The following drug charge article was written by a practicing criminal lawyer with experience in drug charges. For information on other drugs charges, visit our Drug Charges home page.
In Queensland, it is a crime to produce a dangerous drug. “Production” refers to all acts involved in producing a dangerous drug, including cultivation, packaging, manufacturing and preparing. The legal definition is very broad, and also covers offering to do an act of production and doing or offering to do a preparatory act.
It is also an offence to possess or public instructions for producing a dangerous drug.
What are dangerous drugs?
Queensland drug law categorises drugs as Schedule 1 or 2. A Schedule 1 drug is the most serious categorisation. Examples of Schedule 1 drugs include Cocaine, Heroin, Amphetamine, MDMA/Ecstacy and Steroids.
Schedule 2 drugs include cannabis and LSD.
What are the defences to this charge?
There are a number of legal defences to a charge of producing dangerous drugs. These include:
that the drug in question was not a “dangerous drug”;
duress – that the accused person was not acting of their own free will;
that the evidence is insufficient to prove that a production of dangerous drugs occurred, or was about to occur.
What is my likely penalty for this offence?
Sentences for production of a dangerous drug vary greatly and can range from drug diversion up to and including imprisonment.
The maximum penalty for production of a Schedule 1 drug is 25 years imprisonment.
Some of the factors that affect the sentencing range include:-
whether the production was for commercial gain or personal use;
the quantity and quality of the drug that was produced;
the sophistication of the drug laboratory and the size of the production; and
the length of the time over which the accused person produced the dangerous drug.
If you or someone you know is charged with producing a dangerous drug, you should contact one of our Drug Lawyers today for expert advice.
Do I need a lawyer?
A conviction for an offence of producing dangerous drugs can have serious consequences and may impact upon your employment, travel and your ability to obtain finance.
Our lawyers have defended many people charged with producing dangerous drugs. We can assist you by:
Advising on your prospects of contesting a charge;
Guiding you through the court process;
Negotiating with the prosecution;
Suggesting ways to reduce penalty and the impact on your future;
Reducing some of your stress by answering the difficult questions; and
Appearing for you in court.
Contact one of our Drug Lawyers today to get some initial advice about your matter. We will make a stand for you.
What the law says
Section 8 of the Drug Misuse Act 1986 states:
A person who unlawfully produces a dangerous drug is guilty of a crime.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That the accused “produced”. Section 4 of the Drugs Misuse Act defines this to include doing, offering or doing anything in the furtherance of preparing, manufacturing, cultivating, packaging or producing. Harvesting a drug is included in this definition.
- It is a dangerous drug.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
Maximum penalties of imprisonment will depend on the type of drug you have produced and the quantities you have produced it in.
The Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987 divides dangerous drugs into more serious Schedule 1 drugs (eg. Amphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy) and less serious schedule 2 drugs (eg Cannabis, Barbital). The regulations then set out specified quantities of the drugs in schedules 3 and 4.
The following table sets out maximum lengths of imprisonment:
|Type of drug||Above those listed in Schedule 4||Above those listed in Schedule 3||Other Cases (lesser quantities)|
|Schedule 1||25 Years||25 Years
20 if drug dependant
Nb. must be below schedule 4 amounts
|Schedule 2||n/a||20 years||15 Years|
Factors which will influence the length of sentence will be:
- the size of the plantation, the sophistication of the project and its potential for profit;
- whether the production is for commercial gain or own use;
- the planning involved , the professionalism, and the degree of criminality or wickedness which is discernible;
- whether the offender is a principal, or (scaling downwards) a profit sharer, paid worker, or mere peripheral helper;
- the period over which the offender has been engaged in criminal enterprise;
- whether the offender has any prior convictions, especially of a criminal nature;
- Special factors common to most sentencing procedures, such as assistance to the police, early pleas etc.
Which court will hear the matter
Under section 13 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 certain (less serious with maximum penalties of less than 15 years) offences can be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court. These will be producing charges of schedule 2 drugs in quantities of dangerous drugs less than the amounts specified in schedule 3 of the Drugs Misuse Regulations.
Other (more serious) offences will be indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to:
- That the production was lawful;
- That this thing produced was not a dangerous drug;
- That the actions of the Defendant did not amount to production.