The road to decriminalizing drugs in Regina is being paved.

On Tuesday, the Board of Police Commissioners met to discuss the possibility of decriminalizing personal illicit drug possession in the city of Regina.

In August 2021, a motion was passed asking the Regina Police Service (RPS) to look into what the impacts of decriminalizing drug possession would have in Regina, and if it would be feasible to facilitate.

In response, the RPS worked alongside the Saskatoon Police Service and Barbara Fornssler, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, to see what options could be available for Regina.

Fornssler presented a report outlining three potential options on Tuesday:

  • Status quo: choose not to explore decriminalization and see if changes in overdose deaths, incarceration rates, etc., change
  • De facto decriminalization: law enforcement officers would refrain from imposing criminal charges to those possessing personal amounts of a substance.
  • De jure decriminalization: simple drug possession is decriminalized.

Fornssler’s research suggests that if people are not threatened by criminal charges, they are more likely to seek help, especially when it comes to substance abuse.

Decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of drugs is not turning a blind eye to illicit drugs, the meeting notes stated, but ensuring those people who possess them are not threatened by being arrested.

More details to come...