When Are ‘Drug Premises Used for the Commercial Cultivation of a Prohibited Plant by Enhanced Indoor Means’?
The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 contains offences relating to drug premises, which include:
- Entering, leaving or being on drug premises under section 36X, and
- Allowing the use of premises as drug premises under section 36Y.
Section 36TA defines a ‘drug premises’ as one used for:
- The unlawful supply or manufacture of prohibited drugs, or
- The unlawful commercial cultivation of prohibited plants by enhanced indoor means.
Section 36TA defines ‘commercial cultivation’ as that which relates to:
- At least a commercial quantity of prohibited plants, or
- 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:
- Inside a building or structure, and
- 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.
Section 36W(3) provides that when determining whether a premises is being used for the commercial cultivation of a prohibited plant by enhanced indoor means.
The court may consider evidence that:
- A police officer authorised to enter the premises was wilfully prevented, delayed or obstructed from doing so
- The premises was fitted externally or internally with bolts, bars or chains for the purpose of preventing, delaying or obstructing access
- A person was acting as a lookout to warn of police approaching the premises
- The premises had electric lights of 250 watts or higher, red and blue fluorescent lights, high intensity discharge lamps, ballasts, lamp mounts, reflectors or growing chambers
- The premises had materials on hydroponic or other enhanced indoor methods of cultivation
- The premises or a person on the premises had cannabis seeds, leaves, plants or clones
- The premises or a person on the premises had minerals, chemicals or nutrients typically used for enhanced indoor cultivation of cannabis plants, or the packaging for these items
- The premises had abnormally high or low electricity usage
- The premises had unauthorised connections to, or bypasses of, the electricity supply
- The premises had blacked out or boarded up windows, or condensation on windows
- The premises had air vents, fan systems or exhaust fans in unusual places or numbers
- The premises had generators that were continuously running
- The premises had security devices
- Draft excluders were fitted to an external door or doors of the premises
- The premises had materials kept or used in connection with the unlawful cultivation of a prohibited plant by enhanced indoor means
- The premises had a large amount of money that was not accounted for, and/or
- A person or persons on the premises appeared to be affected by a prohibited drug or plant.