Manitoba will not seek exemption for personal drug use: Justice minister

The Manitoba government says it will not follow British Columbia’s lead in decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use.

The federal government has approved B.C.’s request for a three-year exemption that will prevent charges being laid against anyone with 2.5 grams or less of drugs, including opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine.

B.C. provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says the exemption will help keep people alive and allow them to connect to health and social supports.

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Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says the province is focused on cutting off the illicit drug supply while offering addiction treatment for users.

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The Opposition New Democrats say the government should study the impact of the change in British Columbia before making up its mind.

They also say a more immediate priority is to build a safe consumption site.

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