Most drug offences in South Australia are prosecuted under state legislation, namely the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA).
This article will describe the most common crimes and penalties to controlled drugs (such as Ecstasy, LSD, and heroin), including drugs of dependence (such as cocaine and methylamphetamine). Cannabis (marijuana) is also a controlled drug, but different laws apply to certain cannabis offences.
Simple cannabis offences
South Australia Police may issue Cannabis Expiration Notices to cannabis offenders. Possession includes possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis resin (hash), possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis, and smoking cannabis in private possession of equipment related to smoking cannabis, including pipes and bongs.
For a simple cultivating cannabis offence, there is an on-the-spot fine of $400.
Cultivation of cannabis
Growing marijuana plants (including acts related to growing, such as harvesting) is a crime unless only one plant was grown and no artificial means were used to grow it.
Maximum penalty if 2 to 5 plants are cultivated (or 1 to 5 plants if cultivated using artificial means): $1,000 fine, 6 months imprisonment.
Maximum penalty if more than 5 plants are cultivated: $2,000 fine, 2 years’ imprisonment.
Cultivation for sale is a crime. The penalties depend upon the number of plants cultivated. Growing 10 or more plants implies selling them.
Possession or consumption of ecstasy
Ecstasy is classified as a controlled drug in South Australia under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984, and it is illegal to manufacture, keep, use, sell or give away ecstasy. Possession or consumption of ecstasy for personal use is punishable by a maximum penalty of $2000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.
Possess or sell drugs
Whether a person possesses or sells drugs is illegal in South Australia. A simple possession of a controlled drug can result in a fine of $2,000 or incarceration for two years or both. The maximum penalty for selling, supplying, or administering a controlled drug to a child, or possessing it for that purpose in a school zone, is a $1,000,000 fine and/or life imprisonment.
Supply or administer a controlled Drug
This crime is committed by providing a drug to someone else or by possessing a drug with that intent. It differs from trafficking in that the person providing the drug does not need to receive money or anything else in exchange for the drug.
Maximum penalty (drugs other than cannabis): $50,000 fine, 10 years imprisonment.
Maximum penalty (cannabis): $2,000 fine, 2 years imprisonment.