The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act outlines which drugs are illegal (such as cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl) and the types of offences, while the Cannabis Act deals with the regulations of marijuana and different types of offending behaviour. There are four main offences: possession, possession for the purpose, trafficking, and importing.
A possession charge means you are found with drugs that is consistent with personal use. If it is your first time facing a possession charge (such as under 30 grams of marijuana), you may be eligible for a diversion program.
Possession for the purpose means that you are in possession of an unlawful substance for the purpose of trafficking. This usually means you are in possession of a large amount of an illegal substance which is inconsistent with personal use (i.e. you intend to sell the drugs). While trafficking means you sold drugs to someone or in many cases an undercover officer. Importation is when you enter Canada in possession of an illegal substance.
Many people ask the question “how do I beat my drug charge?” when charged with a drug offence.
To be found guilty, the Crown must prove your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown must always prove the nature of the substance and possession of the substance. To prove possession, the Crown must show that you had knowledge and control of the substance. When charged with possession of the purpose, the Crown must also prove that the possession was for the purpose of trafficking.
Even if the Crown proves the necessary elements of the offence, you can still win your case by invoking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many drug cases involve ss. 8 (unlawful search), 9 (arbitrary detention), and 10(b) (right to counsel) issues. If your Charter Rights are breached, the drugs seized during a search may be excluded, or the search warrant quashed.