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Manufacturing Controlled Drug For Selling

Manufacturing a controlled drug for selling is a criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 1500 penalty units and a maximum of life imprisonment if commercial quantities are involved. This offence is governed by Sections 607 and 608 of the Criminal Code 2002.

What Is Manufacturing A Controlled Drug For Selling?

A person commits this offence if they cook, prepare, produce or manufacture illegal drugs, or if they participate in any part of cooking, preparing, producing or manufacturing illegal drugs. For example, a person could be found guilty because they held ingredients for a friend who was cooking drugs to sell.

A person can be found guilty of manufacturing a controlled drug for selling if they manufacture a large quantity of a controlled drug with the intention to sell it or with the belief that someone else would sell it.

The prosecution may find a defendant guilty of manufacturing a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug if it can prove that the accused intended to sell the drug after it was manufactured.

What Is Manufacturing a Controlled Drug?

This is defined as the process by which a new substance is produced (excluding the cultivation of a plant) and includes extracting or refining it, or modifying it into another substance.

A person manufactures a substance if they:

  • engage in its production;
  • control the direction of its manufacture for example they ask someone else to take certain steps;
  • provide the financial support for its manufacture.

What Actions Might Constitute This Offence?

The following actions can be found to amount to an offence:

  • cooking Ice in a caravan;
  • going to your friend’s house and helping him or her out by operating the pill press;
  • buying pseudoephedrine and mixing it with other ingredients to make MDMA;
  • going online, finding a recipe or home kit to make your own Ecstasy and making it at home; or
  • taking a cash in hand job to assist a person making heroin out of a makeshift drug lab in the middle of the bush.

What The Police Must Prove

To be convicted of this offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  • manufactured or produced a controlled drug;
  • were aware of, and participated in the manufacture or production of the drug; AND
  • that the substance you manufactured, produced or helped manufacture or produce was a controlled drug; AND
  • that you planned to sell it or knew someone else planned to sell it.
  • that the quantity alleged (large commercial, commercial or trafficable) met the standard for the particular drug as listed in Schedule 1 to the Criminal Code Regulation.

Possible Defences To Manufacturing A Controlled Drug For Selling

Defences include:

  • that you were acting under duress;
  • to argue that you did not manufacture or produce a controlled drug or that you did not take part in manufacturing or producing a controlled drug (factual defence);
  • to argue that you did not do so knowingly;
  • that the substance manufactured or produced was not a controlled drug; or
  • that you had no intention to sell the drug and did know know that someone else intended to;
  • that the quantity of the drug involved is not enough to satisfy the charge laid (i.e. it is not the large commercial, commercial or trafficable quantity alleged).

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This offence carries 15 years imprisonment, 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment (depending on the quantity involved). The matter is strictly indictable, meaning it will be decided in the ACT Supreme Court.


In the ACT, you could be sentenced to one or more of the following penalties for this charge.

If you require legal advice about manufacturing a controlled drug or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Andrew Fraser - Managing Associate - Canberra

This article was written by Andrew Fraser - Managing Associate - Canberra

Andrew works in the areas of criminal law and traffic law, providing practical advice in all of his clients’ matters. Andrew has, over many years, developed positive working relationships with prosecutors, magistrates and judges. His no-nonsense approach means he has a reputation for putting forward the best case possible for clients. Andrew has won many matters for his clients, including...

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