Sale or Supply of a Prohibited Drug


It is an offence in the ACT to sell or supply a prohibited substance or drug of dependence. The maximum penalty is a fine of 500 penalty units and/or 5 years imprisonment.

The Offence of Selling or Supplying A Prohibited Substance or Drug of Dependence

The offence of sale or supply is contained in section 164 of the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 which states that a person commits an offence if they:

  • Sell or supply a prohibited substance or drug of dependence to any person; or
  • Participate in the sale or supply of a prohibited substance or drug of dependence to any person; or
  • Possess a prohibited substance or drug of dependence for the purpose of sale or supply to any person.

The above does not apply if the person is authorised to sell or supply the prohibited substance or drug of dependence under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.

Well known examples of prohibited substances include:

  • Coca leaf;
  • DMT;
  • Heroin; and
  • MDMA (ecstasy).

Well known examples of drugs of dependence include:

  • Cocaine;
  • Methylamphetamine (meth/ice);
  • Methadone;
  • Morphine;
  • Oxycodone; and
  • Remifentanil.

This offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 500 penalty units, imprisonment for 5 years or both.

What is Sale or Supply?

The ordinary meaning of the word ‘sell’ is extended in the dictionary contained in the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 to include:

  • offer or expose for sale.

The ordinary meaning of the word ‘supply’ is extended in the dictionary contained in the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 to include:-

  • offer to supply but does not include administer.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of selling or supplying a prohibited substance or drug of dependence, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you sold or supplied a substance; and
  • That substance was a prohibited substance or drug of dependence; and
  • That you were not authorised to sell or supply the prohibited substance or drug of dependence under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.

Possible Defences for Selling or Supplying a Prohibited Substance or Drug of Dependence

The common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act; or
  • To argue that you did not sell or supply the substance; or
  • To argue that the substance was not a prohibited substance or drug of dependence; or
  • To argue that you were authorised to sell or supply the prohibited substance or drug of dependence under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

These matters may be dealt with in either the ACT Magistrates Court or the ACT Supreme Court, depending what the prosecution and/or you elect to do.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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