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Essay on the Legalization of Drugs in America

Drug laws help to ensure that all drugs used in Canada are safe, effective, and wisely administered. The Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Act govern the manufacture, distribution advertising, and sale of drugs in Canada. These two acts evolved from earlier pieces of legislation known respectively as the Inland Revenue Act and the Opium Act. The Inland Revenue Act of 1876, which dealt primarily with the use of alcohol, did not define drugs. This legislation was the forerunner of the more effective Adulteration Act of 1884, which defined the terms drug and adulteration, and the conditions under which adulteration of a drug might take place. This act was repealed and replaced by the Food and Drugs Act of 1920 in which drugs are defined as any substance used in diagnosis, treatment, mitigation, or prevention of a disease, disorder, or abnormal physical state and in restoring, correcting, or modifying organic functions in humans or animals. In 1953 this act was amended to control the manufacture, distribution, and sale of all drugs except narcotics.

The Opium Act of 1908 prohibited the unauthorized importation and possession of gum or smoking opium. In 1911 the act was expanded and became the Opium and Drug Act, which included other problem drugs such as cocaine and morphine. Amendments were made in 1919 to accommodate import and export licenses. As illicit trade in narcotics increased and more control became necessary, the act was changed again in 1920, becoming the Opium and Narcotic Control Act. Controlled drugs and restricted drugs are included under the Food and Drugs Act and narcotic drugs are listed in respect to the Narcotic Control Act. These drugs have habit-forming properties (addictions) and are subject to abuse for various reasons. It is an offense to possess controlled, restricted, and narcotic drugs for the purpose of trafficking. Simply possessing these drugs for reasons other than those permitted in the two acts is an offense chargeable by fines, community service, and even imprisonment.

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In addition to controls placed on drugs, there are a number of additional controls for manufacturing, distributing, and selling controlled, restricted, and narcotic drugs. This is to prevent their flow from legal to illegal sources. First, the Health protection branch must license dealers and each month the dealers must report the sale of specific narcotics and controlled drugs. A licensed dealer may sell narcotics and controlled drugs only to pharmacists, medical practitioners, hospitals, and other licensed dealers. The bureau of pharmaceutical surveillance then evaluates drug submissions, issues DINs (drug identification numbers) conducts pharmaceutical market research, and co-ordinates the distribution. The HPB has to also keep records of all drug movements, which the dealers record. The dealers must account for all drugs received, their source and the date received, all drugs supplied and to whom and the date they were shipped, all drugs manufactured, the quantity and the date of production, and a monthly inventory of all stock.

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Inspectors from the Field Operations Directorate audit the records of all licensed dealers, pharmacists, practitioners, and hospitals. Lastly, if a dealer wishes to import or export in Canada they must obtain a permit stating the source of the drug, the exact description, the exact quantity, the destination, and the port of entry or exit. With all these procedures drugs still manage to fall into the hands of those who are unauthorized. Athletes are stripped of their medals for substance abuse, such as Ben Johnston, Ross Rebagliati, and Silken Laumann, who was eventually exonerated. Four of seven weightlifters selected to represent Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics were disqualified for drug abuse. Two Canadian weightlifters were disqualified at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics for steroid use. Corrupt police officers; teens and many others still manage to obtain these illegal substances.

On Sunday, March the fifth 2000 a Quebec male who fled the country after his conviction of one of Canada’s largest drug busts was returned to prison. Boulanger, the 54-year-old male piloted a twin-engine plane from Columbia loaded with more than 4,000 kg of cocaine, worth more than $1 billion in 1992. He was chased for 10 hours by military aircraft, landed in Casey, Quebec, and was convicted to 23 years imprisonment. He ran away in 1998 after being granted a day parole one year earlier than scheduled. He also faces charges of smuggling hashish into the U.S. where he faces additional charges of forgery and money laundering. March fourth, 2000 a 46-year-old man passed a kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of $200,000. The main put the cocaine in condoms and swallowed them before he boarded the Air Canada flight from Jamaica. That is of the prominent reasons Air Jamaica stopped their flights from Jamaica to Canada.

