Campaign promises about legalizing marijuana, marijuana dispensaries popping up across the country and “smoke-ins” on Parliament Hill have left many people confused about whether marijuana use is legal in Canada. While the possession of marijuana for medical purposes is legal with a prescription, the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes remains illegal. Although societal and governmental attitudes toward marijuana are shifting, the law has not kept pace. Even as the government is working toward legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use, people continue to be charged with possession offences and convictions for these offences continue to carry the potential for serious penalties, including fines and jail time. Many people do not realize that even where you receive a fine rather than jail time, you still receive a criminal record.
The consequences of a conviction for a marijuana-related offence go beyond criminal sanctions. Having such a conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from travelling to certain countries (including the US), being considered for certain jobs and applying for citizenship.
If you have been charged with marijuana possession, it is in your best interest to contact the lawyers at Hicks Adams LLP as soon as possible. Our lawyers will discuss possible defence options with you, including your eligibility for “diversion” out of the criminal justice system (also known as “alternative measures”). If you are accepted to be “diverted,” your charges will be dropped once you fulfill certain conditions, such as performing community service work or obtaining counselling. If diversion is not an option in your case, our lawyers will mount a strong defence against your charges.
Trafficking and Growing of Marijuana for Recreational Use Treated very Seriously
Even once the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is legalized, it will come with tight controls regarding who is permitted to produce and sell the drug (likely similar to those surrounding cigarettes and alcohol), and the unauthorized growing and selling of marijuana for recreational use will continue to be illegal.
Offences related to selling and growing marijuana are treated very seriously by the criminal justice system. A conviction for growing marijuana could result in a jail term of up to 14 years, and a conviction for trafficking could result in life imprisonment. Furthermore, both of these offences carry mandatory minimum jail terms that must be imposed if the offence involved certain aggravating factors. For example, a conviction for selling marijuana in association with a gang leads to 1 year in jail and a conviction for selling marijuana in or near a school leads to 2 years in jail.
Experienced Toronto Lawyers Successfully Defend against Marijuana-Related Charges
As serious consequences can accompany a conviction for a marijuana-related offence and the legislation surrounding these offences is currently in a state of flux, it is vital that anyone facing marijuana-related charges obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer.
The criminal lawyers at Hicks Adams LLP deal with marijuana-related offences on a regular basis. They have an intimate understanding of the law surrounding drug offences and ensure that they stay up-to-date with the changing legislation and latest developments related to marijuana legalization. Furthermore, as one of the largest criminal law firms in Canada, our lawyers have the resources required to launch a robust defence against marijuana-related offences.
If you have been charged with a Marijuana-Related Offence, contact our Criminal Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Our experienced Toronto criminal defence lawyers can advise you on the current state of the law in regard to marijuana-related offences and mount a fearless defence against your charges. Call us at 416-975-1700 or send us an email for a free consultation.