Practice Areas: Drug Offences

Drug offences include a wide range of charges for substances listed under Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act (the “CDSA”), including possession, trafficking, importation, and exportation.

Drugs prohibited under the CDSA are divided amongst include: cocaine, heroin, ketamine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, barbiturates, anabolic steroids, morphine, and codeine, and many others.

In short, yes – the Federal government legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis in 2018, which significantly changed the landscape of drug offences in Canada. However, there are still restrictions in place on the possession of illegal cannabis, or possession over a certain number of plants, for which criminal charges may apply. 

Drug offences are not always straightforward. For example, a person can be charged with possession even if the substances are not physically on them provided they have knowledge of and control over the substances.

The penalties for drug offence charges can vary by the substance, the amount involved, and the nature of the offence. Possession of small amounts of a substance for personal use with no criminal history will carry a much lighter penalty than possession of large amounts for the purposes of trafficking, which will almost certainly lead to incarceration.

Like many criminal charges, the prosecution for drug offences relies heavily on police evidence. Possession, or evidence of trafficking or intent to traffic, is usually determined by a police search. The right lawyer will review all of the prosecution’s evidence in order to present your case favourably, and will make every effort to reduce the charges and resulting penalties.