What is a drug?

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  • Any substance that by its chemical nature alters structure or function in a living organism
  • Legal – tea, coffee, coca cola, aspirin,
  • Illegal – cocaine, LSD, heroin
    • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
    • Enacted in 1997
    • Criminalizes possession of, and trafficking in, of a variety if illegal and controlled drugs
  • Schedule I: the most dangerous drugs (heroin, cocaine)
  • Schedule II: marijuana and derivatives
  • Schedule III: dangerous drugs previously found in the Food and Drugs Act
  • Schedule IV: drugs that have to be controlled but are used for therapeutic purposes (barbiturates – strong tranquilizers)
  • Schedule VII: cannabis resin, cannabis in amounts up to 3 kg
  • Schedule VIII: cannabis resins in amounts up to 1 g and cannabis up to 30 g

Possession of a drug

  • Even if it is a small amount, you can still be charged
  • Even if it isn’t yours, you can still be charged
  • If it is in your house, and you don’t partake, but you know, you can be charged
  • CONSENT is the issue – you knew, and you let it happen anyway

Medicinal Marijuana

  • 2001: allowances made to allow patients with terminal illnesses, chronic pain and chronic conditions to grow marijuana for personal use
  • ID card necessary
  • Gov’t of Canada: medicinal marijuana
  • R v Hamon, R v Parker

Prescription Shopping

  • Or Double Doctoring – people that ‘shop around’ and try to get the same prescription from different doctors
  • The law states that a person who is getting a narcotic/controlled drug prescription must disclose any other such prescriptions within previous 30 days

Hybrid offence

  • Summary: $1000 and/or 6 months in jail (repeat offenders: $2000 and/or 1 yr in jail)
  • Indictable: 18 months – 7 yrs (depends on the substance)


  • To sell, give, transfer, transport a controlled substance
  • Penalties vary according to the drug, as well as whether its summary or indictable.
  • It is enough to give drugs to another person – profit motive is not necessary
  • R v Greyeyes


  • Globally, 600 billion dollars in raised in the illegal drug trade
  • Nationally, 6 billion dollars is made in marijuana production in BC.
  • Page 168: penalties..
  • Range from 10 months-life

Money Laundering (not laundry)

  • Launder: To use, transfer, possess, send, transport, transmit, alter, dispose of or deal with any property obtained through crime.
  • Placement: dirty money is placed in a legitimate bank (difficult step – banks have to report large transactions)
  • Layering: money is sent through various transactions to make it difficult to follow (wire transfers, bank-to-ban transactions, large purchases, changing currency) The goal is to make the money hard to trace
  • Integration: money re-enters through a legitimate looking transaction. A bank transfer into a local business as an investment in exchange for a cut of the profits

Police Rights of Search and Seizure

  • A warrant is needed in order to search a property (house, car) if there is a belief that an offence is in progress
  • No warrant needs to be issued if there is belief that the situation is urgent
  • The Criminal Code authorizes an officer may search a person if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person is in possession of a drug

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • R v Feeney: Police entered Michael Feeney`s home after the body of Frank Boyle was found. Police saw that Feeney`s shirt was blood splattered, and there was a pack of cigarettes that matched a pack found at the crime scene. Police ordered Feeney outside and arrested him, charging him with 2nd degree murder
  • At trial, his lawyers said his rights had been violated – the police hadn`t obtained a search warrant
  • The Supreme Court upheld this verdict in May, 1997, and Feeney was set free.
  • R v Adams

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