It is an offence to either supply cannabis or administer cannabis to another person.

Supply has been defined as: (Is this the definition in the Act?)

  • provide;
  • offer to provide;
  • distribute; and
  • offer to distribute.

The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,000 or two years imprisonment, or both.

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.

It Was In Your Possession For Personal Use
If you are a recreational user of cannabis and there is evidence to suggest that it was not in your possession for the purpose of supply, but rather for personal use, then it may be possible to have the charge downgraded to a lesser offence.

Mental Impairment
The law recognises that, in some cases, people will not be capable of evaluating the nature and quality of their conduct, or, more categorically, they will not know what they are doing is wrong. If it can be shown that you were suffering from some sort of mental disease, disorder or disturbance, as distinguished from a mere lack of self control or impulsiveness, then you may have a defence to this charge.

Mental impairments may be either transitory or permanent and have been held to include disorders such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Hyperglycaemia
  • Psychomotor epilepsy
  • Cerebral arteriosclerosis

The prosecution must prove that:

  • you had possession of the controlled substance; and
  • there was an intention to supply or administer the controlled substance.

There are two elements to prove possession:

  • being in physical control of the drug, and
  • knowledge (or intention) of having the drug.

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

Deciding whether or not to plead guilty has important implications and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer. Please come and see the helpful team at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance in your matter.

This legislation comes from section 33I of the Controlled Substances Act 1984.