The B.C. government has hit another roadblock in its attempts to prevent drug use in public areas.

On Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal refused to grant the province leave to appeal an injunction blocking Bill 34, the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act.

That bill was passed in the legislature in November, allowing for fines and potential imprisonment for people who refuse police orders not to consume drugs in certain public places.

In December, the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction pending a legal challenge, blocking the legislation until March 31, 2024, ruling it could cause “irreparable harm” to drug users at risk of a fatal overdose.


Click to play video: 'B.C. government files appeal to overturn court decision about public drug use ban'


B.C. government files appeal to overturn court decision about public drug use ban


In a statement, Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the government was “disappointed” by the appellate court’s ruling.

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“The legislation that passed in the legislature last November aims to help people feel safe in community spaces while also encouraging people struggling with addiction to connect with the services and supports they need,” Farnworth said. “We think it makes sense that laws around public drug use be similar to those already in place for public smoking, alcohol and cannabis.”


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Farnworth said the province remains committed to defending the legislation in court against a constitutional challenge.

The province said the possession or consumption of drugs remains prohibited at schools and childcare facilities, within 15 metres of playgrounds and pools under other provisions separate from Bill 34.

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