LSD Drugs and the Law in Australia


Acid Drug | What is LSD and What Does it Stand For?

LSD stands for ‘Lysergic Acid Diethylamide’, and is a hallucinogen, which can distort the senses of a user. LSD is a potent psychedelic drug which causes its users to experience intensified emotions, senses, perception and thoughts. It can manifest auditory, visual and mental hallucinations.

‘Acid’ is a term commonly used to refer to the drug LSD. It is considered a schedule 9 substance at the federal level and a prohibited drug at the state level. Here is more on drug possession penalties.

What Type of Drug is LSD?

LSD is a type of hallucinogen. It belongs to the type of drugs commonly known as psychedelics. It’s effects on users ranges dependent on the level of dosage digested. With small dosages, the effects can be mild changes in thought, mood and perception. Larger doses may create different symptoms of visual hallucinations and distortions of time and space.


What Does LSD Look Like?

It can come in liquid, tablet, or capsule forms, but is most commonly sold as solution dried on pieces of blotting paper or gelatine sheets.

On the street, it may be encountered in sheets of absorbent paper printed with creative designs and perforated so they may be torn into single small squares containing a dose.

It is thus ordinarily swallowed, including via a liquid dropper, or dissolved under the tongue.

LSD is also colloquially referred to as acid, tabs or ‘lucy’, or is otherwise known, including under legislation, as lysergic acid, lysergic acid diethylamide or lysergide.


How Long Do the Effects of LSD Last?

Its effects are usually experienced within 20-60 minutes after administration. Users typically report effects for six to eleven hours, however, this can vary and may be longer, depending on the user and dose taken.

The effects will depend upon the quantity consumed, the user’s size, general health, mood, past experiences with the drug, and whether they have used it on its own or with other drugs.


What is LSD Like? | LSD Side Effects

Such effects may include feeling euphoria, perceptual distortions, a distorted sense of time, rapidly changing emotions, an altered state of thinking and depersonalisation.

It may also lead to increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and feelings of anxiety.

These negative side-effects can create the experience of a ‘bad trip’.

It is reported that repeat uses may create long term impacts of flashbacks, poorer memory, depression, and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (‘HPPD’).

HPPD is an incredibly rare condition, in which repeat users of hallucinogenic substances continue to experience perceptual distortions, after ceasing to use hallucinogens.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the use of hallucinogens across the country may be increasing.


LSD Statistics

Between 2016 to 2019, those who have used hallucinogens in their lifetime increased from 9.4% to 10.4% and recent use increased from 1.0% to 1.6%, with use increasing to its highest proportions since 2001

A majority of those (73%) who used hallucinogens, had used LSD.


Is LSD Legal?

LSD, referred to as lysergic acid and lysergide, is a schedule 9 substance and is thus considered a ‘prohibited substance’, as per the most recent Commonwealth Poisons Standard. At the federal level, the possession and supply of LSD is criminalised across each Australian state and territory. However, each state and territory of Australia have their own laws on LSD.


What is LSD Made From?

LSD is a synthetic chemical. It is made from ergot which is a fungus that infects grain or rye. LSD is made from creating fungus on seeds of rye. This then forms a hallucinogenic drug that can change the way people look, think and experience the world.


What is Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are a type of drug that can distort a person’s perception of reality. It’s also commonly known as a psychedelic substance/drug across the world and are either derived from plants or synthetically made. Manufactured hallucinogens include LSD, Phencyclidine (‘angel dust’), and ketamine. Plant based hallucinogens include peyote cactus compounds found in certain plants, and psilocybin which is found in some mushrooms (‘magic mushrooms’).


Is LSD Illegal in New South Wales?

In NSW, LSD is a prohibited drug, as prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).

It is included by reference to lysergic acid and lysergide, and their derivatives which have hallucinogenic properties.

Section 10 outlines that it is illegal to possess LSD in NSW, with this offence carrying a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail and/or a $2,200 fine.

Sentencing statistics reveal that over 50% of drug possession cases are dealt with by way of a conviction and fine, with a majority ranging from $200 – $750.

However, where the matter involves hallucinogens, over 45% of offenders receive a Conditional Release Order, without conviction.

Police also have the discretion to issue an on-the-spot fine of $400 to those possessing LSD (in a quantity that does not exceed the small quantity), as per Schedule 4 of the Criminal Procedure Regulation 2017 (NSW).

This fine is referred to as a ‘penalty infringement notice’ and will not show up on a criminal record.

For LSD, 0.0002g is a classified as a discrete dosage unit (‘DDU’).

DDU is utilised to signify an amount of the prohibited drug which is prepared for the purpose of being administered as a single dose.

Furthermore, 0.0008 grams or 4DDU is classified as a small quantity, 0.003 grams or 15 DDU is a traffickable quantity, 0.005grams or 25DDU is an indictable quantity, 0.0005kg is a commercial quantity and 0.002kg is a large commercial quantity.

A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of, LSD is guilty of an offence, pursuant to section 25(1).

If the offence involves less than a commercial quantity, the matter can be dealt with summarily, and involves a maximum penalty of a $5,500 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Where it involves an amount which is not less than a ‘commercial’ quantity, the offence carries an applicable maximum penalty of a fine of $385,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment.

