EDITORIAL: Tougher sentences welcomed for selling fentanyl

A judge at B.C.’s top court is calling for stronger sentences for people who sell fentanyl

A judge at B.C.’s top court is calling for stronger sentences for people who sell fentanyl.

We couldn’t agree more.

In a ruling posted online Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal to increase the six-month sentence of a 59-year-old man who was caught with drugs, including 2.6 grams of the deadly opioid.

The Crown had argued that the sentence wasn’t enough, but the effort was denied, since fentanyl-related deaths were not as prevalent at the time of the offence. However, the three judges agreed the court should identify a higher sentencing range because of the current “public health crisis associated with illicit fentanyl.”

The judge who dissented in the judgment, Justice Mary Newbury, called for a sentence of 18 to 36 months – or possibly even higher.

Frank Stanley Smith, a first-time offender, tried to sell drugs to an undercover cop in 2015 on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The current sentencing range for first-time offenders is six to 12 months – the same as heroin.

It’s no secret what a horrible toll deadly opioids like fentanyl have taken on our local streets.

While the feds have announced an additional $10 million for B.C.’s fight, along with $65 million nationwide over the next five years, we believe getting much tougher with the scumbags who sell the deadly stuff will also help save lives.

It certainly can’t hurt.

– Black Press