Cannabis law in Australia

Cannabis law in Australia

State and Territory cannabis laws vary significantly, but remember, you DO NOT have to answer police questions or make a statement, even after you are arrested. Just give your name and address so that bail can be granted. Remember that the police must prove your guilt – anything you say may make it easier for them to do just that. Generally it is better to say nothing until you have had legal advice.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY – From 31 January 2020, there are new rules around personal use of cannabis. Some rules will change, and some will stay the same. Cannabis is not legal, amendments have been made which exempt individuals from criminal liability in certain circumstances.

NEW SOUTH WALES – The Cannabis Cautioning Scheme provides for formal cautioning of adult offenders detected for minor cannabis offences. The Scheme uses police intervention to assist offenders to consider the legal and health ramifications of their cannabis use and seek treatment and support.

NORTHERN TERRITORY – It’s an offence to possess, supply or manufacture a prohibited drug. Many drugs are prohibited. The most serious drugs that carry the highest penalties include: heroin, cocaine, PCP or Angel Dust, LSD, methamphetamine. Other prohibited drugs include: cannabis, meow meow or bath salts, ketamine, MDMA (ecstasy).

QUEENSLANDDrug offences are taken very seriously and carry severe penalties. Schedule 1 drugs (amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, LSD and ecstasy) carry greater penalties than schedule 2 drugs (cannabis, morphine and barbiturates). Supplying heroin carries a maximum term of 25 years in jail; whereas supplying cannabis has a maximum term of 20 years.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis resin are defined under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 and declared as controlled drugs under the schedules in the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014. It is illegal to keep, use, grow, sell or give away cannabis, cannabis oil or cannabis resin. 

TASMANIA – It is an offence to possess cannabis; smoke it, supply it to others, possess pipes or other items for use with preparation or smoking of cannabis, or supply, or preparation. A penalty is provided for particular acts related to a specific category as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act. In general, minor offences in relation to cannabis would be treated much more leniently than say heroin.

VICTORIA – Possession is one of the most common drug offences. If you are caught with a small quantity of cannabis or heroin and it is your first offence, you will usually get a warning (caution) instead of being charged with the offence. You will have to agree to have drug counselling and to attend a drug treatment centre. If you do not go along as agreed, you may be charged by police later.

WESTERN AUSTRALIAIt is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, cultivate or supply an illicit drug. Any person convicted of a drug offence will receive a criminal record and this can lead to difficulties in getting a job, credit or visas for overseas travel. Police can issue a Cannabis Intervention Requirement (CIR) or a Drug Diversion Notice when small quantities of a drug are detected.

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