Law on Possessing Cannabis in NSW


It has been reported that a US company has advertised a position requiring the successful candidate to smoke weed for over $4,000 a month.

In an effort to provide “honest and reliable insights”, a company called ‘American Marijuana’ has offered a position to the right candidate to give reviews after testing their cannabis products.

American Marijuana is a New York based online site, who in their job description have said, “The applicant will have to write about their honest reviews and opinions of the product in the form of a blog”.

“The must also be comfortable in front of the camera, since the job includes unboxing videos and explainer videos of how each cannabis product performs and differs from other, more notable products in the category.”

“Depending on experience” the job is offering USD $36,000 per annum, equivalent to $52,000 AUD per year.

There have been over 3,000 candidates in a 48-hour period who have applied.

The job does have a criteria list, some of which include:

  • Requirement to be “physically fit and healthy in general”.
  • “Extensive knowledge of marijuana”

In addition, eligible applicants must be from a location where the drug is legal.

Cannabis is currently legalised in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, and Canada.

The Pew Research Center who conducted a poll claims that 91% of Americans support the legalisation of marijuana.

In Australia, Canberra residents (over 18-years) will be legally allowed to grow their own cannabis in their homes from 31 January 2020.

While ACT residents can possess up to 50g and grow up to two plants at home, selling cannabis is still illegal in the ACT, just as much as it still is in NSW.

The Law on Possessing Cannabis in NSW

In NSW, section 10 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) prescribes a penalty of up to 2-years gaol and/or $2,200 fine for possessing a prohibited drug.

Exceptions or defences to possessing a prohibited drug in NSW include, where the drug has been lawfully prescribed or supplied, or a person was acting in accordance with the direction(s) from the Commissioner of Police, or the person had no knowledge of the drug from where it was discovered by police.

Other defences to possessing drugs include, where the drug is discovered by police following an illegality by police. This will include an illegal search or arrest leading to the discovery of the drug.


Cannabis Caution Scheme for Possessing Small Amount of Cannabis in NSW

Where the drug is cannabis such as cannabis leaf, NSW police have a discretion to just give a warning without charge to a person who:

  1. Has possession of 15g or less of cannabis; and
  2. It was for personal use; and
  3. The person admits having in his/her possession; and
  4. The person isn’t involved in other criminal charge(s) during that time; and
  5. The person has no previous criminal record relating to drugs, violence or sexual assault; and
  6. The person has not previously received a caution more than twice.

The above is referred to as the cannabis caution scheme in NSW, which only applies to cannabis.


On-The-Spot Fine for Possessing Prohibited Drugs in NSW

As to possession of a prohibited drug (other than Cannabis leaf) in NSW, as of January 2019, police are able to issue penalty notice fines of up to $400 to anyone who:

  1. Has possession of a prohibited drug weighing equal to or less than the ‘small quantity’ of that drug.
  2. Has possession of a drug if it’s capsule(s) of ecstasy/MDMA weighing 0.25g or less.
  3. Has possession of a drug if it’s in a form other than capsule weighing less than 0.75g.

In order to be guilty of possessing a prohibited drug in Court, the prosecution must first satisfy the court beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. The accused person had possession of the drug; and
  2. The accused person had the requisite knowledge as to the existence of the drug from where it was discovered by police; and
  3. The drug is a ‘prohibited drug’ under the law in NSW.

Click here on a guide on how to get a section 10 non-conviction for drug possession in NSW?

Have a question on drug law in NSW?

Call our friendly staff to arrange a free consult with a criminal lawyer from Sydney or Parramatta today.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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