Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity

– section 72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981

cultivation narcotic plants large commercial quantity
When someone cultivates or attempts to cultivate narcotic plants in a quantity larger than a commercial quantity without being authorised to do so. With this sort of offending there is no difference between cultivating heroin, cocaine or marijuana.

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 are some of the possible defences to a Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large Commercial Quantity charge?
  • The quantity of the drug cultivated was not a large commercial quantity

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

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?

prison penalty sentencing

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

This sort of charge will generally be heard in the county Court. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment (level 1 imprisonment) including a fine of not more than 5000 penalty units.

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 Law

The section that covers this offence is section 72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution must prove the following elements to prove that the accused is guilty:

  1. The accused cultivated or attempted to cultivate a narcotic plant in a quantity of a drug of dependence.
  2. The quantity of said narcotic plant was not less than the large commercial quantity applicable to that narcotic plant.
  3. 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.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Cultivation of narcotic plants in a large commercial quantity is a very serious offence for which the Courts say that you normally must serve a lengthy prison term if you are found guilty.

Sentencing in the higher courts

There 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
 

Other Important Resources

 



[1] 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).
[2] 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).