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Criminal Trials and Appeals | Edmonton | Vancouver

Drug Offences


Dealing with a Drug Offence? Sprake Song & Konye Can Help.

If you’re facing drug charges, you need to contact a knowledgeable lawyer today. The criminal record you’ll carry with you if convicted could impact your ability to travel and gain future employment, as well as land you a lengthy prison sentence for more serious drug offences.

We’ll detail some drug offences included in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) below. Drug law is complex and many offences are now subject to mandatory minimum sentences, so we encourage those facing charges to contact Sprake Song & Konye immediately for proper legal advice.

Types of Controlled Substances

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act specifies different penalties depending on the “Schedule” a particular drug is classified under. The following are the more commonly known drugs that form the basis of charges:

Schedule I Substances

  • Cocaine and Cocaine Base (Crack Cocaine)
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone

Schedule II Substances

  • Marijuana
  • Cannabis resin

Schedule III Substances

  • Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)
  • Mescaline

Schedule IV Substances

The following substances, their salts, and derivates:

  • Anabolic Steroids

Types of Drug Offences

There are several main types of drug offences: Simple Possession, Trafficking, Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking, Importation and Exportation of Controlled Substances, and Production of Controlled Substances.

More serious drug-related offences include Conspiracy to Traffic and trafficking for the benefit of or in association with a Criminal Organization.

Penalties vary depending on the type of offence, Schedule of the controlled substance, and severity of the offence. Let’s look at these types of drug offences in more detail.

Simple Possession

As defined by Section 4 of the CDSA, Simple Possession is an offence where the individual is found in possession of a low quantity of a Schedule I, II, or III Substance, for “personal use.” To prove an individual committed this offence, the Crown must show that the accused had knowledge and control of the drug.

Some first-time offenders may have the option of participating in the Alternative Measures Program, in which they avoid receiving a criminal record by participating in community service, drug counseling, drug treatment, or a combination of the above.

Depending the Schedule of the substance, the number of previous offences, and whether the Crown chooses to proceed Summarily or by Indictment, the penalties range from a conditional discharge to a lengthy term of imprisonment in a penitentiary.


Drug trafficking, defined in Section 5 of the CDSA, is the delivery of a drug from an individual to another. It doesn’t need to be for the purpose of financial gain or drug promotion, but simply the transfer of a controlled substance between two people.

This may include asking a friend to hold on to drugs, offering to sell to an officer, or selling a substance as a drug (even if it isn’t).

Depending on the schedule of the substance and whether the Crown chooses to proceed Summarily or by Indictment, penalties for trafficking cover a broad range, the most serious of which can attract a term of imprisonment for life.

Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking

This type of drug offence (also defined in Section 5 of the CDSA) includes possessing a drug with the intent to make it available to others. This type of offence might include transporting drugs to another location, assisting a trafficker by hiding drugs from police, or even being found in a vehicle with another passenger possessing drugs.

The penalties for Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking are the same as the penalties for Trafficking.

Production of Substances

According to Section 7 of the CDSA, Production of Substances is the manufacture and cultivation of a controlled substance.

Cultivation of marijuana begins with seeds or clones and continues until the plants reach maturity. Marijuana grow operations (grow-ops) are investigated by police through conventional and technological surveillance. These techniques include obtaining production orders for residential power consumption, installing DRA devices to measure power consumption patterns, and deploying FLIR devices to detect heat emanations in the infrared spectrum.

This offence now carries a mandatory minimum sentence which increases with the presence of a number of aggravating factors, such as endangering public health or using property belonging to a third party.

Converting powder cocaine to crack cocaine can also form the basis for a charge of production under Section 7 of the CDSA.

The minimum sentences for this offence can start at 6 months’ imprisonment, and aggravating factors can increase the sentence, to a maximum of life imprisonment.

Conspiracy and Participating in a Criminal Organization

Conspiring to commit an offence with other individuals involves agreeing to a plan to commit the offence and forming the intent to carry out the plan. You can be found guilty of conspiring to commit an offence even if the underlying offence was never committed or completed.

Committing drug offences for the benefit of or in association with a criminal organization (organized crime) will attract an additional consecutive sentence to any other sentence passed by the court. The Crown must prove that the criminal organization is comprised of three persons or more and has as one of its main purposes the commission of one or more serious offences that would likely benefit the group.

Investigations leading up to these types of charges often involve resource intensive police investigations, which include investigative techniques such as the interception of private communications (wiretap interceptions), video surveillance and probes, vehicle tracking devices, digital number recorders, production orders, and covert entry search warrants.

Obtain Sound Legal Counsel Immediately

If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, contact Sprake Song & Konye today. Being found guilty of even simple possession of a controlled substance can have irreparable consequences over your future livelihood.