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  • Cannabis Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

    The Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987 (Qld) describes Cannabis as an offending drug and the Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld) outlines penalties for the abuse of drugs and other substances in Queensland.

    The Act maintains in all parts that: Dealing with Cannabis or other psychoactive substances remains illegal in Queensland.

    Schedule 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987 (Qld) classifies Cannabis as a dangerous drug. It prohibits the use of Cannabis for recreational or similar purposes in Queensland. The various cannabis offences have varying punishments in QLD depending on;

    • Quantity of the Cannabis
    • Aggravating circumstance of the offence
    • Attempts to commit other offences using Cannabis offences.

    If an individual is convicted in a Queensland (Qld) court for a cannabis offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Queensland Criminal History Check certificate.

    1. The offence of Trafficking Cannabis in QLD

    Any person the Court finds guilty of unlawfully trafficking Cannabis or other dangerous plants is guilty of an offence. Under section 5 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld), the Crime carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

    The Court also notes that various matters may aggravate the offence as listed in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld). However, such must be presented with the consent of the Crown Law officer.

    A person can be guilty of trafficking cannabis if they participate in any of the following activities;

    • ✔ Advertising or promoting the product
    • ✔ Negotiating the terms of the product
    • ✔ Solicit and get orders to process such orders
    • ✔ Arrange the delivery of the substance.

    1. Supplying a dangerous drug in QLD

    It is a severe offence for a person to supply Cannabis irrespective of the receiver's location at the time. Section 6 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld) describes such offence as unlawful supply and prescribes punishments of 25 years imprisonment, especially in aggravated cases or supply to a minor.

    Supply without aggravating matters leads to 20 years imprisonment for all other cases.

    It is not a matter of aggravation if the supply was to a person;

    • ✔ Over 16 years at the time of supply,
    • ✔ Aggravated by using violence or other forms of threats,
    • ✔ Supply to an intellectually impaired person,
    • ✔ Supply to a correctional facility,
    • ✔ Supply to a person who is unaware of being supplied the drug.

    For This Section, a person is guilty of supply offences if they participate in any of;

    • ✔ Giving the substances directly or indirectly,
    • ✔ Distributing the substance
    • ✔ Selling the substance through any means
    • ✔ Administering the substance
    • ✔ Transport the substance across various points
    • ✔ Gained from any of these actions

    1. Receiving properties from trafficking or supply

    It is prohibited to receive, receive, hold, launder or protect any property from the proceeds of a drug offence. Section 7 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld) defines that any of these proceeds can be from the direct or indirect gains of the drug offence in Queensland (Qld).

    It also includes where the proceeds were from an offence outside Queensland, which constituted one in the State. The Court may impose penalties reaching 20 years imprisonment for a person it finds guilty of such offence.

    A person who receives other proceeds from the property, knowing the property to be mortgaged, is guilty of the offence. It includes where the person;

    • ✔ Helps in exchanging the property for another
    • ✔ Converts the property
    • ✔ Mortgages or pledges the property
    • ✔ Even though they know the property to be from proceeds of illegal actions are guilty of the Crime.

    It is an offence that incurs penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment.

    The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) provides further aggravating circumstances to the offence under the law.

    1. The offence of Producing Cannabis (dangerous drug)

    It is illegal to produce, manufacture or create a process that manufactures Cannabis.

    Section 8 of the Act prescribes a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for those guilty of growing Cannabis and other drugs classified as ‘dangerous drugs’ in the Regulations.

    1. Publishing useful instructions for producing Cannabis

    It is an indictable offence for a person to create contents or articles that support and enable the production of Cannabis. A person is also guilty of this offence if they have possession of the drug at any time.

    Those found guilty of such offence incur serious terms as high as 20 years imprisonment.

    However, it can be a defence to the charge if the person calls on Part 5B of the Act that allows the production of Cannabis under specific and authorised purposes.

    1. Possessing Cannabis

    It is an unlawful act for someone to possess a cannabis plant at any point. The offence of illegal possession of Cannabis carries a severe term of 20 years imprisonment. The Court can also include other conditions like forfeiture of the drugs and other proceeds.

    For this section, possession means;

    • ✔ Holding the drug at any point
    • ✔ The Cannabis was found in your pocket
    • ✔ Cannabis was found in a property you occupy, manage or supervise
    • ✔ Cannabis was found in your car.

    1. Supplying relevant substances

    It is a severe offence for a person to supply a relevant substance or material. It does not matter where the person commences or does such a supply; it is illegal under Queensland laws.

    It is an offence that carries 15 years imprisonment under the Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld).

    1. Producing relevant substances

    It is also a severe offence to produce a relevant substance as earlier defined in the Regulations. If a court finds the accused guilty of such offence under section 9C of the Act, the offender can incur as much as 15 years imprisonment.

    1. Trafficking relevant substances

    It is also a severe offence to traffic a relevant substance under section 9D of the Act. It is an offence that incurs as much as 20 years imprisonment.

    1. Permitting your premise to be used for a drug offence

    A person who otherwise manages a facility or premise and permits such to be used for committing a drug offence is guilty of a serious crime. Section 11 of the Act prescribes penalties of 15 years imprisonment for such offences.

    Of course, the Court requires the prosecution to prove that the premises were an indirect or direct asset to the drug offence.

    1. Being an accomplice to a drug offence committed outside Queensland

    Queensland legislation hardly differentiates between offenders within and outside the State. The law allows a person to be punished under Queensland laws for offences committed outside the State if they are punishable by Queensland laws.

    The person who assists another to commit an offence outside Queensland is liable to the same punishments stipulated for the offence.

    What courts handle Drug offences in Queensland?

    Drug offences can either be treated Summarily in Queensland or as indictable offences in Queensland.

    Those treated summarily are heard in a Magistrate court, and they incur lesser penalties. However, a crime with a serious penalty term may be treated summarily if both parties agree.

    Also, possession offences can be treated summarily if the Court establishes it was not for a commercial purpose.

    Punishments for summary offences do not exceed three years under the law.

    Forfeiture of Cannabis and other drugs

    Where the Court can safely and logically establish the Crime and proclaim the drugs;

    • Dangerous,
    • Substance used in manufacturing a dangerous job,
    • Contaminated property for a chemical used in manufacturing.

    If the Court orders forfeiture, the drug must be surrendered to the State through any of the relevant agencies.

    The Court can make such declarations in the absence of the accused party.

    Liability to forfeiture (non-related property)

    Section 33 of the Act defines how a property can be liable to forfeiture if the Court concludes that;

    It was acquired to commit offences used in connection with the commission of the offence.

    • Furnished or intended to aid the offence
    • The property is direct/indirect proceeds from the offence

    Power to fine drug offenders in Queensland

    The courts can impose fines for drug offences following s126 of the Drug Misuse Regulations. Instead of imposing additional penalties, the Court can issue fines of;

    Other drug offences

    The Drugs Misuse Act 1989 (Qld) provides further description of the drug offences in Queensland and handling them. For example, the Act mandates a person to report loss/theft of specific drugs within a period.

    Will a Cannabis Offence in QLD show up on a national criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a cannabis offence in the Queensland (Qld), the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their national police clearance check.

    Individuals can obtain a police check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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