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  • Cannabis Offences and Penalties in Tasmania

    It is an offence to deal with Cannabis in Tasmania that is not for medicine or without a license from approved bodies. The State describes plants and substances like Cannabis as controlled substances, and cultivating or processing any of these plants incur various penalties.

    While many people still call out the government to legalise Cannabis for recreational use, there are still prevailing voices about upholding the current laws. The major guide for the current regulations on drugs and Cannabis in Tasmania is found in the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas).

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

    Drug offences in Tasmania

    Part 2 of the Act describes the "Major offences" relating to Drug Offences in Tasmania.

    Most of the offences treated are indictable matters in Tasmania, only heard in higher courts or heard as indictable matters before local courts.

    1. The offence of Manufacturing and Cultivation of Cannabis Plant

    Section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas) describes an offence when a person manufactures a controlled drug either for;

    • Selling the controlled drug, or
    • Hoping another person sells the controlled drug for a reward.

    The charge of manufacturing or cultivating a Controlled drug (Cannabis) is an imprisonment term reaching 21 years imprisonment.

    The court doesn't need to prove the accused intended to sell the manufactured drug for this section. It is enough evidence before the court if the accused manufactures a trafficable quantity of the drug unless they can prove otherwise.

    1. Cultivating a Controlled plant to sell

    It is an offence to use any means to cultivate a controlled plant following section 7 of the Act. It covers all cases where the accused person cultivated the plant to;

    • Sell the plant or any of its product (containing its compound),
    • Cultivates it in the hope that another person sells it in Tasmania

    It is an offence that carries the maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment.

    It is also relevant if the accused cultivated a trafficable quantity even if the court can not establish evidence of sale. Only if the accused can prove otherwise to cultivate such a quantity of the cannabis plant.

    1. Possessing a material intended for use in manufacturing or cultivation a controlled plant

    It is an offence for a person to possess any equipment, instruments or materials that will be useful in manufacturing or cultivating a controlled substance. Sections 8 and 9 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas) prohibits the possession of any material typically used or converted in manufacturing or cultivating a controlled substance.

    The legislation of Tasmania prescribes a penalty reaching 21 years imprisonment for any such or related offences.

    Sections 10 and 11 of the Act prohibits the manufacture or sale of intended precursor or aid to;

    • Manufacture or sell a controlled drug
    • Manufacture a controlled drug in the belief that another person intends to sell

    The offence attracts a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment.

    1. Trafficking and Supply of Controlled Substances (Cannabis) in Tasmania

    It is an offence to indulge or actively support trafficking or supply controlled substances in Tasmania. Section 12 of the Act prohibits this action with an imprisonment term not exceeding 21 years imprisonment.

    A person is guilty of trafficking or supplying a controlled substance if they;

    • Prepared a trafficable quantity of the Cannabis
    • Transported or assisted in the movement of the quantity of the Cannabis
    • Guarded or protected a consignment or quantity of the Cannabis from being supplied
    • Possessed an amount that is trafficable under the Law
    • Imported or shipped a quantity of the controlled substance into Tasmania

    The court considers it that the accused had the intention to traffic the quantity unless they can prove otherwise.

    1. Procuring Child to traffic a controlled substance

    It is a grave offence that a person employs or engages a child to move or traffic a cannabis substance. It is an offence that incurs a 21 years imprisonment period.

    It is considered that a person procures a child to commit this offence if they;

    • Recruited or engaged the child to sell the controlled substance;
    • Employed the child to prepare, supply, or transport the substance to expect another person to sell it.

    1. Supplying a Controlled Drug to a child

    Section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas) describes an offence where a person supplies a controlled substance (Cannabis) to a child. There is no form of defence or justification for such offences under the Tasmania laws.

    The Charge of Supplying Cannabis or any other controlled substances to a child is 21 years imprisonment.

    Accessory Offences to Drug offences

    Division 4 of the Act describes the offences associated with proceeds or links to a major drug offence. The Law prosecutes all direct and indirect beneficiaries of drugs and their derived properties. For this section, a property derived from drug offences is any asset/material from the sale of a drug other than the drug itself.

    • ✔ The offence of concealing a property derived from drugs

    It is an offence to deal in or get involved in properties from a drug offence. It includes all cases where the person intends to;

    • Launder or Conceal the property,
    • Move or Transfer the property through any legal/illegal process
    • Liquidate or Convert the property
    • Evacuate or Remove the property from the jurisdiction

    It includes all cases where the person knows about the source and status of the property (drugs proceed) and intends to help the person evade such trials especially where the original beneficiary is facing prosecution, punishments or justice.

    All related and similar offences of concealing proceeds from Drug offences incur 21 years imprisonment.

    • ✔ The offence of receiving property from a drug offence

    It is an offence under section 17 to receive property, especially if the beneficiary;

    • has no legal right to the property, and
    • Knows the property to be the direct proceeds from a drug offence

    It is an offence that carries up to 21 years of imprisonment

    Part 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas) describes the offences under similar conditions mentioned above for when such offences are minor and treated summarily under the Law in Tasmania. Sections 18 to 27 describe all drugs mentioned above offences (but under minor cases).

    There is no major difference in such offences except in the penalty the Act prescribes. For minor drug offences, the punishment usually ranges between

    • 50 and 100 penalty units and;
    • Imprisonment term between 2 and 4 years depending on the severity of the offence.

    Will a Cannabis Offence in Tasmania show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a cannabis offence in Tasmania, 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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