In a Dec. 29 injunction, B.C. Supreme Court ruled that it would impose ‘irreparable harm’ if drug users were warned away from public areas
B.C. was already nine months into an unprecedented pilot project to decriminalize personal amounts of illicit drugs. Fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA; so long as it was only 2.5 grams, by federal exemption it was now legal to possess illicit drugs basically anywhere in British Columbia.
The “playground” amendment — enacted on Sept. 18 — dialled it back ever so slightly. You could still possess illicit drugs without consequence, but you couldn’t do it within 15 metres of a playground, skate park or “outdoor spray pool or wading pool.” Schools and “child care facility premises” had already been written into the original decriminalization order.
According to the official text of the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act, police were officially discouraged from arresting violators, and if anyone was found using drugs in child-centric areas, officers were instructed to “direct” them elsewhere.
But in an injunction issued just before the end of 2023, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that even this most delicate check against public drug use was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a Dec. 29 injunction, B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled that it would impose “irreparable harm” if drug users were warned away from public areas — even if that came at the expense of public parks filled with biohazardous drug paraphernalia and other “social harms” such as “unpredictable behaviour.”