In widespread use since at least the 1980’s and associated with the ‘rave’ culture, ecstasy is also known as MDMA, E, XTC, X, Dove, and the Love Drug. Ecstasy is generally sold in tablets or capsule that vary in shape, size, colour, and the amount of the drug that it contains. It is sometimes ‘cut’ with methamphetamine in order to be more addictive and hazardous to the user’s health, but can also be laced with other drugs, such as LSD or PCP, or might contain NO ecstasy at all.
Ecstasy is listed as a Schedule I substance in Canada, the most serious category of drugs. While the supply of ecstasy in Canada was initially mostly imported, it is increasingly produced locally by organized crime, including for trafficking and export.
Offences involving possession face the lowest potential penalties. It is the only hybrid offence, meaning that the Crown Attorney has an option on how they wish to proceed. On summary conviction, the penalty is a $1,000 fine and/or up to 6 months imprisonment for a first offence, or a $2,000 fine and/or up to one year imprisonment for each subsequent conviction. The maximum penalty is up to 7 years imprisonment if the Crown chooses to proceed as an indictable offence.
The remaining types of charges are all indictable offences which carry a maximum of life imprisonment. Trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking face a minimum one year sentence, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If charged with the import or export of ecstasy, the minimum sentence can be either one or two years, and depends on the amount of ecstasy involved. The production of ecstasy faces a minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment. However, if certain aggravating factors are present, the minimum sentence increases to 3 years. The maximum sentence for production of heroin is life imprisonment.