Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is Canada's federal drug control statute. Passed in 1996 by the Chrétien government, it repeals the Narcotic Control Act and Parts III and IV of the Food and Drug Act and establishes eight Schedules of controlled substances and two Classes of precursors. It provides that "The Governor in Council may, by order, amend any of Schedules I to VIII by adding to them or deleting from them any item or portion of an item, where the Governor in Council deems the amendment to be necessary in the public interest."

The Act serves as the implementing legislation for the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Contents

(Incomplete) list of drugs

A complete list of drugs scheduled in Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act can be found here. This list is what is reflected below. Some less common chemicals are omitted.

Schedule I

Schedule II

Cannabis, its preparations, derivatives and similar synthetic preparations, including

  • Cannabis resin
  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • Cannabidiol (2–[3–methyl–6–(1–methylethenyl)–2–cyclohexen–1–yl]–5–pentyl–1,3–benzenediol)
  • Cannabinol (3–n–amyl–6,6,9–trimethyl–6–dibenzopyran–1–ol)
  • Nabilone ((±)–trans–3–(1,1–dimethylheptyl)–6,6a, 7,8,10,10a–hexahydro–1–hydroxy–6,6–dimethyl–9H–dibenzo[b,d]pyran–9–one)
  • Pyrahexyl (3–n–hexyl–6,6,9–trimethyl–7,8,9, 10–tetrahydro–6–dibenzopyran–1–ol)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (tetrahydro–6,6,9–trimethyl–3–pentyl–6H–dibenzo[b,d]pyran–1–ol)
  • 3-(1,2-dimethylheptyl)-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol (DMHP)

but not including

  • Non–viable Cannabis seed, with the exception of its derivatives
  • Mature Cannabis stalks that do not include leaves, flowers, seeds or branches; and fiber derived from such stalks

Schedule III

Schedule IV

Schedule V

Schedule VI (Precursors)

Class A

Class B.

Schedule VII

  • 3 kg Hashish
  • 3 kg Cannabis

Schedule VIII

  • 1g Hashish
  • 30g Cannabis

Laws

Possession

If treated as an indictable offence, the penalty is:

Schedule I: Maximum 7 years imprisonment
Schedule II: (exceeding amounts set in Schedule VIII): Maximum 5 years imprisonment
Schedule III: (Requires a prescription or license to legally possess.) Maximum 3 years imprisonment
Schedule IV: It is not an offence to possess a Schedule IV substance for personal use; however, Subsection (2) of Section (4) of the CDSA states that "no person shall seek or obtain a substance or authorization from a practitioner to obtain a substance in schedules I through IV." Subsection (7) then states that it is an indictable offence to contravene subsection (2). Therefore, it is an indictable offence to attempt to acquire a Schedule IV substance but not an offence for possession. Section 5 provides that possession for the purpose of trafficking of a Schedule IV substance is an offence.

If treated as a summary conviction offence, the penalty is:

Maximum $1000 fine for first offence and/or maximum 6 months imprisonment.
Maximum $2000 fine for subsequent offence and/or maximum 1 year imprisonment.

Note: For amounts not exceeding those set in Schedule VIII, maximum fine of $1000 and/or maximum 6 months imprisonment is the only punishment.

Trafficking/Possession for the Purpose of

If tried as an indictable offence, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule I or Schedule II (exceeding amounts set in Schedule VII): Maximum life imprisonment
Schedule II (not exceeding amounts set in Schedule VII): Maximum 5 years imprisonment
Schedule III: Maximum 10 years imprisonment
Schedule IV: Maximum 3 years imprisonment

Or, if tried as a summary conviction, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule III: Maximum 18 months imprisonment
Schedule IV: Maximum 1 year imprisonment

Exportation/Possession for the Purpose of

If tried as an indictable offence, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule I or Schedule II: Maximum life imprisonment
Schedule III or Schedule IV: Maximum 10 years imprisonment
Schedule V or Schedule VI: Maximum 3 years imprisonment

Or, if tried as a summary conviction, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule III or Schedule IV: Maximum 18 months imprisonment
Schedule V or Schedule VI: Maximum 1 year imprisonment

Production

If tried as an indictable offence, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule I or Schedule II (excluding cannabis): Maximum life imprisonment
Cannabis: Maximum 7 years imprisonment
Schedule III: Maximum 10 years imprisonment
Schedule IV: Maximum 3 years imprisonment

Or, if tried as a summary conviction, the defendant is liable to:

Schedule III: Maximum 18 months imprisonment
Schedule IV: Maximum 1 year imprisonment

Amendments to the act

In November 2007, the Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced Bill C-26, which proposed a number of mandatory minimum penalties imposed on those who commit drug offenses. On February 27, 2009 bill C-15, a re-introduction of C-26 received first reading in the 2nd Session of the 40th Parliament of Canada.[2] On June 9, 2009, the House of Commons passed Bill C-15, and it is now awaiting study and approval by the Senate. On December 14, 2009, the Senate passed Bill C-15, with some amendments, for approval by the House of Commons. When the Canadian Parliament dissolved in a prorogation on January 31, 2010, Bill C15, along with all legislation on the table, fell. However it will be reintroduced when parliament resumes with a new session in March. In the official press release they explain "...We will reintroduce in their original form the consumer safety law (Bill C-6) and the anti-drug-crime law (Bill C-15).... We will seek Opposition agreement to proceed expeditiously with other Government legislation -- particularly laws urgently needed to fight crime...."

Bill C-15 died in the spring of 2010 but a new Bill (S-10) has recently passed by the Senate and has been sent to the Canadian House of Commons for approval. After March 2011 Non-Confidence vote the Bill (S-10), along with the rest, was dissolved with the government. With the current Conservative majority it is very possible this bill will be resubmitted.

References

  1. ^ "Controlled Drugs and Substances Act". http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-38.8/. 
  2. ^ "Bill C-15: An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts". http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Chamber=N&StartList=A&EndList=Z&Session=22&Type=0&Scope=I&query=5739&List=stat. 

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