Criminal lawyers in Montreal had to keep up with significant changes to the criminal law in 2018.

Possession of marijuana was removed from the list of drug offences, although the illegal drug market continues to operate due to the shortage of legal supplies. It seems it will be at least a year before licensed pot producers will be able to fill the demand for legal marijuana products. Montreal criminal lawyers already deal with criminal cases arising from the illegal tobacco trade and it will be interesting to see how the illegal supply of marijuana will be controlled by the police.

Impaired driving laws were reformed as well and criminal lawyers will have to deal with more cases arising from arrests of drivers impaired by drugs other than alcohol as the technology for detecting levels of drugs continues to improve. Many criminal lawyers are troubled by the new powers given to police, particularly the right to stop drivers to check for sobriety even in the absence of any reason to suspect impairment by alcohol or drugs.

Another major change is the proposal eliminate the right of criminal lawyers to challenge potential jurors without giving a reason. This could result in juries being selected almost at random.