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Queensland Cannabis Laws: Offences and Penalties

Cannabis is regarded as a ‘schedule 2 dangerous drug’ in our state under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987.

The use, possession, production, supply and trafficking of cannabis for recreational purposes remains illegal in Queensland. Cannabis is regarded as a ‘schedule 2 dangerous drug’ in our state under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987. But what exactly are the Queensland cannabis laws if you commit one of the offences listed above? Here’s everything you need to know about our Queensland laws.

Possessing Cannabis

While the term ‘possession’ is not defined in the Drugs Misuse Act 1989, a definition is provided in Section 1 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). “Possession includes having under control in any place whatever, whether for the use or benefit of the person of whom the term is used or of another person and although another person has the actual possession or custody of the thing in question.” However, this definition is inclusive and not exhaustive. For a person to be charged with possession of cannabis, they must also know of its existence.

Under the Queensland cannabis laws outlined in the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, the possession of fewer than 500 grams (or 100 plants) of cannabis is equated to a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment sentence. For the possession of more than 500 grams or 100 plants, the maximum prison penalty is 20 years.

You may be eligible for a Drug Diversion Order (a program to deal with your issue outside the Court system) depending on whether you are in possession of a minor amount of drugs (up to 50 grams of cannabis), you have not previously committed other drug offences, you’ve admitted to committing the offence in a recorded interview or you’ve not been offered a diversion program before.


Producing Cannabis

Under Queensland cannabis laws, section 8 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 states that “A person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime”.

Producing cannabis in Queensland is defined as either preparing, manufacturing, cultivating, packaging, or producing under Section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986. It also includes offering or doing any of the preparatory work of the acts just mentioned.

Proof of the production of cannabis to the Court must prove the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the accused ‘produced’ the cannabis; and
  • That it is a dangerous drug.

If found guilty of producing certain quantities of cannabis, a person may face the following maximum prison penalties:

  • For quantities less than 500 grams or 100 plants, the offender may receive a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
  • For quantities more than 500 grams or 100 plants, the maximum prison penalty is 20 years.

Supplying Cannabis

Under section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989, ‘supply’ means to give, distribute, sell, administer, transport or supply. It also means offering to do any of the acts or offering or doing any preparatory work of the acts mentioned above.

The maximum penalty for supplying schedule 2 dangerous drugs, like cannabis, does vary depending on the quantity, and whether there were circumstances of aggravation. The offence for aggravated supply of cannabis are as follows:

If supplied to a minor under 16 years old, the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

If the offence is one of aggravation because it was supplied to any of the following, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment:

  • supply to a minor over 16 years old;
  • supply to an intellectually impaired person;
  • supply within a correctional facility; or
  • supply to a person who does not know they are being supplied with the drug.

Trafficking Cannabis

It is illegal for a person to carry on a business of unlawfully trafficking a cannabis under section 5 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1989.

It must be proved that the accused was ‘carrying on the business’ of unlawful trafficking. This usually involves a series of the following activities:

  • Advertise or promote the “product” by communication with potential buyers;
  • Set up lines of supply;
  • Negotiate the process and terms of supply and payment;
  • Solicit and receive orders; and
  • Arrange delivery

Note, a single act of selling can still be considered trafficking. It does not necessarily need to be a repetitive action.

A person caught unlawfully trafficking cannabis may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Need Any Legal Advice About Queensland Cannabis Laws?

If you have been charged with either possession, production, supply and trafficking of cannabis in Queensland, you should seek legal advice to understand the Queensland Cannabis Laws. Our team of experienced drug lawyers can guide you through your drug charge proceedings and help you increase your chances of receiving a less severe penalty. Get in touch to speak to one of our lawyers today.