Cultivation of Narcotic Plants – Large commercial quantity

If you have been charged with cultivation of a large commercial quantity of narcotic plants, here is some information to know and consider in seeking legal advice with Emma Turnbull Lawyers.

Elements of the offence

For the prosecution to prove the offence of cultivation of narcotic plants – large commercial quantity, they must satisfy four elements of the offence. They can be found in s 72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) and are as follows:

  1. The accused intentionally cultivated or attempted to cultivate a plant;
  2. The plant cultivated by the accused was a narcotic plant; and
  3. The accused cultivated not less than a large commercial quantity applicable to the narcotic plant in question.

Will I have to go to court?

Charges for cultivation of narcotic plants in a large commercial quantity will be heard in either the County or Supreme Court, as it is an indictable offence. A charge for cultivation of narcotic plants will usually be heard by a Judge but may go to trial with a jury.

Once the case goes to court, it is up to the prosecution to prove the elements of the offence. It is important that you seek expert legal advice in building a defence as the possible penalties for this offence are serious.

Maximum penalty:

The maximum penalty a charge for cultivation of a narcotic plant in a commercial quantity is life imprisonment, known as Level 1 imprisonment.

What sentences are usually given?

According to the Sentencing Council Victoria, between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2016, 443 people were sentenced with cultivation of narcotic plants as the principal offence. From that number, 83.3% were given imprisonment sentences, with a maximum term of 8.75 years. The median length of an imprisonment sentence was 2.88 years.

Non-imprisonment sentences included Wholly Suspended Sentences (16.7%) (no longer available).

What do I do now?

To ensure the best chance of a successful defence, it is important to get in contact with an expert criminal lawyer as soon as possible. At Emma Turnbull Lawyers, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers who can assist you in defending this charge.