The City of Toronto has released its sweeping plan to decriminalize all hard drugs, including fentanyl and crack cocaine for any age.
Toronto’s request is even more lenient than the decriminalization order granted to the entire province of British Columbia by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year.
The City is asking that the federal government grant a Health Canada exemption for all drugs extending even to children.
In British Columbia’s case, the granted exemption only applies to adults. The report claims that decriminalization should be offered for “all people in Toronto, including youth.”
“Criminalization does not effectively deter youth substance use. The data show that youth in Toronto between the ages of 12 and 17 use unregulated drugs and are vulnerable to the same harms associated with criminalization as adults,” claimed the report.
Toronto’s “city-wide” exemption does not apply to child care facilities, airports or schools.
“The exclusion of child care facilities and schools is intended to maintain alignment with provincial legislation intended to prevent alcohol, cannabis, and unregulated drug use in these settings. Airports are excluded because they fall under federal laws,” wrote city officials.
As part of its plan, it does not specifically limit what quantity of drugs can be possessed for personal use but claims that individuals will still be investigated for drug trafficking and other violations.
“Drugs in possession for personal use can vary considerably depending on the type of drugs being used, or an individual’s tolerance to a substance. For the anticipated benefits of decriminalization to be available to all Torontonians, the model should apply to all drugs in possession if they are for personal use,” wrote city officials.
“However, individuals will still be investigated for and charged with trafficking and/or possession for the purpose of trafficking, exporting, or producing a controlled substance where there are reasonable grounds for any such charge.”
In British Columbia, drug possession under 2.5 grams is legal as of Jan. 31.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has been a vocal opponent of the decriminalization approach.
“Flooding our streets with decriminalized and taxpayer subsidized drugs has led to a massive overdose crisis right across the country,” said Poilievre on Wednesday while commenting on recent random attacks across the country.
At the same time Toronto has moved to introduce a pilot program to allow drinking in public parks.