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Organising a Drug Premises to which a Child has Access

Organising a drug premises to which a child has access is an offence under section 36Z(2) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 months in prison for a first offence or 6 years in prison for a second or subsequent offence.

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

  1. You organised, conducted or assisted in the organisation or conduct of a drug premises
  2. The premises was a drug premises
  3. You knew a child had access to the premises, and
  4. As a consequence of that access, the child was exposed to:
  • A prohibited drug or plant
  • A drug supply process, or
  • Equipment capable of being used to administer a prohibited drug

Assisting in the organisation or conduct of a premises includes acting as a lookout, door attendant or guard for the premises.

A ‘drug premises’ is defined as any premises used for:

  1. The unlawful supply or manufacture of prohibited drugs, or
  2. The unlawful commercial cultivation of prohibited plants by enhanced indoor means.

A ‘prohibited drug’ does not include cannabis leaf, oil or resin.

‘Commercial cultivation’ is where the cultivation relates to:

  1. At least a commercial quantity of prohibited plants, or
  2. At least a small quantity but less than the commercial quantity of prohibited plants where the plants or their products are intended for sale.

Cultivation is ‘by enhanced indoor means’ if it occurs:

  1. Inside a building or structure, and
  2. Involves nurturing the plant in nutrient-enriched water, and/or applying an artificial light or heat source, and/or suspending the plant’s roots and spraying them with nutrient solution.

It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that you had a prohibited drug or plant in your possession at the time of the alleged offence, or that prohibited drugs or plants were actually found on the premises.

A ‘drug supply process’ is any method used to supply or manufacture prohibited drugs, or to cultivate prohibited plants.

A ‘child’ is defined as a person under the age of 16 years.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that you did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to have known, that the premises was a drug premises, or that the exposure of the child did not endanger his or her health or safety.

Duress and necessity are defences to the charge.

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