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Cannabis Offences

Cannabis Offences – Drug Offences – SA

What the Law States according to SA Law for Cannabis Offences

According to SA Law for the charge of Cannabis Offences,

What is a ‘simple’ cannabis offence?  
A simple cannabis offence applies to offences of possessing up to 100 grams of cannabis, or 20 grams of cannabis resin, or smoking cannabis in private, or possessing equipment (for example, pipes, bongs) or cultivating not more than 1 cannabis plant. [Controlled Substances Act 1984 s45A]

The Maximum Penalty – Cannabis Offences

According to SA Law for the charge of Cannabis Offences,

Cannabis Expiation Notice
Where a person commits a ‘simple’ cannabis offence the police have discretion to issue a Cannabis Expiation Notice.
This requires payment of an ‘on the spot’ fine and allows an individual to avoid prosecution in court.
The expiation notice must be given to the alleged offender stating that the offence may be expiated by payment to the Commissioner of Police of the prescribed expiation fee before the expiration of 28 days from the date of the notice. The notice may be given personally to the alleged offender or posted to his or her last known place of residence.No prosecution for expiated offences  
Where the offence is expiated (that is, the fee paid within time) no prosecution for the offence shall proceed. In addition, the payment of an expiation fee will not be regarded as an admission of guilt
[Expiation of Offences Act 1996   s 15(4)]. If the amount of the expiation notice is not paid the person will receive a summons to go to court. If the offence is expiated, any substance and equipment may also be forfeited [s 15(5)].

Reminder notice
If an expiation notice is not paid, a reminder notice is issued. Enforcement proceedings will be taken to recover the amount and enforcement costs, see: the sentencing process. The matter would not normally go to court unless the offence is disputed.

Prosecution only after expiation notice issued
A prosecution in court for a ‘simple cannabis offences’ can only be commenced after the person has been given an expiation notice [Controlled Substances Act 1984   s.45A(2)]. In the event that a summons is issued instead, then the court hearing should be adjourned to enable the Police to give the person the opportunity of being served with an expiation notice and expiating the offence. This is desirable as, if the matter is expiated, no criminal record results.

Hydroponically grown cannabis excluded
Cannabis grown hydroponically is specifically excluded from the Cannabis Expiation Notice scheme.

Possession in a public place
An offence for smoking in a public place may not be dealt with in this way. ‘Public place’ is quite widely defined and includes smoking in a motor vehicle or public transport. People who get caught smoking cannabis in hotel car parks and similar places may be prosecuted and convicted in court.

Commercial purpose attracts higher penalties 

If there is any suggestion that the possession or cultivation of less than the prescribed amount is for a ‘commercial purpose’, then the offence attracts greater penalties.
Higher penalty even for own use if quantity exceeds 1 plant
Also where a person is found guilty of cultivating more than 1 plant but under 5, the maximum penalty in such cases is $500. When the number of plants is over 5 but under 10, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $2000. [s.33K   Controlled Substances Act 1984  ] If you are able to prove that the plants were for personal use or supply and not sale, regardless of the number, then this penalty will also apply. However, this would be difficult with large numbers of plants.

 Offence Expiation Fee
 Less than 25grams of cannibis  $150
 Between 25 and 100 grams of cannabis  $300
 Less than 5 grams of resin  $150
 Between 5 and 20 grams of resin  $300
 For smoking or consumption in private  $150
 For pipes or other equipment (provided it is not for commercial purposes)  $150
 For pipes or other equipment (if there are other offences)  $30
 Non-commercial cultivation (1 plant only, but not hydroponically cultivated)  $300

More serious charges likely if evidence of sale or supply  
If a person has no drugs, or only a small amount, but there is evidence that the person has sold or supplied drugs (even sharing with a friend), the person will face a more serious charge and will have to appear in court. The penalties for sale are more severe than for supply.

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