The urine tests were able to detect the traces because some of the drugs leach into a person’s body. Approximately 120 to 130 travelers are caught each year by trying to smuggle drugs by swallowing them. That isn’t even including all the methods. Also on March the fourth 2000, another Quebec man was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment after pleading guilty to drug and weapon charges. Landry-Hetu, 31 of Carignan, Quebec will serve more time in addition because of other charges of trafficking cocaine in the Simcoe area. He was arrested in Ont. In Sep. 1999 during Project Snow White, a 3-year Provincial probe. The probe resulted in more than 200 charges against 44 people. When the police searched his home they found nearly $76,000 cash, 2 kg of cocaine, a list of drug debts, fake identification, weapons, and ammunition.

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December 17th, 1999 a police officer is under investigation by Internal Affairs since April. An officer in an unmarked police van was driving home when he was pulled over by the OPP. The OPP suspected that the officer was impaired. Inside the van was a large number of drugs. Last month, after senior officers met with federal drug prosecutors, crown attorneys were directed to stay charges in a number of major drug cases involving certain drug squad officers. No reasons were given, leaving defense lawyers involved in those cases baffled. These cases are a few in the many. A woman was charged last month with growing weed. But she appealed the charge as it was for medicinal purposes. Last month Police arrested two employees at a medical marijuana club and seized the names of 27 doctors who had recommended pot for their patients. The club required a doctor’s note or prescription and only allotted enough for personal use but only one of the members of the club had received a federal exemption for taking marijuana.

With all the chaos over weed for medicinal purposes, many think it should be legalized. Many hold rallies go to raves and many have tried to have it legalized for decades. If drugs were to be legalized marijuana would be the first to be legalized. Critics say that pot is the gateway drug that leads to various types of chemicals. If weed were legalized it would create numerous dilemmas. Drug addicts would fight to have other drugs legalized causing a chain reaction. Who would determine which segments of the population would have access to legalized drugs? If the legalized drugs were only allotted to certain minorities, everyone else would argue that they should have equal rights. Would they only be available to people over 19? And if they were, minors would still get their hands on them. Will chemical drugs be legalized? Even if they weren’t, how could the health protection branch ensure that the marijuana was not laced? Who would sell the drugs? The government? Private companies?

If drugs were legally on the market there would be price war-making costs so low that people could afford to be wasted all the time. How would the black market for cheaper drugs be controlled? How would society care for and pay for the attendant social costs of increased drug use, including family disintegration and child neglect? If drugs were legalized there would be a need for more laws. Would intoxicated persons be allowed to drive? There are many drugs and you can’t always tell by looking at a person if they are a substance abuser. Would drug addicts have the same privileges to welfare and health care? Legalizing drugs will create more problems than it could possibly solve. As many drug-related articles prove crime, violence, and drug abuse go hand-in-hand. In the case of Landry-Hetu, he also had illegal weapons at his home and Boulanger Faced charges of forgery and money laundering, thus proving that drugs do provoke violence and more criminal acts.

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The legalization of drugs will lead to increased use and therefore increased addiction. If you legalize drugs you will lose your morals and future generations will think that it is normal or even natural to do drugs. Any revenues generated by taxing legalized drugs would evaporate in light of the increased social costs. According to the DEA (drug enforcement administration), there are no compelling medical reasons to prescribe marijuana or heroin to sick people. Alcohol has caused significant health, social and criminal activity, and legalized drugs would only make the situation worse. There are a few factors siding with legalization, such as for medicinal purposes, but for every reason to legalize drugs, there are a million more reasons not to. The government should not amend any laws to include the legalization of drugs. If anything they should be improving their efforts to keep drugs off the streets and especially away from adolescents. The government can go ahead and legalize drugs for medicinal purposes. Before you make your decision ask yourself one question. How much are you willing to sacrifice?


  • Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario
  • Drugs and the Law in Canada
  • Toronto: the center copyright 1980
  • Canada health Protection Branch, Educational services
  • Health protection and drug laws
  • Ottawa: the services copyright 1980
  • Health and Welfare Canada
  • Health Protection and drug laws
  • Minister of national health and welfare copyright 1991
  • Robert Solomon
  • Drug and Alcohol Law for Canadians (second edition)
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction research foundation copyright 1985
  • Additional Resources

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Essay on the Legalization of Drugs in America. (2021, Mar 25). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from