This legislation, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), is Canada wide and applies in every province and city. The CDSA includes all minor and major drug charges or offences, including simple possession, trafficking in a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and production of drugs.
Simple possession is the least serious drug offence and can include having only a single joint of marijuana. Despite seeming minor, a conviction for possessing a small amount of marijuana can still lead to a criminal record and prevent your entry into the United States. The United States takes a very strict approach on entry of individuals with criminal records for any and all forms of drug offences. It can be near impossible to travel to the USA if you are found guilty.
Trafficking in drugs can include a number of activities, it is not simply a manner of selling drugs on the streets. You can be found guilty even if you are not directly involved. This means you may be guilty if you are providing the money, if you ask a friend to hold the drugs for you, or if you are doing your friend a â€śfavourâ€ť by helping them get drugs. Likewise, possession for the purpose of trafficking means the police do not need to see you sell drugs. Instead conclusions are drawn based on your behavior, quantity of drugs, and other evidence they find including cellphones, baggies, scales and money.
If you are found guilty of trafficking or possession for the purpose trafficking there is a strong possibility that you will be incarcerated. In 2013 the Canadian government restricted the availability of a conditional sentence order (house arrest) and these are, essentially, no longer available for drug offences of this nature.
There are many ways to fight drug charges, the most common being that the police illegally searched a person, place or vehicle in order to locate drugs. It is also possible that the Crown cannot prove possession of the drugs, that is, they cannot show who owned or controlled them. The latter is most common in instances where there are multiple people are facing one drug charge. Both of these arguments have continued to be successful in the courts.
You would be well advised to consult with one of our lawyers if facing a drug offence.