Cultivation of Cannabis Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • The maximum penalty for cultivating a large commercial quantity of cannabis is a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both.

Possible Defences

  • it is not cannabis
  • you didn’t know it was cannabis
  • the plants were dead
  • the plants did not have a root system
  • you did not take part in the process of cultivation
  • it was only 1 plant

What Is The Charge Of Cultivation of Cannabis?

The offence of cultivating cannabis can be committed in any of the following ways:

  • Cultivating one or more cannabis plants by artificially enhanced cultivation.
  • Cultivating more than five cannabis plants.
  • Cultivating one or more cannabis plants with the intention of supplying that plant or administering any product of that plant to another person.

What Is The Penalty For Cultivation of Cannabis?

The maximum penalty for a cultivation offence will vary depending on the number of plants you have. For sentencing purposes cultivating cannabis plants are classified as follows:

No. of plants
Large Commercial Quantity: 100
Commercial Quantity: 20
Trafficable Quantity: 10

The maximum penalty for cultivating more than 5 plants is a fine of $2,000 or 2 years imprisonment, or both.

The maximum penalty for cultivating more than 1 plant but less than 5 plants, is a fine of $1,000 or 6 months imprisonment, or both.

The maximum penalty for cultivating a trafficable quantity of cannabis is a fine of $75,000 or 15 years imprisonment, or both.

The maximum penalty for cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis is a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both.

The maximum penalty for cultivating a large commercial quantity of cannabis is a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment for life, or both.
The cultivation of not more than 1 plant constitutes a simple cannabis offence under this section. For simple cannabis offences the police have discretion to issue a cannabis expiation notice. This means payment of an on the spot fine and avoids court proceedings. Cannabis grown hydroponically is not included in the Cannabis Expiation Notice Scheme.

What Are The Possible Defences For The Cultivation of Cannabis?

There are a number of ways to defend drug cultivation charges – to either have the charges dismissed altogether or to downgrade the severity of the punishment.

It Is Not Cannabis
Section 4 of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 defines cannabis as: a plant, or any part (including the seed) of a plant, of the genus cannabis, but does not include cannabis resin or oil. Thus, you will have a complete defence to this charge if it can be shown that the plant or plant matter in your possession was something other than cannabis.

You Didn’t Know It Was Cannabis
If you genuinely believed that you were growing some variety of plant other than cannabis, and it was reasonable for you to hold that belief, then you may have a defence to this charge.

The Plants Were Dead
Section 4 of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 defines a controlled plant as: a growing cannabis plant or a cutting of a cannabis plant (provided that the cutting has been planted or otherwise placed in a growing medium). Thus, if the plants are dead they do not fall under the scope of the legislation and you will have a defence to this charge.

The Plants Did Not Have A Root System
Section 4 of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 defines a controlled plant as: a growing cannabis plant or a cutting of a cannabis plant (provided that the cutting has been planted or otherwise placed in a growing medium). Thus, without a root system, the plants do not fall under the scope of the legislation and you will have a defence to this charge.

You Did Not Take Part In The Process Of Cultivation
Section 4 of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 defines cultivation as:

  • planting a seed, seedling or cutting of the plant or transplanting the plant; or
  • nurturing, tending or growing the plant; or
  • harvesting the plant (including picking any part of the plant or separating any resin or other substance from the plant; or
  • taking part in the process of cultivation of the plant.

If it can be shown that you did not take part in any of these activities, you may have a defence to this charge.

It Was Only 1 Plant
Under Schedule 5 of the Controlled Substances (Controlled Substances, Precursors and Plants) 2000, the cultivation of 1 plant is an expiable offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $300.

What Court will Hear the Matter

Assaulting a police officer is a summary offence and will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

Come and see the professional team at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance in your assaulting police matter.

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