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Offences Involving Cannabis

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

10 Practical tips for representing yourself in a drugs charge

This section includes maximum penalties and sentencing statistics for offences involving cannabis. It will also cover the likely penalties for the more common first drug offences.

Other popular street terms for Cannabis, or Marijuana, are Weed, Pot, Grass, Dope, Buds, Mary Jane, Joint, Chronic, Buddha Sticks, Doobie, Hooch, Yarhndi.

SELF ADMINISTRATION OF CANNABIS:

Cannabis is a prohibited drug.

According to section 12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, it is an offence to administer or attempt to administer a prohibited drug to yourself.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice (CAN) that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
3151 Self administer/attempt self administer prohibited drug

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of a use of prohibited drugs charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The substance is Cannabis; and
  • You administered Cannabis to yourself; or
  • You attempted to administer Cannabis to yourself

Self-administering includes any means of introducing Cannabis into your body – for example, the ingestion, injection and inhalation of a drug, the smoking of a drug, the inhalation of fumes caused by the heating or burning of a drug.

ADMINISTRATION OF CANNABIS TO OTHERS

According to section 13 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, it is an offence to administer or attempt to administer Cannabis to another person.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice (CAN) that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
3152 Administer/attempt administer prohibited drug to another

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of this charge, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The substance is Cannabis; and
  • You administered the Cannabis to another person; or
  • You attempted to administer the Cannabis to another person

Administering / attempt to administer includes any means of introducing Cannabis into another person's body, for example, providing someone with hash cookies.

POSSESSION OF CANNABIS:

Cannabis is a prohibited drug.

According to section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, it is an offence to possess a prohibited drug.

The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 20 penalty units and/or 2 years imprisonment.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the Local Court.

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
3145 Possess Prohibited Drug

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of this charge, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You had Cannabis in your possession, and
  • You knew it was in your possession, or knew of its likely existence and nature, or you believed that it was Cannabis.

WHAT IS DEEMED SUPPLY?

If you are in possession of a traffickable quantity of Cannabis, it is presumed that you possess the Cannabis for the purposes of supply, unless you can prove that it was only for personal use.

SUPPLY OF CANNABIS:

Cannabis is a prohibited drug. The maximum penalty for the charge of suppling of prohibited drug (Section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act) depends on the quantity of the drug, and can range from a fine of 2000 penalty units and/or 10 years imprisonment, to a fine of 5000 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.

According to section 25 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, it is an offence to supply a prohibited drug.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER

Where the amount of Cannabis exceeds the commercial quantity (25kg), this matter is strictly indictable which means that it can only be finalised in the District Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis does not exceed the commercial quantity (25kg) but is more than the indictable quantity, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis does not exceed the indictable quantity but is more than the small quantity (30g), this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis does not exceed the small quantity (30g), this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT DRUG QUANTITIES?

The amount of Cannabis you supplied will also affect the penalty you receive. The quantities for Cannabis leaf have been classified as follows:

Small Quantity Traffickable Quantity Indictable Quantity Commercial Quantity Large Commercial Quantity
30g 300g 1000g 25kg 100kg

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
3181 Supply a prohibited drug
16958 Supply prohibited drug <=small quantity-T2
16959 Supply prohibited drug >small & <=indictable quantity-T1
16972 Supply cannabis >indictable & < commercial quantity-T1
3183 Supply prohibited drug >= commercial quantity-SI
63588 Supply prohibited drug >= large commercial quantity-SI
68391 Take part in supply of a prohibited drug
68394 Take part supply prohibited drug <=small quantity-T2
68396 Take part supply prohibited drug < small <=indictable quantity-T1
68393 Take part supply cannabis >indictable & < commercial qty-T1
68401 Take part supply prohibited drug >= commercial quantity-SI
68402 Take part supply prohibited drug >= large commercial qty-SI

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of this charge, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You supplied Cannabis, or
  • You knowingly took part in the supply of Cannabis.

CULTIVATING CANNABIS:

Cannabis is a prohibited plant. The offence of Cultivate Prohibited Plant is contained in section 23 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 and states a person who:

  • cultivates, or knowingly takes part in the cultivation of, a prohibited plant,
  • supplies, or knowingly takes part in the supply of, a prohibited plant, or
  • has a prohibited plant in his or her possession,

is guilty of an offence.

The penalties for cultivating a prohibited plant depend on the quantity of the plant you had, and can range from a fine of 2000 penalty units and/or 10 years imprisonment, to a fine of 5000 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

Where the amount of Cannabis plants exceeds the commercial quantity (250), this matter is strictly indictable which means that it can only be finalised in the District Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis plants does not exceed the commercial quantity (250) but is more than the indictable quantity, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis plants does not exceed the indictable quantity but is more than the small quantity (5), this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the amount of Cannabis plants does not exceed the small quantity (5), this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT DRUG QUANTITIES?

