A simple cannabis offence applies to offences where there is possession of smaller amounts of cannabis. For example up to 100 grams of cannabis, 20 grams of cannabis resin, smoking cannabis, possessing equipment or cultivating not more than 1 plant.

For simple cannabis offences the police have the discretion to issue a cannabis expiation notice. This means payment of an on the spot fine that avoids court proceedings.

Cannabis grown hydroponically is not included in the Cannabis Expiation Notice Scheme.

 

The maximum penalty for a simple cannabis offence is a fine of $300.

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 in possession some variety of plant matter other than cannabis, and it was reasonable for you to hold that belief, then you may have a defence to this charge.

It Was Not In Your Possession
In order to prove possession, the Prosecution must show that you:
were in physical control of the cannabis, and
had the knowledge (or intention) of having the cannabis.
You may have a defence to this charge if either of these elements are in doubt.

The prosecution must prove that you:

  • were in physical control of the cannabis or equipment; and
  • had the knowledge (or intention) of having the cannabis or equipment.

In the decision of R v Offord the court stated:

“Where the defendant (offender) is to be sentenced by the court for a simple cannabis offence for which no expiation notice has been given, the sentencing discretion should ordinarily be exercised so that the penalty is not to exceed the amount of the appropriate expiation notice”.