Illicit Drug Usage and the Law in Canada

This has prompted the Canadian government to join the United Nations and other like-minded countries in the war against drugs. Canada has instituted various legislations aimed at curbing this cropping vice. For instance, the Canadian government has established new prohibitionist drug laws with very harsh penalties. The social, economic and political effects that substance abuse has had on the entire Canadian society are self-evident. For instance, a substantial number of Canadians who succumb due to drug-related complications has soared. Direct health care costs have also increased to large extents. Besides, substance abuse cost Canadians billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, there is low productivity in Canada due to morbidity that has adversely affected the Canadian economy. According to Montigny (2011), drug- related crimes are the order of the day in Canada in that crime rate has tremendously heightened. Consequently, crime and law enforcement costs have been on the rise due to increases in use of illicit drugs. This has invoked the Canadian government to tighten up its belt in the fight against illicit drug and substance abuse. A number of Acts aimed at controlling these drugs have been instituted. A legal foundation for drug legislation in Canada was laid in the early twentieth century. This was precisely in 1908 when the Opium Act instituted the initial drug restrictions. The act also created prohibition toward various other medicines and restrictions on tobacco and alcohol usage. Later in 1911, the Opium and Drug Act of 1911 was enacted establishing further restrictions on cocaine and opiates (Roach, 2008). In the year 1923, the Act incorporated restrictions towards cannabis usage. These developments led to the ultimate enactment of the Opium and Narcotic Act 1929, which became a crux in the Canadian drug policy. This act was backed up by various international drug legislations instituted by specified conventions. They include the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as well as the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971(Whitaker, 1970). The fight on illegal drug usage in Canada took a new dimension in the year 1969 when the Le Dain led Commission was mandated to look into the Non-medical use of drugs in Canada. The commission established that the number of Canadians convicted with life imprisonment and other personal barriers annually due to illegal drug possession and usage was on tremendous rise. More so, they discovered that the police used excessive force against drug offenders (Moore, 2007). Owing to these discoveries, there was need for gradual withdrawal from criminal sanctions against those found in possession and use of illegal drugs as well as less coercive alternatives to the application of criminal law on drug offenders. This witnessed the implementation of the Canada Drug Strategy of 1987 that was aimed at addressing the identified problems. A decade later, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of 1997 was enacted. This Act was specifically meant to address the Canadian drug situation disregarding what was transpiring in other countries around the world. This Act was soundly prohibitionist since it barred any activities related to illegal drugs. As such, the most outstanding federal statute dealing with illegal drugs in Canada is the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act of 1997 (CDSA). This statute is charged with the