The production, distribution and use of drugs in Canada is heavily regulated by the federal government under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), which defines hundreds of drugs as “controlled substances” and criminalizes the manufacture or production, possession and sale or distribution of those substances except as authorized under the regulations to the CDSA.
The individual drugs defined as controlled substances are listed in six separate schedules to the CDSA, Schedules I, II, III, IV, V and VI. Schedule I includes cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine (crystal meth), ecstasy, ketamine, GHB, and oxycodone (oxycontin); Schedule II includes marijuana and various cannabinoids; Schedule III includes anabolic steroids, psilocin (psychedelic or magic mushrooms), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or acid); and Schedule IV includes barbiturates such as diazepam (valium) and lorazepam (ativan).
While offences under the CDSA are not technically “criminal offences” since they are not found in the Criminal Code, they are as serious as criminal offences; some CDSA offences are punishable by sentences of up to life imprisonment. Further, a conviction under the CDSA even for what is generally considered to be a relatively minor offence – possession of marijuana for personal use – can prove to be a significant impediment to travel to the United States, and a barrier to finding employment in certain fields. For these reasons, retaining a Vancouver criminal defence lawyer any time you are charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or under investigation for drug offences is critical.