Drug Decriminalization in British Columbia - Know Your Rights

To ensure people in BC know when they are and are not protected by BC’s decriminalization policy, we’ve created a printable Know Your Rights Card with our friends at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). If you’re a person who uses drugs (or a drug user-led group), feel free to contact us for some hardcopy cards.

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‘Decriminalization’ of personal drug possession in BC

From January 31, 2023 to January 31, 2026, the Province of BC has decriminalized the personal possession of certain types and amounts of drugs for people in BC.

Are you protected by BC’s decriminalization policy?

Yes - and your drugs won’t be confiscated You’re 18+, in BC (& not crossing a domestic or international border), AND you possess less than 2.5 grams TOTAL of any of these drugs: opioids, cocaine, meth, MDMA (ecstasy)

You’re under 18

You possess more than 2.5 grams TOTAL of any illicit drug(s)

You possess any amount of any drug not listed above

You’re engaged in another criminal activity besides personal drug possession, (as defined above), including: possession for the purposes of trafficking, trafficking, importation/exportation, etc.

You’re selling, sharing, or transporting drugs to another person

You’re at a school (K-12), licensed childcare facility, or airport

You’re in a car or watercraft operated by someone under 18

You’re in a car, watercraft, or on public transit and your drugs are accessible to the driver/operator

REMEMBER: you only need to identify yourself to police if you’re being arrested, driving a motor vehicle, or receiving a bylaw ticket. If you believe you have been wrongly charged for personal drug possession, tell your lawyer.

Police will distribute ‘health service referral cards’ to people who possess drugs. Police cannot require you to access these services; they can assist you to do so ONLY if you ask.

Please review the full exemption for details that may not be included on this card.

DISCLAIMER: This is public legal information, current to December 2022. It is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer or advocate for specific advice. - https://www.pivotlegal.org/need_help