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Possessing Prohibited Drug Precursors

Possessing prohibited drug precursors is an offence under section 24B of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison if the case is finalised in a higher court, such as the District Court, or 2 years if it remains in the Local Court.

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

  1. You possessed a precursor, and
  2. The quantity of the precursor was at least that prescribed by the regulations.

A ‘precursor’ means a substance that is:

  1. Capable of being used to manufacture or produce a prohibited drug, and
  2. Is specified by the regulations as a precursor for the purposes of the section.

Schedule 4 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Regulation 2011 contains a list of precursors and corresponding quantities captured by the offence, which include:

  1. At least 100mls of Safrole, Sassafras oil or Anethole
  2. At least 250mls of Hypophosphorous acid, 1-Phenyl-1-propanone or Phosphorous acid
  3. At least 1 litre of Hydriodic acid, Pyridine or Acetic anhydride, or
  4. At least 1.5 litres of Gamma hydroxybutanoic acid, 4-Hydroxybutanal  or 2-Pyrrolidone.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that:

  1. You possessed the precursor for a lawful purpose, or
  2. You otherwise had a reasonable excuse for possessing the precursor.

Defences to the charge include duress and necessity.

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