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Newfoundland youths charged under new cannabis laws

Two St. Anthony teens ticketed for unsealed possession in a vehicle


Two St. Anthony youths found out the hard way that even though marijuana is now legal in Canada, there are still consequences associated with possessing it under some circumstances.

According to a press release, on Oct. 27, members of the St. Anthony RCMP detachment initiated a traffic stop due to suspicious activity around a parked vehicle. In the resulting investigation, police discovered trace amounts of cocaine and an undisclosed quantity of marijuana in the passenger area of the vehicle. They charged two 17-year-olds with possessing unsealed cannabis and possession of cannabis under 19 years of age.

The teens cannot be named because they are under 18.

Const. Mark Grundy told The Northern Pen it was the first time he and his partner, Const. Shane MacIver, had charged someone under the new Cannabis Control Act. He said the youths were issued tickets and released.

Under the new laws, cannabis must be in its original sealed package if it is in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, much like open container laws for alcohol. Otherwise, it must be in the trunk.

In this case, the cannabis was not from a legal source, he said, and, in any event, the possessors were underage.

The standard fine for underage possession is $100.

Unsealed possession in a vehicle carries a penalty of $300 to $10,000, or two to seven days in prison if the fine goes unpaid.

Grundy said it is hard to say how the Act will be applied by judges, but figured illicit product will almost certainly be considered an aggravating circumstance in assessing fine amounts.

“The RCMP reminds the public that cannabis is not allowed to be readily available in the passenger area of a vehicle,” he said. “And obviously, you can’t consume it in a vehicle.”

There is also a separate charge available to police for anyone possessing illegally-obtained marijuana, but the two youths were not charged with that.

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