Following a vehicle stop in the north of NSW, police have discovered 73 kilograms of cannabis.
The Pantech truck was travelling on the Pacific Motorway, McLeods Shoot, near Byron Bay.
Officers allegedly discovered a significant amount of cannabis in the vehicle, with an estimated potential street value of $480,000.
The NSW Police Force uploaded a picture of the supposed haul on social media.
It showcased 16 sizable plastic bags allegedly filled with cannabis propped up in front of a highway patrol vehicle.
A man and woman, both aged 24, were arrested at the scene and were subsequently taken to Byron Bay Police Station.
The woman has been charged with supply commercial quantity-cannabis.
She appeared before Ballina Local Court where she was formally refused bail and will reappear on Thursday 4 February 2021.
The man is yet to be charged, with officers noting that: “inquiries are continuing.”
In NSW, the number of recorded offences relating to the dealing or trafficking of cannabis has remained stable over the last 24 months.
Comparatively, the number of recorded offences relating to dealing or trafficking in amphetamines has risen over 40%.
Pursuant to section 25(2) of the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) (the Act), a person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of, an amount of a prohibited drug which is not less than the commercial quantity applicable to the prohibited drug, is guilty of an offence.
The offence is strictly indictable, which means that it cannot be dealt with in the Local Court and therefore will be dealt with before the District Court.
Where the offence relates to cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, the maximum penalty applicable is a fine of $385,000 and/or 15 years in jail.
In relation to cannabis the ‘commercial quantity’ for cannabis leaf is 25kg, which can be found in Schedule 1 of the Act.
The Act distinguishes between cannabis oil, resin, plants, and plants cultivated by enhanced indoor means.
‘Supply’ is provided with a considerably extended definition under the Act.
Section 3(1) states that ‘supply’ includes ‘sell and distribute, and also includes agreeing to supply, or offering to supply, or keeping or having in possession for supply, or sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things’.
Under section 29 of the Act, a person who has an amount of drugs which is not less than the traffickable quantity of the prohibited drug in their possession is deemed to have the prohibited drug in their possession for supply.
This is unless the accused person is able to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that they had the prohibited drug in their possession otherwise than for supply, including for personal use.
Another defence includes that in the event the prohibited drug is prepared opium, cannabis leaf, cannabis oil, cannabis resin, heroin or 6-monoacetylmorphine or any other acetylated derivatives of morphine, and the accused is able to prove that they obtained possession in accordance with the prescription of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner, dentist, or veterinary practitioner.
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