A Saskatchewan woman accused of trying to sell a police officer a bag of powder will have to stand trial for cocaine trafficking even though the substance was not an illicit drug, the province's appeal court rules.

The case concerns Roxanne Nicole Crain who allegedly offered an off-duty police officer a "spitball" presumably containing cocaine.

A spitball is drug parlance for a small corner of a sandwich bag that is tied off.

According to the court decision, released this week to an online legal database, Crain approached the officer on the street in Prince Albert.

"Ms. Crain approached [the officer] and asked if he knew anyone who was looking for some 'coke'," the court said. The officer said yes.

"She replied that she had coke and weed, and that the coke was '$100 for a half'," the court noted.

The officer noticed some Prince Albert police were nearby and, as he and Crain walked by them, he was able to get them to arrest the woman.

Powder tests negative for cocaine

She was found to have six spitballs on her, each containing about one-half of a gram of a white powder.

However, when police tested the powder, they discovered it was not cocaine.

The judgment did not identify what was in the bags.

When the case went to trial, the charge was dismissed because Crain was charged with trafficking cocaine, and she had none.

However, the court of appeal said that didn't matter, because the criminal code talks about trafficking in a controlled substance, such as cocaine, or in a substance "represented or held out to be" cocaine.

"If the Crown can prove both that the accused said, 'Do you want to buy cocaine?' and intended the offer to be taken as genuine, then the offence of trafficking in cocaine is made out," the court said.

A new trial was ordered.