Offences Involving Cannabis


Cannabis, is a psychoactive drug which is illegal to grow, import, possess, supply or traffick in Queensland. This section describes the range of offences involving cannabis under Queensland law and includes the likely penalties for them.

Cannabis is classified as a ‘schedule 2 dangerous drug’ under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987.

Possessing Cannabis

It is illegal to possess dangerous drugs pursuant to section 9 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989.

The maximum penalty for possessing cannabis depends on the quantity of the drug possessed. There are two quantity ranges under the Drugs Misuse Act and Regulations which apply to cannabis. The table below shows the maximum penalty for each of the different quantities.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
Less than 500 grams, or 100 plants 15 years imprisonment
More than 500g, or 100 plants 20 years imprisonment

Will I Go To Jail For Possessing Cannabis?

If you are guilty of possessing large quantities of the drug then a sentence of imprisonment is almost inevitable. For lesser amounts, in particular amounts under 500 grams, sentences other than imprisonment are often imposed. If you are guilty of possessing under 50 grams of the drug, and if it is your first drug offence, you might be eligible for a drug diversion order.

It is very important that a person charged with possessing cannabis seeks competent legal representation at an early stage.

Supplying Cannabis

It is illegal to supply a dangerous drug pursuant to section 6 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989.

The maximum penalty for supplying cannabis depends on the nature of the supply. The table below shows the maximum penalties that apply to supplying cannabis in different circumstances.

Type of Supply Maximum Penalty
Supply to a child under 16 25 years imprisonment
Aggravated Supply 20 years imprisonment
Supply in any other case 15 years imprisonment

‘Aggravated supply’ is when a person supplies cannabis to a person who is over 16 but under 18, supplies the drug in an educational or correctional facility, supplies it to a person who is intellectually impaired or supplies it to as person who does not know they are being supplied with cannabis.

Will I Go To Jail For Supplying Cannabis?

If you are guilty of aggravated supply a jail sentence is likely, though not inevitable. For less serious examples the offence, for example a young person who purchases a small amount of the drug to share with their friends, a custodial sentence is often avoidable.

Trafficking Cannabis

It is illegal to carry on a business unlawfully trafficking in a dangerous drug, pursuant to section 5 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989.

The maximum penalty for trafficking cannabis is 25 years imprisonment.

Will I Go To Jail For Trafficking Cannabis?

While not inevitable in less serious cases, most people who are guilty of trafficking cannabis can expect to received a jail sentence, normally with a potion served inside a jail.

If a person receives a sentence of imprisonment (other than an Intensive Corrections Order or a suspended sentence) then the law requires the court to order they serve 80% of their sentence inside of jail before being eligible for release.

Producing Cannabis

It is illegal to produce dangerous drugs pursuant to section 8 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989.

The maximum penalty for producing cannabis depends on the quantity of the drug produced. There are two quantity ranges under the Drugs Misuse Act and Regulations which apply to cannabis. The table below shows the maximum penalty for each of the different quantities.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
Less than 500 grams or 100 plants 15 years imprisonment
Over 500g or 100 plants 20 years imprisonment

Will I Go to Jail For Producing Cannabis?

A sentence of imprisonment is not inevitable, but one should be expected in most cases if you are guilty of producing cannabis. It is very important that a person charged with producing cannabis seeks competent legal representation at an early stage.

Importing Cannabis

Cannabis is a border controlled plant.

Importing a border controlled plant is a federal offence under Division 307 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

The maximum penalty for importing cannabis depends on the quantity imported.

There are three different quantity ranges under the Commonwealth Criminal Code which apply to border controlled plants. The table below shows the maximum penalty for each of the different quantities.

Quantity Maximum Penalty
Importing or exporting a border controlled drug or plant 10 years imprisonment and/or 2000 penalty units
Importing or exporting marketable quantities of a border controlled drug or plant 25 years imprisonment and/or 5000 penalty units
Importing or exporting commercial quantities of a border controlled drug or plant Live imprisonment and/or 7,500 penalty units

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

Marketable Quantity Commercial Quantity
2.0g 750.0g

Will I Go To Jail For Importing Cannabis?

Almost certainly, yes.

An offence of importing cannabis will normally attract a sentence of imprisonment, even for first time offenders. It is very important that a person charged with such an offence seeks competent legal representation at an early stage.

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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