What is The Cannabis Act and How Do Charges Under The Act Work?

Firstly, as an experienced lawyer my first job is to determine whether there is any chance of having your charges The Cannabis Act governs the purchase, possession, consumption and distribution of marijuana in Canada. In general, it is legal for an adult over the age of 19 to purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana from an authorized government dealer. The Cannabis Act does place limitations on the purchase and use of marijuana. For example, the marijuana must be purchased from an authorized government dealer. One is only permitted to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana. Further, one is permitted to grow up to four marijuana plants per household. Finally, you may share up to 30 grams of marijuana with other adults.

There are activities related to marijuana use and sale that may result in criminal charges or penalties under the Cannabis Act. The sale of marijuana is against the law unless distributed through an authorized government dealer. The sale of marijuana to minors is prohibited. The use of marijuana while operating a vehicle is a criminal offence. Finally, the use of marijuana in public places, schools and workplaces is prohibited.

Minor offences committed under the Cannabis Act will not necessarily result in a criminal prosecution. In minor cases a police officer can issue a ticket resulting in a $200 fine and no criminal record will result. Hence, if someone is found with between 30-50 grams of marijuana or they possess 5-6 plants then a ticket is usually issued by a police officer.

However, as will be discussed, criminal charges may be laid by a police officer under the Cannabis Act and a judge can sentence offenders to jail time.

What Are The Defences to Charges Under The Cannabis Act?

There are a number of defences to offences prosecuted under the Cannabis Act. If a police officer illegally searches a suspect then the evidence may not be admissible in court. For example, a police officer cannot search a suspect unless they have reasonable and probable grounds to conduct a search. In such a case, an application can be made to have a judge rule the marijuana as inadmissible and the criminal case can be dismissed. Another available defence is that a person cannot be prosecuted under the Cannabis Act while suffering from, or attending to, a medical emergency.

A further defence is for those who have a medical exemption. In these cases, a person may possess more than four marijuana plants under the Cannabis Act. Finally, a suspect cannot be charged or convicted under the Cannabis Act while suffering from, or attending to, a medical emergency. In some cases, police will charge a person for possession for the purpose of trafficking. This charge is typically prosecuted where the marijuana was packaged in such a way that the person appeared to be trafficking instead of using the marijuana personally. In such cases, it can be argued that the police lacked sufficient evidence of trafficking.

At Neaman & Company we have substantial experience in dealing with charges under the Cannabis Act. Call Noah Neaman at 778-881-1785 for a free consultation to discuss any of the above noted matters.


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