The Charge

It is an offence to possess any substance in schedule I, II, or III, unless you have an authorization to do so.

The most common items in those schedules are marihuana, hashish, cocaine, morphine, heroin, LSD, oxycodone, GHB, and psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”).

The term “possession” is not limited to personal physical possession. You can be found to be in possession of a substance if:

  • you knowingly put the substance in the custody or possession of someone else;
  • you are keeping the substance in a certain place for your use or the use of someone else, regardless of whether or not that place belongs to you;
  • someone else has the substance in their possession with your knowledge and consent.


If you have a prior drug conviction of any sort and are charged with possession of a controlled substance, the police and prosecutors will, in virtually all cases, ask the judge to order you be kept in jail until your trial. Let Calgary Criminal Lawyers work for you to avoid your liberty taken away while your case winds its way through the court.

The Defence

Two common situations in which people find themselves charged with this offence are:

  1. The police pull your vehicle over for a traffic violation, claim to smell a drug, and search you and your vehicle;
  2. The police arrest you for a non-drug offence and, while patting you down or searching your clothing or purse, discover alleged drugs on your person.

In both of these common scenarios, you have several rights which the police may have violated. Meet with Calgary Criminal Lawyers to review your drug possession charge. We can review all the evidence in your case, along with your description of the incident, to determine:

  • Are the police being truthful in the reason(s) they give for stopping your car in the first place?
  • Did they have sufficient grounds to stop your vehicle?
  • Did they have sufficient grounds to search your vehicle?
  • Was the original arrest that led up to the search of your person lawful?
  • Was the search carried out in unreasonable way? (e.g. excessive force or an unjustified strip search)?
  • Did they question you about whether there were any drugs or contraband on your person or your car before advising you of your right to call a lawyer?

If the police violated your rights, we will work to get you a proper remedy, including the dismissal of the charges.

The Sentence

The potential sentences aside, a conviction for this offence could have serious consequences on your ability to travel outside of Canada. Many countries, including the USA, are extremely wary of permitting convicted drug offenders through their borders. Contact Calgary Criminal Lawyers to help you. We may be able to arrange an outcome that is unlikely to restrict your ability to travel, although the decision to grant you entry to any given country is in the discretion of the individual border guard.

The range of potential sentences varies with the type and amount of drug you are caught possessing:

  • Cocaine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, GHB (“date rape” drug), opium, etc.: Up to 7 years in jail; up to three years of probation; and/or several thousand dollars of fines.
  • Marihuana over 30 grams or cannabis resin (over 1 gram): maximum of 5 years in jail; fines, and/or up to three years probation.
  • Marihuana (under 30 grams) or cannabis resin (under 1 gram): maximum of 6 months in jail, and/or probation and/ or a fine of up to $2000.

LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms): a max of 3 years incarceration, and/or fines and/or probation.