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Debate over synthetic drugs lands sellers in trouble

Do we all know what is legal or illegal? If something is being sold online or in plain view in a Toronto store is it illegal? Although many of us in the Greater Toronto Area are convinced that we can spot criminal activity when it happens, it may not always be as clear-cut as we think. For the manufacturers of synthetic drugs, there is some debate over whether producing the drugs is legal; the producers and sellers say it is, the police say it isn't.

So what do you do in this kind of situation? Well, if the police have arrested you, taken your synthetic drugs and are charging you with a crime, the best thing to do is to speak with a criminal defence lawyer. Not only can a criminal defence lawyer help explain the law (to both you and the police), but they can also argue against the Crown should the charges end up before the court.

Earlier this month, police used 14 search warrants to arrest four GTA residents and seize more than $3,000 worth of synthetic drugs. If these drugs truly are legal, that is a considerable inconvenience and violation of those four individuals' rights.

According to a spokesperson for the Toronto police, the drugs are illegal under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act because they are similar to drugs made illegal by the law. Although there may be a reason to criminalise substances that are similar to other substances, if they aren't listed independently in the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, how are producers, sellers and consumers supposed to know they are illegal? That is something that a criminal defence lawyer would likely argue in court.

Source: Metro News, "Toronto police make more Izms and PurePillz 'legal drug' busts," Jessica Smith Cross, March 7, 2014