Minor Possession & Redemption
When it comes to the Cannabis Laws in South Australia, there is a common misconception. So, let us make it clear that weed is still very much illicit. Under the Controlled Substances Act 1984, possession, smoking, or distribution of marijuana is an offense. So, it is said that the redemption system in place there in SA makes it far less of a risk to possess small amounts than in other states.
Under the Expiation of Offenses Act 1996, a police officer can expiate simple cannabis offenses. Redemption is a small fine given in lieu of prosecution. There is a need to pay it within 28 days. Imposition of these charges are for possessing the following:
- Cultivation of one cannabis plant without artificial enhancement (no commercial fertilizers, no artificial lighting, and/or non-hydro)
- Possession of up to 100g of marijuana
- Possession of up to 20g of marijuana resin
- Smoking marijuana (except in public places)
- Possession of smoking apparatus
Notices of redemption are subject to the following conditions:
- The recipient is of the age of 18 years or more
- They might relate to up to 3 offenses that are arising from the same incident
- They will not get charges of cultivation or possession for commercial purposes or supply. It is the case even if the whole amount is less than the simple marijuana offense threshold
- If provided a redemption notice then you might select to opt instead for prosecution
On the basis of the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors & Plants) Regulations 2014, current redemption fines are as follows.
- Less than 25g of marijuana: $150
- Between 25g & 100g of marijuana: $300
- Less than 5g of resin: $150
- Between 5g & 20g of resin: $300
- Equipment for doing the preparation or consumption of marijuana or resin: $150. +$30 when these also include other offenses related to simple cannabis
Smoking or Consumption
- Smoking or consumption of cannabis or resin (except in public places): $150
If you commit those offenses in South Australia then you will get redemption notices. So, basically, you are safe from prosecution as long as you are keeping your quantities of marijuana low. In addition to this if you don’t smoke in public places. You also have to pay your redemption fines on time! There will incur a late notice and other fines if the time taken is more than 28 days. If you are taking any longer time than that then you are risking prosecution.
Once you have moved beyond one marijuana plant, or you are starting to make use of ‘artificial enhancement’ in your growing. Then in South Australian courts, you become subject to much harsher penalties. In the Controlled Substances Act (1984), Artificial enhancement is defined as:
- Cultivation of marijuana in a solution that consists of complete or partial water enriched with nutrients; or
- Cultivation that involves the utilization of an artificial source of heat or light;
Maximum penalties and quantities for the cultivation offenses related to marijuana are as follows:
- 1 plant (no artificial enhancement): redemption notice & fine of $300
- 2 to 4 plants: 6 months imprisonment and/or $1000 fine
- 6 to 9 plants: 2 years of imprisonment and/or $2000 fine
- trafficable quantity (10 to 19 plants): 15 years of imprisonment and/or $75,000
- commercial quantity (20 to 99 plants): life imprisonment and/or $5,00,000
- large commercial quantity (100+ plant): life imprisonment and/or $5,00,000
It might be very rare that these maximums have ever reached. Actual penalties might be necessarily lower. It is except in those cases that includes seriously negligent legal advice or organized crime.
- Supply & low-level cultivation offenses related to marijuana or say growing hydro. The prosecution of this happens in South Australia. Each of these carries a maximum fine of $2000 and/or 2 years imprisonment.
- Charges for cultivation or trafficking of marijuana are tried summarily in the Magistrates Court by a judge without a jury. If the sentence is likely to be more than 5 years, then-District Court will handle these cases. You will be tried and indicated before a jury. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and $50,000 for an offense in this case. It extends up to 15 years and $75,000 for an aggravated offense.
- Cultivation or a commercial or large commercial quantity, or sale or trafficking can carry a sentence of up to 25 years of imprisonment and $2,00,000. Generally, charges in this range are there for the whole grow house. So, recreational stoners must not worry about this.
- If there is no issuance of redemption notice, then charges on simple cannabis offenses typically carry a $500-$1000 maximum fine. The criminal record that used to come with prosecution is going to be much worse than the damage to your bank account.