Heroin is a controlled substance in the United States, the United Kingdom and in Canada.
Heroin Legality in the United States
Heroin is a Schedule 1 drug under the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act. It shares this classification with mescaline, marijuana, peyote (magic mushrooms) and morphine.
A Schedule 1 designation indicates that the drug or substance has:
- A high potential for abuse.
- No accepted medical use in the United States.
- No accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
It is a criminal offense to possess, distribute or manufacture heroin in the United States. The penalties the court will impose depend on the amount of the drug involved.
- A person who is convicted of possessing, distributing or manufacturing one kilogram or more of heroin will be facing a penalty of 10 years to life in prison.
- Where manufacturing or distributing the drug is responsible for a serious injury or death, the penalty increases to 20 years to life. Along with the jail term, a fine of up to $4 million for an individual and $10 million in a case where the defendant is not an individual.
- Possession of 100 grams or more of smack carries a penalty of between five and 40 years in prison.
- In a case where death or serious injury is connected to the crime, the defendant is looking at between the defendant may be sentenced to 20 years to life behind bars. The fine that may be imposed may be up to $2 million for an individual and $5 million for a defendant who is an entity other than an individual.
Legality of Smack in the United Kingdom
In the UK, smack is covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This law was passed to ban the use of controlled substances for non-medical purposes. Under the statue, police have the power to apprehend, search and detain people on a reasonable suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.
Heroin is considered a Schedule A drug under the Act. This is the most serious classification. Offenses under the Misuse of Drugs Act that involve Schedule A drugs include the following:
- Possession of the controlled substance.
- Possession with the intention of supplying the drug to another person.
- Producing or manufacturing a controlled substance.
- Supplying drugs to another individual.
- Offering to supply drugs to another individual.
- Importing or exporting controlled substances.
- Allowing property you own or occupy to be used to produce or supply any controlled substance.
A conviction for possession of a controlled drug carries a penalty of seven years in prison and an unlimited fine. Individuals convicted of supplying drugs may be sent to prison for life, as well as be subject to an unlimited fine.
Legality of Dope in Canada
Under Canadian law, controlled substances are regulated by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Heroin is considered a Schedule I drug, along with morphine, codeine, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Possession of heroin is a criminal offense. The charge may be dealt with as a summary offense, which is considered less serious and carries a lesser penalty, or an indictable offense.
- A summary conviction for possession of heroin carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- A subsequent conviction means the penalties double to up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
- If the matter is designated as an indictable offense, the penalty is up to seven years imprisonment.
Trafficking is treated as a serious criminal offense under the Act. The penalty for this indictable offense is life in prison. The same penalty applies on conviction for importing or exporting a Schedule I drug.