Can I be Charged with a Drug Offence for Marijuana?
The Canadian government legalized and regulated access to cannabis on October 17, 2018. This meant that under federal legislation, adults could possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis and could grow up to four cannabis plants per household. This change also regulated the age for purchasing (18 years of age), however, each province has the authority to change the age requirement. An important distinction here is that the licensed production of cannabis is controlled by the federal government, but the sale and distribution is controlled by the provincial government.
Despite the legalization/regulation of marijuana, an individual can still be charged with a drug offence for marijuana. Under section 8 of the Cannabis Act, it is prohibited for an individual to possess more than 30 grams of dried cannabis or cannabis that they know is illicit. It is also prohibited for an organization to possess cannabis. The punishment for this, under section 8(2) is being guilty of an indictable offence with imprisonment for a term of not more than five years less a day (if over the age of 18). Youth are sentenced under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
What Quantity of Drugs must an Accused have to be Charged with Trafficking?
Under the Act “traffic” means to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver the substance, (b) to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or (c) to offer to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b). As noted above, trafficking of substances listed in Schedules I to V is prohibited, and punishable as an indictable offence with liability of imprisonment for life.
Once an individual is charged with a trafficking offence, the quantity of drugs may become an aggravating factor in the case. The larger the quantity of drugs, the more aggravating it will be.