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Drug Offences in Western Australia (WA)

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

The legislation against drug offences is very fierce and fairly straight-forward. If the court finds you guilty of these offences, especially where you don't have a prescription, the law prescribes very severe punishments.

The Drug Offences are governed by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981. The legislation states that it is illegal to possess, manufacture, cultivate or supply illicit drugs, or passively partake in such activities.

The Law on Drug Offences under the Act has different components.

The penalties the court imposes depends on a lot of factors like;

  • The type of drugs; prescribed, drug of dependence, illicit.
  • Quantity of the drug; small, traffic, commercial quantities.
  • Circumstances around the offence; committed around children, control of operations, DUI offences and so on.

  1. The offence of Drug Use

It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 to;

  • Give consent to let a person administer illicit drugs,
  • Administer the drug to another person.

It does not matter if the acts are between two or more consenting adults, as far as it was done outside a medical prescription, or the drug used was illicit.

However, the Police (prosecutor) must prove to the court that the accused used the drugs. The prosecutor can do this by asking a doctor to conduct a blood test if they arrest the accused.

You can also be guilty of a Drug Use offence if you allow people to use the drugs in your place or are caught at a place where the drug is used. It does not matter whether you used these drugs or not.

Penalties for Drug Use offences

The Court can issue penalties up to;

  • $2000 in fines, and/or,
  • 2 years imprisonment term

Using a prescribed and illicit drug wrongly also incurs a $5000 fine

If you are found in a prohibited drug area, or near the plants, you may receive fines of;

  • $3,000 in fines
  • 3 years imprisonment term

  1. Offences of Drug Equipment or elements

Advertising, selling or "being in possession" of drug paraphernalia are serious offences under the Act.

Some of this equipment includes;

  • Administering to anyone (including by smoking, inhaling or ingesting), or
  • To be heated up or burned to a point where its smoke or fumes can be smoked or inhaled by someone.

Penalties for Drug Equipment offences

Displaying, allowing or authorising the display of, drug paraphernalia for sale in a retail outlet carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $10,000.

However, if this offence involved a child in any way, the penalties increase to;

  • $24,000 in fines and/or,
  • 2 years imprisonment term

Possessing drug paraphernalia with a prohibited drug or a prohibited plant in or on it carries maximum penalties of;

  • $36,000 in fines
  • and/or 3 years in prison.

  1. Offences involving Drug Possession

There are various ways you can be convicted of Drug Possession under the Act in addition to carrying illicit drugs. Some of the actions constituting Drug Possession are;

Joint possession

  • Controlling the place or area where it is stored
  • Being in a place where it is stored
  • Using any of your property to hide/stash it.

It is also illegal to possess prescription drugs that you don’t have a doctor’s prescription for

The maximum penalty for drug possession offences is;

a fine of $2,000 and/or,

2 years in prison.

  1. Drug Manufacture and Cultivation

It is an offence to cultivate (grow), manufacture (produce) or prepare illegal drugs whether directly or passively. You will also be guilty of the offence if;

  • The Drug is cultivated/manufactured on your property
  • Possess an element or equipment for manufacturing
  • You financed or controlled or managed the manufacturing process
  • You supplied any of the elements used in the manufacture

The maximum penalty for growing or making drugs to sell is fines of;

  • $100,000 and/or
  • 25 years in prison.

The maximum penalty for conspiring to grow or make drugs is;

  • $75,000 in fines and/or
  • 20 years in prison – even if the people involved don’t go through with it.

  1. The offence of Supply and Trafficking

The Act prohibits all forms of transaction, exchange, supply or sale of prohibited drugs. It is even a serious offence to possess drugs in large quantities; you can be charged with a “deemed supply”.

The offence of drug supply includes;

  • Offering or agreeing to supply, even if no deal ever takes place;
  • Being knowingly concerned in supply, for example, introducing someone to a dealer;
  • Supplying a legal substance, which you claim, is a prohibited drug, for example, selling aspirin and passing it off as heroin;
  • Pooling money and splitting up purchased drugs between the group of buyers; or
  • Having drugs in your possession for supply.

The offender can be declared a drug trafficker if they are convicted of two or more serious drug offences. Their properties are immediately seized and permanently taken away by the Police, including those given to other people.

If you possess plastic bags, scales or other drug-packaging items, they can be used as evidence of supply.

The penalties for drug supply and trafficking includes maximum penalties of;

  • $20,000 and/or,
  • 10 years imprisonment

For other drugs or substances, the maximum penalty is;

  • $100,000 in fines and/or,
  • 25 years in prison

  1. Aggravating Offences

The Act also specifies certain aggravating circumstances that can amplify the Drug offence charge against you.

  1. Supply to children or people under 18 years

The court issues severe punishments for those who perform any of these offences around or to children.

The penalty for selling, supplying a prohibited drug to a child, or attempting to do is a minimum of 6 months imprisonment.

  1. DUI (Driving under the Influence) offences

If the Police suspect you driving under the influence or carrying some quantity in your car, you will be summoned to court under the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA).

A person found guilty of a DUI offence will receive a penalty of large fines or an imprisonment term. Depending on the offence, they may also have their license seized, car impounded and get a conviction record.

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