If the quantity involved is not less than the large commercial quantity, the maximum penalty rises to a $550,000 fine and/or life imprisonment.

Offences involving commercial and large commercial quantities are ‘strictly indictable’, which means that they cannot be dealt with in the Local Court and therefore will be heard before the District Court.

Here is table outlining the indictable quantity drugs in NSW.


Is LSD Illegal in Victoria?

In Victoria, LSD or ‘lysergic acid’ is considered a ‘drug of dependence’ as outlined in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (VIC).

The use or attempted use of LSD is criminalised under section 75, whereas possession is an offence as per section 73(1).

A maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment and/or a $5,547.60 fine (30 penalty units x current value of $184.92) is applicable to both offences.

Where the court cannot be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the possession was not for any purpose relating to trafficking, a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a $73,968 fine is applicable.

Trafficking is defined broadly to include manufacture, selling, exchanging, agreeing to sell, offering for sale, or having in possession for the purposes of sale.

A person who trafficks or attempts to traffick LSD , is guilty of an offence pursuant to section 71AC of the Act.

Where it involves less than a commercial quantity, which is 50⋅0 mg of LSD, a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment is applicable, as per section 71AA.

Where the offence does involve a commercial quantity, the offence carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

If the offence involves a large commercial quantity, which is 150⋅0 mg of LSD, a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $924,600 fine is applicable, as outlined in section 71.


Is LSD Illegal in Queensland?

In Queensland, lysergide is a schedule 1 dangerous drug, as outlined in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (QLD).

Possession is criminalised under section 9 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (QLD), providing a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment, where the amount of lysergide exceeds 0.4 grams.

Where the amount does not exceed this, the offence instead carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

Supply of a dangerous drug is an offence, pursuant to section 6 of the Act.

Where supply involves LSD, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment applies, where the offence is not considered ‘aggravated’.

The circumstances of aggravation include where the person supplied is a minor, an intellectually impaired person, or was supplied within an educational institution or correctional facility.

If one of these circumstances applies, the maximum penalty increases to 25 years or life imprisonment.


Is LSD Illegal in Western Australia?

In Western Australia, lysergic acid diethylamide is considered a ‘prohibited drug’ as outlined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981(WA).

It is an offence to possess or use LSD, as per section 6(2), with a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine applicable.

It is also an offence to have LSD in one’s possession with intent to sell or supply it to another, manufacture or prepare LSD or sell, supply, or offer sell or supply it, as per section 6(1).

Broadly, the maximum penalty for each of these varied offences is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine, as outlined in section 34(1)(aa).


Is LSD Illegal in South Australia?

In South Australia, lysergic acid diethylamide is labelled a ‘controlled substance’ as outlined in the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014 (SA).

It is an offence to possess, or administer LSD to oneself, as per section 33L of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA).

A maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine is applicable.

For LSD, 0.015 grams is considered a ‘trafficable’ quantity, 0.005kg is a ‘commercial quantity’ and 0.015kg is considered a ‘large commercial quantity’.

Supplying or administering LSD to another person, or having possession for the purposes of doing so, is also an offence, as per section 33I of the Act.

A maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine is applicable, where the offence is not aggravated via previous drug offences or association with a criminal organisation.

A maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment and/or a $200,000 fine is applicable where it involves a commercial quantity, whereas this rises to life imprisonment and/or a $1,000,000 fine where it involves a large commercial quantity of LSD.


Is LSD Illegal in Northern Territory?

In the Northern Territory, lysergic acid and lysergide, are considered ‘Schedule 1 dangerous drugs’ as outlined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1990 (NT).

The Act prohibits possession and supply of LSD, with maximum penalties dependant on the amount of the drug involved.

A traffickable amount of psilocybin is 0.002 grams, whereas 0.10 grams is considered a commercial quantity.

If a person possesses a less than a traffickable quantity of LSD in a public place, a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a $81,000 fine (500 penalty units x current value of $162) is applicable, as per section 7D.

This rises to 7 years imprisonment where it involves a traffickable quantity, or 14 years imprisonment where it involves a commercial quantity.

Where supply of LSD involves less than a commercial quantity, the maximum penalty applicable is 14 years imprisonment.

However, where it does involve a commercial quantity, a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment is applicable.

Increased penalties apply if the LSD was supplied to a child, or it was supplied in an indigenous community.


Is LSD Illegal in Tasmania?

In Tasmania, lysergic acid and lysergide (otherwise known as LSD), are controlled drugs as outlined in Part 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 (Tas).

As per section 24, it is an offence to possess, use or administer LSD to another person.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $9,050 fine (50 penalty units x current value of $181).

It is also an offence to sell or supply LSD to another person, as per section 26, which carries a maximum penalty of 4 years imprisonment and/or a $181,000 fine.

Section 12 criminalises trafficking in LSD, providing a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment.

The Act defines trafficking as including preparing a controlled substance for supply, as well as transporting, guarding, concealing, possessing, and importing a controlled substance.

The amount involved must be a trafficable quantity, which is 2mg.


Extra Reading Resources

Charged with a drug offence and want to plead guilty to it? have a look at our apology letter for drug offences guide to help guide what points should be covered. In addition, here is a guide on character reference letters for court drugs offences.


By Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.

About Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia

Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia are Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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