminalization in Vancouver

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and Pivot Legal Society (November 19, 2020)
A joint statement of support for the Vancouver motion to apply for decriminalization with the condition that it be full decriminalization, without penalties or sanctions.
Read the statement

Vancouver's unanimously approved motion to apply for an exemption

City of Vancouver (November 25, 2020)
The final unanimously approved motion is contained in the following document starting on page 8 (Motion B.4)
Read the motion

Mayor Stewart Kennedy and Vancouver Coastal Health's application for an exemption to Health Canada

Vancouver City Mayor Stewart Kennedy (December 9, 2020)
Mayor Kennedy writes to Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Health to request an exemption under section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to decriminalize personal possession amounts of controlled substances within our municipal borders
Read the letter


Related Projects

Promoting access to supervised consumption services and overdose prevention sites

Developing a drug policy roadmap for Canada

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