It is an offence to produce any of the substances listed in the Schedules of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Likewise, it is an offence to produce cannabis not as authorized by the Cannabis Act.
To “produce” means to obtain a substance by any process or method, and includes:
- Synthesizing, manufacturing or using any method in order to alter the physical or chemical qualities of a substance;
- Harvesting, cultivating or growing the substance or any living organism that the substance can be derived or extracted from.
Because of the large quantities of the controlled substances and the actual or potential large financial gain that is associated with distribution of the substance, potential sentences are serious upon conviction. Courts generally sentence those convicted of drug production to incarceration, sometimes involving lengthy penitentiary time. Maximum sentences for hard drug production offences are for up to imprisonment for life.
Typically, police begin targeting a suspected drug producer or place based on information provided through a tip from a third party. For example, a neighbour who observes suspicious activity – people coming and going, smells, noises or evidence of property being fortified. In order to search the property, police have to present information to a judge or justice that outlines the reasonable and probable grounds that the officer believes support the granting of a warrant to search. Often, police will seek to add evidence to the tip and will conduct further independent investigations on the suspected drug production operation. This might include the police conducting surveillance of suspected producers or seeking and obtaining wiretap warrants to intercept private communications of suspects.