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Canadian Government Considering Decriminalising Heroin And Other Drugs

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Canadian Government Considering Decriminalising Heroin And Other Drugs

The Canadian government is considering decriminilising heroin and other hard drugs.

It comes as the country recorded a steep rise in the number of deaths as a result of overdose in 2020 - 14.6 per 100,000 people - the highest figure since 2016.

Officials in Vancouver have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the government for an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which if granted would ease punishment for the possession of small amounts of drugs in the city.

A spokesperson for the country's Health Minister Patty Hajdu confirmed that the move was under consideration and that the government was discussing the issue with officials in Vancouver.

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This is as far as the Health Minister would go on the subject, however.

If the policy is implemented, it could see those caught with small amounts of heroin and other illicit drugs being subject to a fine or some form of mandatory treatment programme.

Discussions are being had with officials in Vancouver over the proposed policy change. Credit: PA
Discussions are being had with officials in Vancouver over the proposed policy change. Credit: PA

According to Statistics Canada, the number of people in Canada who were charged with drug possession of non-cocaine and non-heroin drugs had more than tripled to 13,725 in the decade to 2019.

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The city's councillors are set to vote on proposals to build a new red light district outside of the notorious tourist spot De Wallen.

Tours of the legal prostitution zone were already banned as of April last year, but it's hoped the latest move will help clean up the capital, taking away the lure of sex and drugs, and reducing crime.

Speaking about the plans, Councillor Dennis Boutkan, of the PvdA labour party, said it represented 'reset of the visitor economy'.

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The mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema, who is at the centre of this reform, has put forward three sets of proposals to move sex tourism away and also reduce drug consumption and crime in the city.

She said: "These measures aim to result in a better mixture of functions, better control, a valuable visitor economy and strengthening cultural diversity and the local identity, more diverse range of housing and more residents in the inner city, more accessible public space and more greenery."

Dutch officials are looking to build an 'erotic centre' outside of Amsterdam. Credit: PA
Dutch officials are looking to build an 'erotic centre' outside of Amsterdam. Credit: PA
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According to the Guardian, if approved, the ban would come into force at some point in 2022.

Research showed that 58 percent of tourists who go to Amsterdam mainly go because it is legal to consume cannabis. Which is probably not that surprising.

Ms Halsema said: "Amsterdam is an international city and we wish to attract tourists - but for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions."

She said that the city would still be 'open, hospitable and tolerant', but she believes that life would be made more difficult for criminals, with a reduction in low-budget tourism.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Heroin, Cocaine, Drugs, Canada, Politics

Dominic Smithers
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