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Manufacture, Cultivation and Sale

In addition to user offences, there are a range of offences relating to the manufacture, cultivation and sale of controlled drugs, plants or precursors.

Under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA), it is an offence to:

  • manufacture a controlled drug intending to sell any of it or believing another person intends to sell it [s 33];
  • sell a controlled precursor, believing that the buyer or someone else intends to use any of it to unlawfully manufacture a controlled drug [s 33A];
  • cultivate controlled plants intending to sell them or their products or believing another person intends to sell it [s 33B];
  • sell or intend to sell controlled plants [s 33C];
  • manufacture a controlled drug (without intention to sell) or possess a controlled precursor or prescribed equipment with the intention to manufacture [s 33J].

Precursors are certain defined substances that are used in the manufacturing process to make controlled drugs [see the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014 (SA)].

Penalties in relation to controlled drugs

There is a distinction that affects the penalty between large commercial quantity and commercial quantity of a controlled drug.

Large Commercial Quantities

Offences involving large commercial quantities attract a maximum fine of $1 000 000 and/or life imprisonment. (This offence does not have an 'aggravated offence' type). [See Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) s 33(1)].

Commercial Quantities

Offences involving commercial quantities attract a maximum fine of $200 000 and/or 25 years imprisonment [s 33(2)(a)(ii)].

Aggravated offences of manufacturing controlled drugs involving commercial quantities, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, attract a maximum fine of $500 000 and/or life imprisonment [ss 33(2)(a)(i); 33(2)(b)].

Less than commercial quantities

If the quantity of drug is lower than the commercial quantity, then the penalty for a basic offence is a maximum fine of $50 000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years [s 33(3)(a)(ii)].

The penalty for an aggravated offence, or an offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, is a maximum fine of $75 000 and/or imprisonment for 15 years [ss 33(3)(a)(i), 33(3)(b)].

For example:

Controlled Drug Large Commercial Quantity Commercial Quantity
MDMA .75kg (pure)/1kg (mixed) 0.1kg (pure)/0.5kg (mixed)
Cannabis 2kg (pure)/12.5kg (mixed) 1kg (pure)/2.5kg (mixed)
Heroin 0.75kg (pure)/1kg (mixed) 0.1kg (pure)/0.2kg (mixed)0.1kg (pure)/0.2kg (mixed)
LSD 0.015 kg 0.005 kg

For these and other quantities see the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014 (SA).

Further definition of manufacture, cultivation and sale

Persons take part in manufacture, cultivation or sale if they:

  • take or cause any step to be taken in the process
  • provide or arrange finance for a step in the process
  • provide or permit premises to be used
  • guard or conceal drugs or related materials or equipment
  • store drugs or related materials or equipment
  • carry, transport, load or unload
  • package
  • buy plants, equipment, substances or materials.

All of these actions are punished in the same way as the manufacture, cultivation or sale offences.

Penalties in relation to controlled precursors

The penalties for selling or manufacturing controlled precursors (the chemicals needed to make some controlled drugs) are also dependant on the amount of precursor involved.

Basic offences involving large commercial quantities attract a maximum fine of $200 000 and/or imprisonment for 25 years [s 33A(1)(a)(ii)]. Aggravated offences of manufacturing precursors involving large commercial quantities, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, attract a maximum fine of $500 000 and/or imprisonment for life [ss 33A(1)(a)(i), s 33A(1)(b)].

Basic offences involving commercial quantities attract a maximum fine of $75 000 and/or imprisonment for 15 years [s 33A(2)(a)(ii)]. Aggravated offences involving commercial quantities of precursors, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, attract a maximum fine of $200 000 and/or imprisonment for 25 years [ss 33A(2)(a)(i), 33A(2)(b)].

Any amounts below these for a basic offence attract the maximum penalty of $50 000 and/or imprisonment of 10 years [see ss 33A(3)(a)(ii); s 33A(4)(a)(ii); 33A(5)(a)(ii)]. For an aggravated offence, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, a maximum penalty of $75 000 and/or imprisonment of 15 years applies [see ss 33A(3)(a)(i); 33A(3)(b); 33A(4)(a)(i); 33A(4)(b); 33A(5)(b)].

Cultivation of Controlled Plants for Sale

A person can be charged with cultivating plants for sale, and the penalty will depend on the quantity of plants.

A person who cultivates a large commercial quantity of a controlled plant with the intention to sell them or their products is guilty of an offence [s 33B(1)].

Maximum penalty: a fine of up to $1 000 000 or imprisonment for life, or both [s 33B(1)].

The maximum penalty for cultivating a commercial quantity of a controlled plant with the intention to sell them or their product is a fine of up to $200 000, or imprisonment for 25 years, or both [33B(2)(a)(ii)]. For an aggravated offence, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $500 000, and/or imprisonment for life [s 33B(2)(a)(i); 33B(2)(b)].

A person who cultivates a non commercial quantity of a controlled plant for sale will face a fine of up to $50 000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years [s 33B(3)(a)(i)]. For an aggravated offence, or a basic offence where the offenders is a serious drug offender, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $75 000 and/or imprisonment for 15 years [ss 33B(3)(a)(i); 33B(3)(b)].

Sale of Controlled Plants

The actual sale of controlled plants also constitutes an offence and the penalty will differ depending on the quantity of controlled plants for sale.

A person who sells, or intends to sell, a large commercial quantity of controlled plants is guilty of an offence [s 33C(1)].

Maximum penalty: a fine of up to $100 000 or imprisonment for life, or both [s 33C(1)].

The maximum penalty for a basic offence of selling, or intending to sell, a commercial quantity of controlled plants is a fine of up to $200 000 and/or imprisonment for 25 years [s 33C(2)(a)(ii)]. For an aggravated offence, or a basic offence where the offenders is a serious drug offender, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $500 000 and/or imprisonment for life [ss 33C(2)(a)(i); 33C(2)(b)].

A person who sells a non-commercial quantity of controlled plants will face a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $50 000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years [s 33C(3)(a)(ii)]. For an aggravated offence, or a basic offence where the offender is a serious drug offender, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $75 000 and/or imprisonment for 15 years [ss 33C(3)(a)(i); 33C(3)(b)].

Manufacture, Cultivation and Sale  :  Last Revised: Mon Apr 1st 2019
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