The criminalization of psychoactive drugs creates preventable harms to individuals and society. Decriminalization of personal possession of drugs is an innovative approach to mitigate the harms of criminalization. Despite widespread support for the general approach of decriminalizing drug possession, the policy model for decriminalization, including how personal possession should be defined, is contentious. To inform decriminalization policy approaches in BC and Canada, data was generated from a literature review, qualitative interviews with 16 key stakeholders/experts, and police drug seizure data to: a) identify the most relevant and feasible objectives of decriminalization; b) select evaluation criteria; and c) evaluate six decriminalization policy models that differed based on how personal possession was defined. Based on this multi-criterion policy analysis, it is recommended that the approach to defining personal possession that would best meet the identified policy objectives and considerations for BC is one that utilizes a global threshold quantity of 15 grams.
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Thesis advisor: DeBeck, Kora
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