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Appeal court upholds pause on provincial law banning public drug use

A provincial law explicitly banning illicit drug use in some public places was slapped down again this week by the BC Court of Appeal.

The decision came on Friday from Justice Ronald Skolrood, who ruled that it was not in the public interest for the province to appeal an earlier order, which put a pause on enforcing the new law. The ruling from late December pauses enforcement for three months for the “Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act.”

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told CBC that the province is disappointed with the decision and will continue defending the Act. He says laws around public drug use should be similar to those already in place for tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use in public.

Critics of the act say it stigmatizes drug users, and will push them into risky drug use behaviour that could result in more deaths from the ongoing drug crisis in BC.

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