Possession charges result in circumstances where the accused has the drug on their person, they have it stored elsewhere, or have knowingly asked another person to safeguard the drug. Knowledge and control of consent are key, as seen in the three possession types outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada and summarized below:
- a) Personal/actual possession, which requires the accused have knowledge that the substance is a drug and physical custody of it;
- b) Constructive possession, which requires the accused have knowledge of the drug, control over its location, and intent/consent to possess the item; and
- c) Joint possession (involving multiple individuals), which requires knowledge of the drug, some control over its location, and consent to possess the item.
An example where the accused passenger of a vehicle could be deemed not to have knowledge, control and intention to possess is a situation where drug packets are found by an officer inside the glove compartment of the car. The accused passenger traveling within the car may be found not guilty of possession as there may be a doubt about whether he/she had knowledge of, or control over, the vehicle and the controlled substance.