A person who is involved in the manufacturing of a controlled drug for commercial purposes may be guilty of an offence [Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) ss 305.3-305.5, 308.4]. Manufacturing controlled drugs for personal use is not regulated by the Commonwealth Criminal Code (it is however regulated under state law).
Controlled drugs include but are not limited to substances such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine, gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), ecstasy (MDMA), methamphetamine or precursor chemicals such as pseudoephedrine. A full list of controlled drugs can be found in Schedule 3 of the Criminal Code Regulations 2002 (Cth).
The maximum penalties for manufacturing controlled drugs are:
- Commercial quantity (usually measured in kilograms): Life imprisonment
- Marketable quantity (usually measured in grams): 25 years’ imprisonment or 28 years’ imprisonment (if an aggravated offence)
- Any quantity (i.e., less than a marketable quantity): 10 years’ imprisonment or 12 years’ imprisonment (if an aggravated offence)
The offence will be aggravated if, in carrying out the offence, a child under the age of 14 was exposed to the manufacture of a controlled drug.
The maximum penalties for possessing substance, equipment or instructions for commercial manufacture of controlled drugs is 7 years’ imprisonment.
It may be a defence to the charge that you:
- were under duress;
- have a factual dispute;
- had a lack of intention;
- identification dispute; or
- suffer from a mental impairment.
Charges may be downgraded to a lower charge if you can prove that at the time of the alleged offence you were under a mistaken belief about the quantity, or the type, of drug, plant or precursor [Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) ss 313.4, 313.5].
The prosecution must prove that you:
- Intended to manufacture a controlled drug for a commercial purpose;
- Knew the substance was a controlled drug (or you were reckless to think otherwise);
- Knew the quantity of the controlled drug was of a commercial quantity, marketable quantity or some quantity less than a marketable quantity, depending on the charge.