Decriminalizing Drug Possession with MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

With over 17,000 Canadians dying of opioid overdose between 2016 and 2020, Canada is facing a national crisis. Provincial projects like supervised consumption sites and free naloxone are failing to address the growing numbers of Canadians dying from tainted drug supply. 

This had led to growing calls for the federal government to decriminalize the possession of drugs for personal use and implement a model similar to Portugal’s approach, which led to an 80% decrease in overdose deaths. 

On this episode, we talk with Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who has been a prominent voice for decriminalization in the House of Commons. He joins us to discuss his two private members bills, C-235 and C-236, which would decriminalize drugs and encourage the use of diversion methods in drug possession charges, respectively. 


Soon after this episode was recorded, the federal government announced new legislation on drug possession charges and minimum sentencing, using the diversion elements introduced in C-236. 

Read more here: 

Maitland Shaheen – Producer, Host and Editor

Pro Bono Radio is part of the Queen’s chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada. The Pro Bono Radio team are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice.

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