You may be familiar with the idea of drug trafficking from popular television shows like The Wire and Breaking Bad, but what does Canadian law consider drug trafficking?

Drug trafficking is not only the sale of drugs for a profit, but any kind of sharing. Section 2(1) of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act defines trafficking as:

(a) to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver the substance,

(b) to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or

(c) to offer to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b)

You may be convicted of drug trafficking for sharing a joint with someone at a party.

In R v Creighton, [1993] 3 SCR 3, the Supreme Court of Canada consider a case in which an accused consensually injected cocaine into the forearm of his friend. She experienced a cardiac arrest and later asphyxiated on the contents of her stomach. It was held that by injecting his friend he had committed the unlawful act of trafficking which cause her death. He was found guilty of manslaughter.

Illegal drugs in Canada include marijuana, hashish, hash oil, crack, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, ecstasy, ice, speed, fentanyl, LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and anabolic steroids. Drug trafficking convictions outside of exceptional circumstances typically carry long custodial sentences.

The penalties for drug trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act are:

“Hard Drugs” – includes opium, opiods, cocaine, amphetamines, meth, ketamone, ecstasy
– Maximum life sentence.
– In certain circumstances a minimum sentence of 1 or 2 years jail.

Cannabis marijuana and resin
– If over 3 kgs, maximum sentence of life.
– If over 3 kgs, in certain circumstances a minimum sentence of 1 or 2 years jail.
– If under 3 kgs, maximum sentence of 5 years jail.

Hallucinogens – includes LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline
– Maximum sentence of 10 years jail.

Pharmaceuticals – including barbiturates, benzodiazepines, diazepam, alprazolam, temazepam and anabolic steroids
– Maximum sentence of 3 years jail.

In addition to the charges of trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking, are charges for importing, exporting, and production. These offences also carry potentially long jail sentences, some have mandatory minimums and others have minimums depending on the circumstances of the offence.

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be given by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion.