Cannabis-related Offences (Offence)

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Overview

See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.

Offence Wording

DIVISION 1
Criminal Activities
Possession

8 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited

(a) for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to possess, in a public place, cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, is equivalent to more than 30 g of dried cannabis;
(b) for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to possess any cannabis that they know is illicit cannabis;
(c) for a young person to possess cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, is equivalent to more than 5 g of dried cannabis;
(d) for an individual to possess, in a public place, one or more cannabis plants that are budding or flowering;
(e) for an individual to possess more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering; or
(f) for an organization to possess cannabis.
Punishment

(2) Subject to section 51, every person that contravenes subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual who is 18 years of age or older, to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years less a day,
(ii) in the case of a young person, to a youth sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or
(iii) in the case of an organization, to a fine in an amount that is in the discretion of the court; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual who is 18 years of age or older, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both,
(ii) in the case of a young person, to a youth sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or
(iii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

CA

Draft Form of Charges

See also: Draft Form of Charges
Pre-ambles
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, between the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR> and <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>***, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, on or about the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"AND FURTHER at the same time and place aforesaid, he [or she]..."
Code Section Subject of Offence Draft Wording
"..., contrary to section XX of the Cannabis Act.

Proof of the Offence

Interpretation of the Offence

Definition of medical emergency

8.1 (1) For the purposes of this section, medical emergency means a physiological event induced by the introduction of a psychoactive substance into the body of a person that results in a life-threatening situation and in respect of which there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person requires emergency medical or law enforcement assistance.

Exemption — medical emergency

(2) No person who seeks emergency medical or law enforcement assistance because that person, or another person, is suffering from a medical emergency is to be charged or convicted of an offence under subsection 8(1) if the evidence in support of that offence was obtained or discovered as a result of that person having sought assist­ance or having remained at the scene.

Exemption — persons at the scene

(3) The exemption under subsection (2) also applies to any person, including the person suffering from the medical emergency, who is at the scene on the arrival of the emergency medical or law enforcement assistance.

Exemption — evidence

(4) No person who seeks emergency medical or law enforcement assistance because that person, or another person, is suffering from a medical emergency, or who is at the scene on the arrival of the assistance, is to be charged with an offence concerning a violation of any condition of a pre-trial release or probation order relating to an offence under subsection 8(1) if the evidence in support of that offence was obtained or discovered as a result of that person having sought assistance or having remained at the scene.

Deeming

(5) Any condition of a person’s pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole relating to an offence under subsection 8(1) that may be violated as a result of the person seeking emergency medical or law enforcement assistance for their, or another person’s, medical emergency, or as a result of having been at the scene on the arrival of the assistance, is deemed not to be violated.

CA


Offence Wording

Distribution

9 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited

(a) for an individual who is 18 years of age or older
(i) to distribute cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which is equivalent, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, to more than 30 g of dried cannabis,
(ii) to distribute cannabis to an individual who is under 18 years of age,
(iii) to distribute cannabis to an organization, or
(iv) to distribute cannabis that they know is illicit cannabis;
(b) for a young person
(i) to distribute cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which is equivalent, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, to more than 5 g of dried cannabis,
(ii) to distribute cannabis to an organization;
(c) for an individual
(i) to distribute one or more cannabis plants that are budding or flowering, or
(ii) to distribute more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering; or
(d) for an organization to distribute cannabis.
Possession for purpose of distributing

(2) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to possess cannabis for the purpose of distributing it contrary to subsection (1).

Defence — subparagraph (1)(a)(ii)

(3) It is not a defence to a charge arising out of the contravention of subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) that the accused believed that the individual referred to in that subparagraph was 18 years of age or older, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the individual’s age.

Defence — subsection (2)

(4) It is not a defence to a charge arising out of the contravention of subsection (2) of possessing cannabis for the purpose of distributing it to an individual referred to in subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) that the accused believed that the individual was 18 years of age or older, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the individual’s age.

Punishment

(5) Subject to section 51, every person that contravenes subsection (1) or (2)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual who is 18 years of age or older, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years,
(ii) in the case of a young person, to a youth sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or
(iii) in the case of an organization, to a fine in an amount that is in the discretion of the court; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual who is 18 years of age or older who contravenes any of subparagraphs (1)(a)(i), (iii) and (iv) and (c)(i) and (ii) — or subsection (2) other than by possessing cannabis for the purpose of distributing it contrary to subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) — to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both,
(ii) in the case of an individual who is 18 years of age or older who contravenes subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) — or subsection (2) if the possession was for the purpose of distribution contrary to subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) — to a fine of not more than $15,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months, or to both,
(iii) in the case of a young person, to a youth sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or
(iv) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

CA

Selling

10 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to sell cannabis, or any substance represented or held out to be cannabis, to

(a) an individual who is 18 years of age or older;
(b) an individual who is under 18 years of age; or
(c) an organization.
Possession for purpose of selling

(2) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to possess cannabis for the purpose of selling it contrary to any of paragraphs (1)(a) to (c).

Defence — paragraph (1)(b)

(3) It is not a defence to a charge arising out of the contravention of paragraph (1)(b) that the accused believed that the individual referred to in that paragraph was 18 years of age or older, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the individual’s age.

Defence — subsection (2)

(4) It is not a defence to a charge arising out of the contravention of subsection (2) of possessing cannabis for the purpose of selling it contrary to paragraph (1)(b) that the accused believed that the individual referred to in that paragraph was 18 years of age or older, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the individual’s age.

