What is the penalty for cultivating cannabis?
The penalty for cultivating cannabis depends on how many plants were allegedly cultivated. There are four levels of cultivation in Australian law, and we will describe each here.
What is the penalty for cultivating cannabis in a Small Quantity
A small quantity is defined as 5 plants or less, and will be dealt with in the local court. The maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment. If you do not have an extensive record for drug or criminal matters, you may not be convicted for this offence. If the magistrate agrees with you that the matter should not be dealt with by way of a conviction, you could be dealt with under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.
For more information on Section 10, and to see case studies where we have successfully represented others, click here.
What is the penalty for cultivating cannabis if I have a large number of plants being cultivated?
If you have more than 5 plants being cultivated, you could face much harsher sentences, including full-time jail.
For example, if it is alleged that you cultivated more than 50 plants, this is considered as an “indictable quantity”, and therefore will be dealt with in the District Court. If the number of plants does not exceed the indictable quantity, the matter can either be dealt with in the local court or the district court. In the district court, the maximum penalty for cultivate prohibited plant in an indictable quantity is 10 years imprisonment.
Whilst almost all of those who are convicted of an indictable quantity of cultivation do not receive the maximum penalty, a jail term is more likely with a large number of plants.
Commercial Quantities of Prohibited Plant Cultivation
The next step up from an “indictable quantity” of plants is “commercial quantity” – anything more than 250 plants. If it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that you cultivated more than 250 plants, you could be facing a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years.
What is the penalty if I was growing cannabis for medicinal purposes?
There has been a great deal of talk in the media about the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Whilst it is still illegal to possess, use or cultivate cannabis, there is a growing movement to allow cannabis use for medicinal purposes, particularly for those with terminal illnesses.
Courts will generally sympathise with those who have possession of or cultivate cannabis for this purpose, but adequate legal representation is nonetheless important.
If you have been charged with cultivating any amount of cannabis, call LY Lawyers on 1300 595 299 for a free consultation.