Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity
Examples of Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity
- Two brothers grows 100 large marijuana plants in their shed
- A group of people set up a production plant in a factory and make large quantities of cocaine
What is the legal definition of Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity?Cultivating or attempting to cultivate a narcotic plant in a quantity, that is not less than the large commercial quantity applicable to that narcotic plant.
“Can they prove that you were involved in the cultivation?”
The LawThe section that covers this offence is section 72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.
Elements of the offenceThe prosecution must prove the following elements to prove that the accused is guilty:
- The accused cultivated or attempted to cultivate a narcotic plant in a quantity of a drug of dependence.
- The quantity of said narcotic plant was not less than the large commercial quantity applicable to that narcotic plant.
- The accused was not authorised by or licensed under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 or the regulations or the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 or the regulations under that Act to do so.
- The quantity of the drug cultivated was not a large commercial quantity
Questions that are asked in cases like this:
- What is the large commercial quantity for the drug you are being charged with cultivating?
- Can they prove you were linked to the cultivation?
Cultivation of narcotic plants in a large commercial quantity (s72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981) is a very serious offence for which the Courts say that you normally must serve a lengthy prison term if you are found guilty.
The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment (level 1 imprisonment) including a fine of not more than 5000 penalty units.
Sentencing in the higher courtsThere were 12 cases (12 charges) of Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity that were heard in the higher courts of Victoria from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016. These cases led to Imprisonment (83.3%) and Wholly Suspended Sentence (16.7%).
The longest prison term imposed was between 8 and 9 years during the period (10% of all cases that led to imprisonment). The most commonly imposed term was between 2 and 3 years (30%).1
Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in the higher courts earlier than that of the Magistrates’ Court, and therefore all offences committed on or after 1 September 2013 will not have this available as a sentencing option.2
 Sentencing Advisory Council. “SACStat Higher Courts – Drugs, Poisons And Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) : s 72 – cultivate a large commercial quantity of a narcotic plant.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/higher_courts/HC_9719_72.html (accessed April 15, 2019).
 Sentencing Advisory Council. “Abolished Sentencing Orders.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/abolished-sentencing-orders (accessed April 15, 2019).
Other Important Resources
- Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Bill 1990
- VCC summaries – cultivation of a commercial quantity of narcotic plant: Sentencing decisions from 1 January 2016 to 31 August 2016
- Sentencing: the distinction between trafficking and cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis