The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Calls for a Public Health Approach to Drug Use

Published: July 17, 2020

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Calls for a Public Health Approach to Drug Use

The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty commends the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) for their leadership with respect to the national conversation around drug law reform. On July 9th, 2020 the CACP released a report entitled “Decriminalization for Simple Possession of Illicit Drugs: Exploring Impacts on Public Safety & Policing”. The report accurately characterizes problematic substance use as a public health issue and acknowledges the need for alternatives to our current criminal justice approach to dealing with personal drug use.

The CACP position follows on the heels of calls for drug decriminalization from other agencies and bodies, including Toronto Public Health, British Columbia’s Premier and Minister of Health, and members of the Liberal national caucus. These calls have become louder as the ongoing opioid epidemic continues to end thousands of lives unnecessarily due to overdose. In addition to these deaths, drug prohibition increases other health risks, such as the transmission of blood-borne disease. Drug prohibition also harms Canadian society by impeding the educational prospects and employment opportunities of people given criminal records for drug possession.

Our country continues to spend billions of dollars arresting and prosecuting people for the possession of small quantities of drugs. It is time we reconsider this failed approach and treat problematic drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one. Kudos CACP.

The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty is a non-partisan, not-for-profit group composed of lawyers, activists, and entrepreneurs brought together by the belief that the harms caused by decades of marijuana prohibition must be made right. We started an online petition platform and will develop education and advocacy resources to help Canadians across the country learn more about the harms caused by cannabis criminalization and what we can do to create a more fair and just national framework for cannabis legalization.

For more information please visit www.cannabisamnesty.ca