knowledge (that the substance is a prohibited drug).
Supply includes selling, giving away or (technically) sharing pot.
Supply also includes possession of 300 grams or more of cannabis, which is “deemed” to be for supply. In that case, you must
prove in court that the possession was for reasons other than supply (for example, personal use).
Cultivation means some activity to assist the growing or harvesting of cannabis, such as planting or watering or fertilising.
Even growing one seedling is an offence.
If you are arrested
You do not have to answer police questions or make a statement, even after you are arrested. Just give your name and address
so that bail can be granted.
Remember that the police must prove your guilt – anything you say may make it easier for them to do just that. Generally
it is better to say nothing until you have had legal advice.
The police have the power to issue cautions (rather than take a case to court) where the amount of cannabis involved is
15 grams or less, and where you have no prior convictions, are not charged with another offence, and admit guilt. If you
are cautioned twice, you must attend compulsory drug counselling. On the third occasion, the case must go to court.
Police are legally entitled to enter private property if they are invited in by an occupier or if they have a search warrant.
A search warrant gives police the power to search anybody found on the premises, to use reasonable force to break open
doors and cupboards, and to seize and remove any illegal items discovered.
The police have the power to search you in a public place, without a warrant, if the police believe on reasonable grounds
that you might possess a prohibited drug (or a knife, or evidence of a crime).
Under recent legislation, it is legal for police to use sniffer dogs in some places (on trains and buses, and on or near
railway stations and bus terminals, in licensed premises, at dance parties and music festivals) without a warrant.
The same recent legislation requires the police to obtain a warrant to use sniffer dogs in other situations, for example
for random street searches.
The quantity of drugs involved determines both the maximum penalty for the offence, and whether the case is heard in the
Local Court or the District Court.
The maximum penalty for use or possession of a small quantity (30 grams or less) is a fine of $2,200 and/or 2 years jail.
The maximum penalty for supply or cultivation depends on the quantity involved. As an example, the maximum penalty for the
supply of 300 grams is a fine of $11,000 and/or 2 years jail. The maximum penalty for cultivating 250 plants is a fine of
$385,000 and/or 15 years jail.
These are maximum penalties – the actual penalty imposed will usually be considerably less, especially for a first offender.
The most common penalty for possession of small amounts or cultivation of a few plants is a fine of several hundred dollars
or a good behaviour bond.