Punishment

(5) Subject to section 51, every person that contravenes any of paragraphs (1)(a) to (c) or subsection (2)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual who contravenes paragraph (1)(a) or (c) — or subsection (2) other than by possessing cannabis for the purpose of selling it contrary to paragraph (1)(b) — to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both,
(ii) in the case of an individual who contravenes paragraph (1)(b) — or subsection (2) if the possession was for the purpose of selling contrary to paragraph (1)(b) — to a fine of not more than $15,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months, or to both, or
(iii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

CA

Importing and exporting

11 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, the importation or exportation of cannabis is prohibited.

Possession for purpose of exporting

(2) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to possess cannabis for the purpose of exporting it.

Punishment

(3) Every person that contravenes subsection (1) or (2)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable

(i) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, or

(ii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $300,000.

CA


Offence Wording

Production

12 (1) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited

(a) to obtain or offer to obtain cannabis by any method or process, including by manufacturing, by synthesis or by using any means of altering the chemical or physical properties of cannabis; or
(b) to alter or offer to alter the chemical or physical properties of cannabis by the use of an organic solvent.
Authorized alteration

(2) An individual may alter the chemical or physical properties of any cannabis that they are not prohibited by this Act from possessing.

Definition of organic solvent

(3) In paragraph (1)(b), organic solvent means any organic compound that is explosive or highly or extremely flammable, including petroleum naphtha and compressed liquid hydrocarbons such as butane, isobutane, propane and propylene.

Cultivation, propagation and harvesting — 18 years of age or older

(4) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to cultivate, propagate or harvest, or to offer to cultivate, propagate or harvest,

(a) a cannabis plant that is from a seed or plant material that they know is illicit cannabis; or
(b) more than four cannabis plants at any one time in their dwelling-house.
Cultivation, propagation and harvesting — dwelling-house limit

(5) Unless authorized under this Act, if two or more individuals who are 18 years of age or older are ordinarily resident in the same dwelling-house, it is prohibited for any of those individuals to cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis plants if doing so results in there being more than four such plants being cultivated, propagated or harvested at any one time in the dwelling-house.

Cultivation, propagation and harvesting — 18 years of age or older — without authorization

(6) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older

(a) to cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis plant at a place that is not their dwelling-house or to offer to do so; or
(b) to cultivate, propagate or harvest any living thing, other than a cannabis plant, from which cannabis may be extracted or otherwise obtained, or to offer to do so.
Cultivation, propagation and harvesting — young persons and organizations

(7) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for a young person or an organization to cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis plant or any other living thing from which cannabis may be extracted or otherwise obtained, or to offer to do any of those things.

Definition of dwelling-house

(8) For the purposes of this section, dwelling-house, in respect of an individual, means the dwelling-house where the individual is ordinarily resident and includes

(a) any land that is subjacent to it and the immediately contiguous land that is attributable to it, including a yard, garden or any similar land; and
(b) any building or structure on any land referred to in paragraph (a).
Punishment

(9) Subject to section 51, every individual who is 18 years of age or older who contravenes any of subsections (1), (4), (5) and (6) or any organization that contravenes subsection (1) or (7)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than 14 years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, or
(ii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.
Punishment — young person

(10) Every young person who contravenes subsection (1) or (7) is guilty of an indictable offence, or an offence punishable on summary conviction, and is liable to a youth sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Possession, etc., for use in production or distribution of illicit cannabis

13 (1) It is prohibited to possess, produce, sell, distribute or import anything with the intention that it will be used to produce, sell or distribute illicit cannabis.

Punishment

(2) Every person that contravenes subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, or
(ii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

CA


Offence Wording

Use of young person

14 (1) It is prohibited to use the services of, or to involve, a young person in the commission of an offence under subsection 9(1) or (2), 10(1) or (2), 11(1) or (2), 12(1), (4), (5), (6) or (7) or 13(1).

Punishment

(2) Every person that contravenes subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(i) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $15,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months, or to both, or
(ii) in the case of an organization, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

CA

Sentencing

15 (1) Without restricting the generality of the Criminal Code, the fundamental purpose of any sentence for an offence under this Division is to contribute to the respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society while encouraging rehabilitation, and treatment in appropriate circumstances, of offenders and acknowledging the harm done to victims and to the community.

Factors to take into consideration

(2) If an individual is convicted of a designated offence, the court imposing sentence on the individual must consider any relevant aggravating factors, including that the individual

(a) in relation to the commission of the offence,
(i) carried, used or threatened to use a weapon,
(ii) used or threatened to use violence, or
(iii) sold or distributed cannabis or possessed it for the purpose of sale or distribution, in or near a school, on or near school grounds or in or near any other public place usually frequented by young persons; and
(b) was previously convicted of a designated offence, as defined in subsection 2(1) of this Act, or a designated substance offence, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Reasons

(3) If, in the case of an individual who is convicted of a designated offence, the court is satisfied of the existence of one or more of the aggravating factors enumerated in paragraphs (2)(a) and (b), but decides not to sentence the individual to imprisonment, the court must give reasons for that decision.

Drug treatment court program

(4) A court sentencing an individual who is convicted of an offence under this Division may delay sentencing to enable the individual

(a) to participate in a drug treatment court program approved by the Attorney General; or
(b) to attend a treatment program under subsection 720(2) of the Criminal Code.

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