What are the Penalties for Manufacturing Drugs in NSW?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

Law breaker? Or Aussie bloke just trying to pay the bills?

You decide.

Either way, this news story is the epitome of a man who woke up one morning with the need to pay his mortgage and simply thought: Screw it, I’ll do it my way.

Enter South Australian man, Jamie Stephen Woodward who ran a business named Kronfectionary, selling cannabis-infused fairy floss and other cannabis-imbued items.

The 32-year-old sold the illegal products through a Facebook page.

Along with selling Nutella and lip balm – also infused with cannabis oil – the man said he was simply using the proceeds to pay off his mortgage.

 

Mr Woodward Lands Himself in Court on Manufacturing Drug Charges

Alas, this week, Mr Woodward found himself facing court on manufacturing drug charges.

This came about following a police raid of his house last year where approximately 11 kilograms of illegal goods were seized.

During the raid, police also discovered a fairy floss machine with traces of cannabis on it, along with bulk quantities of spreads, glycerine, chocolate syrup and food colouring.

Meanwhile, almost $13,000 worth of cannabis food items were logged in sales records.

However, the detection of other partly completed invoices signalled the business was actually turning over substantially more.

Mr Woodward ultimately pleaded guilty to manufacturing, possessing and trafficking charges.

 

Judge Wayne Chivell: An Act of Stupidity Rather Than Seriously Corrupt Behaviour

At Mr Woodward’s court appearance, District Court Judge Wayne Chivell said although the operation was sophisticated, it was indeed an act of stupidity rather than seriously corrupt behaviour.

“The products offered for sale and seized included lip balm, cookies, lollies, Nutella and other spreads and chocolate products infused with cannabis oil,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Woodward, who lost his job due to a back injury, told police he was using the proceeds to pay off his mortgage.

However, Judge Chivell said he handled his dealings with cannabis as a joke.

“More precisely, something of an in-joke with other cannabis users,” he said, pointing out that the 32-year-old developed a menu for the business, used advertising and marketing, had his customers pay by electronic funds transfer, and also provided tracking numbers when parcels were dispatched.

Ultimately, Judge Chivell handed Mr Woodward a wholly suspended 18-month jail term, along with a $1,000 good behaviour bond following his guilty plea to manufacturing, possessing and trafficking drug charges.

 

Cannabis and the Law in South Australia

In South Australia, it is illegal to keep, use, grow, sell or give away cannabis, cannabis oil or cannabis resin.

As outlined in Section 33L of the Controlled Substances Act 1984, in South Australia, any person who has possession of any cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabis oil, smokes or consumes any aforementioned cannabis product, or has possession of any piece of equipment for use in connection with the smoking or consumption or the preparation of these, is guilty of an offence and faces a maximum penalty of $2,000 and/or up to 2-years imprisonment.

For minor offences relating to personal possession or use of cannabis or cannabis resin by adults, Section 45A of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 outlines that this can be dealt with by an expiation, meaning that a fine does not attract a criminal conviction.

If a person is alleged to have committed a simple offence, as per Section 45A, a person can be expiated instead of being prosecuted.

Trafficking or large-scale cultivation and/or sale of cannabis plants constitutes a major indictable offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence varies depending on the quantity involved, and ranges between $50,000 to $500,000, or imprisonment for 15 years to life, or both.

 

War on Drugs: Increasing Fines for Cannabis Possession in South Australia Explained

While most of the world are decriminalising cannabis, in July 2018, an increase to the fines for cannabis possession became a recommendation of deputy coroner Anthony Schapel after his 2017 findings into the murder of 18-year-old Lewis McPherson by Liam Humbles in 2012.

Mr McPherson was shot dead outside a party in Adelaide by Mr Humbles, who that day had consumed alcohol, taken ecstasy and smoked cannabis.

Mr Humbles had undergone five drug diversion programs relating to drug possession – a drug diversion program being a form of sentence in which the criminal offender joins a rehabilitation program, which is to help remedy the behaviour leading to the arrest, and avoid conviction and a criminal record.

The deputy coroner thus recommended a limit to the number of diversions a young person could undergo.

He also recommended for an increase in the maximum cannabis possession fine.

What are the Penalties for Manufacturing Drugs in NSW?

The maximum penalty for manufacturing illicit drugs in NSW ranges from 2-years imprisonment to a life sentence under section 24 Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).

The applicable maximum penalty will depend on the quantity or weight of the illicit drug involved.

An person accused of this charge will be guilty only if the prosecution in court can prove beyond reasonable doubt that he/she either manufactured a prohibited drug, produced a prohibited drug, or ‘knowingly took part in’ manufacturing or producing a prohibited drug if the substance is in fact a prohibited drug.

‘Manufacture’ includes the process of extracting or even refining the prohibited drug. It includes manufacturing something for the purpose of using it in the manufacturing process for a desired end product. (section 36ZD Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW)).

On the other hand, ‘knowingly taking part in’ involves causing steps to be taken or taking steps (i.e. participating) in the process that goes into manufacturing the prohibited drug. A person can be guilty of ‘taking part in’ if he/she simply provides the premises in order to conduct the manufacturing of the prohibited drug.

You will be not guilty of drug manufacturing charges if your actions are considered merely taking steps in preparing the process of manufacturing, which can includes gathering or moving the ingredients to later be used in the manufacturing.

You will also be not guilty if you commit this crime under a necessity or duress.

For an outline of more defences to manufacturing prohibited drugs in NSW, click on our link to a previous article we have written on this here.

See below for the categories that various prohibited drugs are placed in based on weight/quantity:

Prohibited Plant/Drug Small Trafficable Indictable Commercial Large Commercial
Amphetamine 1 g 3.0 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 kg
Cannabis Leaf 30 g 300 g 1000 g 25.0 g 100 g
Cannabis Oil 2 g 5 g 10 g 500.0 g 2 kg
Cannabis Resin 5 g 30 g 90 g 2.5 Kg 10 Kg
Cocaine 1 g 3 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 Kg
Heroin 1 g 3 g 5 g 250.0 g 1 Kg
Lysergic acid 0.0008 g 0.003 g 0.005 g 0.5 g 2 g
Methylamphetamine 1 g 3 g 5 g 250 g 1 Kg
MDMA/Ecstasy 0.25 g 0.75 g 1.25 g 125 g 500g

 

See below for an outline of all the penalties involved in manufacturing drug charges in NSW:

Quantity If Local Court If District Court In District Court (Cannabis plant/leaf)
 

Less than Small Quantity

2 years prison and/or $5,500 fine 15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine 10 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
 

More than Small but less than Indictable Quantity

2 years prison and/or $11,000 fine 15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine 10 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
 

More than Indictable but less than Commercial Quantity

2 years prison and/or $11,000 fine 15 years prison and/or $220,000 fine 10 years prison and/or $220,000 fine
 

More than Commercial but less than Large Commercial Quantity

Cannot be dealt with in Local Court 20 years prison and/or $385,000 fine 15 years prison and/or $385,000 fine
 

More than Large Commercial Quantity

Cannot be dealt with in Local Court Life prison and/or $550,000 fine 20 years prison and/or $550,000 fine

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