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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Offences Involving Cannabis


Cannabis is a psychoactive drug which is illegal to grow, import, possess, supply or traffic 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 Act and Regulation which apply to cannabis. For possessing less than 500 grams or fewer than 100 plants, the maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment. For possessing more than 500 grams or more than 100 plants, the maximum penalty is 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.

Supplying Cannabis

It is illegal to supply a dangerous drug pursuant to section 6 of the Act. The maximum penalty for supplying cannabis depends on the nature of the supply. If you supply to a child aged under 16, it is 25 years imprisonment; aggravated supply, 20 years; and supply in any other case, 15 years.

“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 of the offence a custodial sentence is often avoidable. This could include where a young person buys a small amount of the drug to share with their friends.

Trafficking Cannabis

It is illegal to carry on a business unlawfully trafficking in a dangerous drug, under section 5 of the Act. 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 portion 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 Act. The maximum penalty for producing cannabis depends on the quantity of the drug produced. The two quantity ranges and penalties under the Act and Regulation are the same as for possessing cannabis.

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 Act 1995.

The maximum penalty for importing cannabis depends on the quantity imported. A marketable quantity is 2g, and commercial quantity is 750g.

There are three quantity ranges under the Commonwealth Act which apply to border-controlled drugs or plants. Importing or exporting carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or 2000 penalty units. If the amount is a marketable quantity, the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment and/or 5000 penalty units; and for a commercial quantity, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment and/or 7500 penalty units.

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.

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