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Commercial Cannabis Cultivation

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation is an offence under Section 303.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You cultivated at least 250 kg of cannabis or 1,000 cannabis plants
  2. You knew, or were reckless as to whether, the substance was, or plants were, cannabis, and
  3. You did so for a commercial purpose

‘Cultivate’ means:

  1. To plant a seed, seedling or cutting
  2. To transplant a plant
  3. To nurture, tend or grow a plant
  4. To guard or conceal a plant, or
  5. To harvest a plant, pick any part of it or separate any resin or substance from it

You ‘cultivated’ a plant if:

  1. You engaged in its cultivation
  2. You exercised discretion or control over its cultivation, or
  3. You provided finance for its cultivation

A ‘commercial purpose’ is where:

  1. You intended to sell any of the plant or its products, or
  2. You believed another person intended to sell any of the plant or its products

A ‘product’ of the plant is:

  1. A seed of the plant
  2. A part of the plant, whether dead or alive, or
  3. a substance separated from the plant

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware it was likely that the substance or plant was cannabis but went ahead with your actions regardless.

A defence to the charge is ‘duress’, which is where:

  1. Your actions were due to a threat of death or serious injury to you and/or a family member
  2. There was no reasonable way for you to render the threat ineffective, and
  3. Your conduct was a reasonable response to the threat

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