Drug addiction a social, not criminal justice issue: Jagmeet Singh

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If NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is Canada’s PM someday, possession of any drug won’t be a criminal offence.

Jagmeet Singh addressed close to 2,000 delegates attending the B.C. NDP convention on Saturday that Canada’s drug laws should reflect that drug addiction is a social justice issue and not a criminal justice matter. He went on to press the federal government to declare opioid addiction a national crisis.

Decriminalize personal possession of all drugs, not just marijuana is extremely popular with many millennials and left-leaning NDP supporters, but a significant number of Canadians who have reservations about cannabis stores and its legalization may balk at supporting any move that would decriminalize hard drugs.

However, Jagmeet Singh has a point when he says any addiction is rooted in issues of poverty and mental health.

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“To me poverty, mental health and addictions don’t sound like criminal justice problems,” he said. “They sound to me like a social justice problem. That’s why I’m calling for the decriminalization of all personal possession offences when it comes to drugs to make a difference in the lives of people and actually bring real change.”

There is certain to be pushback to the idea of decriminalizing drug possession by not just many Canadians but law enforcement. Drug dealers could simply walk past police with complete nonchalance on their way to do a deal or find ways to transport larger quantities of illegal drugs through mules carrying quantities that would not warrant criminal prosecution.

Portugal decriminalized the possession of all drugs including heroin and the sky didn’t fall. This example is often bandied about by those lobbying for something similar here in Canada. – CINEWS

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Comments: 1

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  1. That’s nonsense. The proposal is for decriminalization of personal possession of drugs (so, possession of a small quantity for personal use). Trafficking and selling of drugs would remain a crime.

    Keeping possession of drugs for personal use illegal results in people being afraid to seek treatment. The drug-war is a failed strategy. Portugal is living proof that decriminalizing drugs for personal possession is a good strategy. Portugal putting its focus on health care and treatment has led to a dramatic drop in opiate addiction deaths there. Jagmeet Singh is correct in his thinking on this issue.