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  • Drug Offences in Tasmania

    The Drug following Act (legislation) in Tasmania covers all the offences, details and punishments for the misuse of drugs and other prohibited substances within the States and its Territories.

    These Laws are detailed in the;


    These Acts stipulates the prohibited drugs as;

    • Narcotic substances (including prescription drugs);
    • Controlled Plants (Cannabis, Opium poppy, Kratom, Salvia Divinorum), and
    • Controlled drugs.

    The Acts also stipulate the actions, interest or level of involvement that constitutes a Drug offence.

    • Directly participating in the act;
    • Controlling interest in the interest by proxy or any other means;
    • Investing or financing the acts;
    • Being involved in the supply chains.

    A drug offence will in most circumstances appear on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Tasmania. The offence is disclosed in accordance with the Spent Convictions Scheme of Tasmania.

    Penalties for Drug Offences in Tasmania

    The Act stipulates the maximum penalties for any of the offences committed under the Act. The Court will then impose the correct penalties as appropriate depending on them;

    • Type of drug involved;
    • Criminal Record
    • Personal circumstances of the person
    • Aggravating circumstances (offences committed around children, DUI offences)
    • Quantity of Drugs

    Can the Police give caution for drug offences?

    A person found "in possession" of fewer than 50 grams of cannabis may avoid a criminal charge. In such cases, the Police will impose a caution for such offence, and may also impose fines that can be settled immediately.

    However, a person cannot get more than 3 cautions on drug-related issues within 10 years. If this happens, the offender will be charged to court and receive a criminal conviction.

    Manufacturing and Cultivating Drugs

    It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act to;

    • Have a garden where you cultivate plants or,
    • Grow seeds of prohibited plants in Tasmania.

    Furthermore, manufacturing a drug includes;

    • Possessing the equipment, precursors (used in making drugs);
    • Possessing the instructions used,
    • supplying the elements, or other parts used
    • Financing any of the operations or process
    • Releasing your property for the cultivation or manufacture
    • Facilitating any of the processes above

    Penalties the court imposes in Tasmania

    If you are found guilty of possessing, selling or manufacturing any of the precursors used for making illegal drugs is an imprisonment term up to 21 years.

    Cultivating controlled plants attracts penalties of;

    • $7700 in fines and/or,
    • 2 years imprisonment
    • If the plant is grown for sale, the possible penalty term increases to 21 years.
    • Possession of any equipment, instruction or other things for use in the manufacture of a controlled substance or the cultivation of a controlled plant carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 21 years.

    The offence of Drug Possession

    The offence of drug possession includes;

    • Where the drug is in a person’s possession
    • Having the drugs on the land/premises occupied/used or available to the person
    • Controlling the place where the drugs are stored
    • Being involved in the position or movement of the drugs
    • Having it in your car, bags, locker or room

    The Court can find you guilty of a Drug offence even when;

    • It was placed in your properties by another person
    • You were not aware the drug was on your premises

    Penalties for Drug Possession

    It is illegal to possess “prescription drugs” unless they are prescribed legally for you.

    Possession, smoking, or use of a controlled plant or drug is also a serious offence.

    Offences of this kind attract maximum penalties of;

    • $7,700 fine and/or,
    • 2 years in prison,
    • Or both.

    It is an offence to; possess pipes or other utensils used in preparing, smoking, inhaling, administering, or taking illegal drugs. The various Acts prescribe the maximum penalty of $7,700 in fines.

    The offence of Sale and Supply of Drugs

    It is an offence under the Drug Misuse Act to;

    • Attempt to sell or supply the drugs
    • Agree to sell the drugs
    • Possess a large amount of the drugs in "sellable" quantities

    The offence of supplying a drug in Tasmania includes;

    • Offering or agreeing to supply an illegal drug or plant, and
    • Administering it by any means.

    The court can also find you guilty of “deemed supply” if the drugs you were caught with are over certain weights. The court presumes that they are for supply unless you can prove otherwise.

    The particular quantity or weight of the drugs that the Law considers as “supply amounts” varies among drugs.

    The maximum penalty for supply is;

    • $15,400, and/or,
    • 4 years in prison, or both.

    Examples of prescribed quantities include:

    • Amphetamines – 25g;
    • Cannabis – 1kg or 20plants or 20 packages;
    • Cannabis resin or oil – 25g;
    • Cocaine – 25g;
    • Poppy plant material – 100g or 500 plants;
    • Heroin – 25g or 20 packages.

    Offence for Trafficking

    The offence for trafficking a drug includes; Authorising, Permitting, Allowing or controlling the following;

    • Offering or exposing the drugs to someone for sale
    • Having the drugs in possession, or keeping the drugs, for sale
    • Bartering or exchanging
    • Delivering or agreeing to sell
    • Sending, delivering, forwarding, or receiving for sale.

    The offence of trafficking can also extend to other actions like;

    • Preparing drugs for selling by acts like; cutting them or putting them in plastic bags.
    • Searching or facilitating a buyer or guaranteeing the deal
    • Transporting the drugs to sell them or for someone else to sell them
    • Guarding or hiding the drugs to sell them or do so for someone else who intends to sell them
    • Having drugs that you intend to sell, or
    • Making or growing drugs to sell in the future.

    DUI Offences

    The Tasmanian Criminal Code Act and Road and Traffic Act prohibit the possession or use of a drug or other prohibited substances while driving. DUI offences in Tasmania are punishable by law. If you are deemed Driving under the influence of a drug in Tasmania, you will receive a court summons, and likely get a conviction.

    Do drug charges in Tasmania show up on a criminal record check?

    The short answer is yes. If there is a drug conviction from a court in Tasmania, the offence will show up on an individual’s criminal record.

    The offence will be listed as a disclosable court outcome on the police check result.

    You can obtain your criminal background check online from the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) website.

    Wrapping Up

    The Magistrate Court may handle lesser cases concerning Drug offences, especially for first offenders. However, the prosecutor may choose to proceed to a District or Supreme Court to hear the case.

    Depending on the severity of the crime or the amount of the drugs; the court can grant;

    When issuing convictions/punishments, the perceived harm of the drugs is less relevant as compared to the quantity or the type of drug offence charge.

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