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Drug Offence Overview

So why are drug offenses federal charges, and what makes them more serious, or why are they more serious? Well I can answer the last part of that question first, is they’re not necessarily more serious, drug offenses are also, many of them, are hybrid offenses meaning the crown can proceed by summary or indictment. Many of them also carry mandatory minimums. Drug offenses are not necessarily more serious than other criminal offenses as a general rule. Now the difference is that the criminal code offenses are prosecuted by the province, and the CDSA offenses, or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, those offenses are prosecuted by a federal prosecutor, so often you’ll have a courtroom and if it’s a drug offense, in comes the federal prosecutor to deal with the federal matter, which is the CDSA. Criminal Code offenses are also federal legislation, it’s just that everybody thinks that the CDSA is necessarily federal over other types of offenses because it’s a federal prosecutor, that’s not the case, it’s all federal legislation.

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