What Is The Difference Between Possession Vs. Intent To Sell Or Delivery?

Interviewer: Let’s talk about the difference between a possession charge versus an intent to deliver, distribute, or sell charge.

John Reade: The penalty will be more for a delivery of a controlled substance conviction as opposed to a possession of a controlled substance conviction. If the drug was just for personal use then the only charge is usually a possession of a controlled substance charge. A prosecutor’s determination on whether a drug was used for personal use is usually based upon the quantity (or lack thereof), and any other factors that may go along with that such as if the person said they only used the drug for personal use and did not sell it.

As far as delivery of a controlled substance charge, prosecutor’s usually make that decision based on the quantity of the drug that the person possessed, as well as the number of drugs that the person possessed. Sometimes there are multiple drugs as opposed to just one. Some other indications that they may not be using it just for personal use include an admission that they sold the drug, if there are packaging materials, or if there is a larger quantity broken down into much smaller quantities – that might be an indication that someone is selling the smaller quantities.

Sometimes drug records show a person was selling a drug – such as they wrote down something by hand or typed something on a computer – such as names of people, telephone numbers, and amounts of cash received. I would say those are some of the more important factors that a police officer and a prosecutor look at when deciding whether the person was using a drug for personal use, or selling it.

Trafficking & Manufacture

Interviewer: When they use the term trafficking drugs, what does that refer to?

John Reade: We call that “delivery of a controlled substance,” in Oregon. Basically it is selling a drug. Manufacture generally means, if it is marijuana for example, growing it. Manufacture also would mean you are creating or producing the drug, or for example manufacturing methamphetamine. Manufacturing can also be the packaging or repackaging of a drug.

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