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Q: Is peyote legal in Canada? I saw that its got a special exemption from your peyote law page, but I was confused.

A: The controlled drugs & substances act (CDSA) can be found (march 2001) at:



http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/laws/C-38.8/32985.html



If this link is broken, check out our canadian drug law vault .



In the current CDSA it appears that peyote is -specifically- exempted from the law, which means it is definitely not a schedule III substance, although extracting the chemical Mescaline from it would likely result in a schedule III drug. This wording leaves open (to me) whether a tea
made from peyote would be illegal to possess and it seems like there's a grey area if you had peyote ground up or otherwise prepared for ingestion.



"17. Mescaline (3,4,5--trimethoxybenzeneethanamine) and any salt thereof, but not peyote (lophophora)"



Interestingly, Canadian law chooses to exempt the entire genus in which there are several other plants other than the classic peyote.



As to exactly how that law is enforced would depend entirely on the cases which have gone to court and been prosecuted. What judges and juries have decided would set the tone for how broad the
peyote exception is. I would imagine there are very very few cases of peyote prosecution because it just doesn't grow in canada and is a difficult cultivar. In the US there are very few peyote cases we know of.



I did a broader search on canadian law and found no other references to peyote or its technical genus "Lophophora" or its species "williamsii". This suggests to me that it is not a federal canadian criminal offense to possess or grow peyote for personal use. I have no idea how sales
are regulated in canada, but I would tend to suspect one would get hassled if you're caught selling it prepared for ingestion.



The next question that needs to be addressed is what province you're in. In the US, every state has its own set of laws which add to the federal laws. I think its the same in Canada, so we need to check the statutes of each province to see what they say. I went through all of the provincial
statutes that i could get online (most provinces) and found no drug laws specific to any province -at all-. It could very well be in canada that they have decided to consolidate the drug laws into one place, the federal canadian system. I imagine this would save the US enormous amounts of money if it did this. Originally the US didn't do this because it was seen as unconstitutional, it was only in the 1960s when the US Congress decided it had the power to do so and began making possession of substances per-se illegal.



If peyote is prepared for ingestion or extracted in some way, it will likely be treated as a controlled source of mescaline, as in other countries.



There is also the possibility that individual cities or counties have drug laws, but I don't know how to answer that. I believe that Canada's drug regulations are almost entirely country-wide and individual provinces do not have their own psychoactive drug control laws. Perhaps someone who reads this and is familiar with canadian law can write in with what they know about local level drug laws or jurisdictions.



So, to try to sum up an answer to your question:



It appears that peyote is not illegal in Canada.




I'm obviously not very familiar with candian law, so it would make sense to try to check into this further if you really need to know.



take care,
earth

Asked By : kn
Answered By : earth
Published Date : 3 / 12 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 4 / 8 / 2003
Question ID : 2695

Categories: [ Peyote ] [ Law ]




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