The amount of Cannabis plants you cultivated will also affect the penalty you receive. The quantities for Cannabis plants have been classified as follows:

Small quantity Indictable Quantity Commercial Quantity Large Commercial Quantity
5 plants 50 plants 250 plants 1000 plants

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
16946 Cultivate prohibited plant <= small quantity-T2
16947 Cultivate prohibited plant>small & <=indictable quantity-T1
16964 Cultivate cannabis > indictable & < commercial quantity-T1
3176 Cultivate prohibited plant>= commercial quantity-SI
63594 Cultivate prohibited plant>= large commercial quantity-SI
68346 Take part cultivate prohibited plant <= small quantity-T2
68348 Take part cultivate proh plant>small & <=indictable qty-T1
68344 Take part cultivate cannabis > indictable
39074 Knowingly take part-cultivate >= comm qty proh plant-SI
63595 Knowingly take part-cultivate >=large comm qty proh plant-SI

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of Cultivate Prohibited Plant the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you cultivated, or knowingly took part in the cultivation of a plant; and
  • That the plant was a prohibited plant.

CULTIVATING CANNABIS BY ENHANCED INDOOR MEANS FOR A COMMERCIAL PURPOSE:

Cannabis is a prohibited plant. The offence of Cultivate Prohibited Plant by Enhanced Indoor Means for a Commercial Purpose is contained in section 23 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 and states a person who:

  • cultivates by enhanced indoor means, or knowingly takes part in the cultivation by enhanced indoor means of, a number of prohibited plants which is:
    • not less than the small quantity applicable to the prohibited plants, and
    • less than the commercial quantity applicable to those prohibited plants, and
    • cultivates, or knowingly takes part in the cultivation of, those prohibited plants for a commercial purpose,
  • is guilty of an offence.

The penalties for cultivating a prohibited plant by enhanced indoor means for a commercial purpose, depend on the quantity of the plant you had, and can range from a fine of 3500 penalty units and/or 15 years imprisonment, to a fine of 5000 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 20 years.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

This matter is strictly indictable which means that it can only be finalised in the District Court.

WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT DRUG QUANTITIES?

The amount of Cannabis plants you cultivated will also affect the penalty you receive. The quantities for Cannabis plants have been classified as follows:

Small Quantity Indictable Quantity Commercial Quantity Large Commercial Quantity
5 plants 50 plants 50 plants 200 plants

WHAT IS THE LAW PART AND THE SHORT DESCRIPTION?

On the police facts sheet and the court attendance notice that you may have received you will have a reference to the law part and a short description of the offence. These references help the court and the legal profession to identify the exact offence you have been charged with. The law part and short description for this offence are set out in the table below:

Law Part Short Description
59666 Enhanced indoor cultivate cannabis for commercial purpose-SI
63591 Take part enhanced indoor cultivate cannabis commercial-SI

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE?

To convict you of Cultivate Prohibited Plant the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you cultivated, or knowingly took part in the cultivation of a plant; and
  • That the plant was a prohibited plant, and
    • The cultivation occurred inside a building or structure; and
    • Involved the nurture of the plant in nutrient-enriched water; or
    • The application of an artificial source of light or heat; or
    • Suspending the plants roots and spraying them with nutrient solution; and
    • The number of prohibited plants cultivated were not less that the small quantity applicable, but less than the commercial quantity applicable.

IMPORTING AND EXPORTING CANNABIS:

Cannabis is a border controlled drug.

According to Division 307 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act, it is an offence to import or export border controlled drugs.

The maximum penalty for importing or exporting Cannabis depends on the quantity imported.

There are three different quantity ranges under the Criminal Code Act 1995. The table below shows the maximum penalty for each of the different quantities.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
Importing or exporting a border controlled drug 10 years imprisonment and/or 2000 penalty units
Importing or exporting marketable quantities of a border controlled drug 25 years imprisonment and/or 5000 penalty units
Importing or exporting commercial quantities of a border controlled drug Life imprisonment and/or $750,000

The following table shows what amount of Cannabis is considered a marketable quantity and commercial quantity.

Marketable Quantity Commercial Quantity
25kgs or 100 plants 250kgs or 1000 plants

THE DANGERS OF COMPLETING A WRITTEN NOTICE OF PLEADING:

The form seems straight forward and can seem to be an attractive alternative to attending court in person. However using them can be a very bad idea.

It is important to be wary of Police that convey to you that they you can simply complete the written notice instead of attending court. While technically true, it is not advisable. Not only does it reflect poorly on you but you can be convicted and sentenced in your absence with little chance to advocate your case. Read More >


Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. Read more.

Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.

Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.


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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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