North America's only sanctioned safe-injection site for drug addicts won a major court victory Tuesday, thwarting any chance of the federal Conservative government closing it down.
Mr. Justice Ian Pitfield of the B.C. Supreme Court granted users and staff at the popular but controversial facility known as Insite a permanent constitutional exemption from prosecution under federal drug laws.
Allowing addicts to inject their illegal drugs in a safe, medically supervised environment is a matter of sensible health care and they should not be under threat of being busted by police, the judge ruled.
In so doing, Judge Pitfield also declared that sections of Canada's drug laws against possession and trafficking in illegal narcotics were unconstitutional.
However, he gave the government until the end of June next year to redraft them in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The ruling is narrow in scope and not expected to lead to widespread loosening of the laws against heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs.
But it was clearly a stunning reprieve for Insite.
Friend of wmtc Jen is a long-time advocate for Insite. I'm hoping she'll come by with a comment or, if she'd like, a guest post.