Drug Cultivation

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Drug Cultivation

Drug cultivation is also known as cultivating a prohibited plant, and is a criminal offence under Section 23 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. If you are found growing or cultivating plants such as cannabis or opium poppies, you can be charged and face conviction. Drug cultivation includes watering, supplying plants, and having prohibited plants in your possession.

Pleading Not Guilty

[full]In order to prove that you are guilty of drug cultivation, the prosecution needs to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you cultivated or knowingly took part in the cultivation of a plant and that the plant was a prohibited plant. If you don’t believe that one or both of the above are true in your case, you can plead not guilty and the matter will be dealt with in court. If you choose to plead not guilty, you will need to prepare evidence to support your defence.[/full]



To successfully defend yourself against drug cultivation charges, you need to be able to cast reasonable doubt on the possibility that you knowingly cultivated or took part in the cultivation of a prohibited plant. This can be done by demonstrating any gaps in the prosecution’s case, and providing another reasonable explanation.


Pleading Guilty

[full]If you committed the offence, pleading guilty can often be the best course of action to take. Pleading guilty means that you can have the matter dealt with quickly, and it can encourage the judge or magistrate to look on you more leniently, or even award you a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order’, which means you won’t face any penalties.[/full]



Drug cultivation penalties depend on the type and number of plants involved. For smaller numbers of cannabis plants for example, the matter is often dealt with summarily with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or a fine of $2,200. For indictable quantities of cannabis, the maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000. The maximum penalty for cultivating large commercial quantities of cannabis is 20 years in prison and/or a $550,000 fine, while the penalty for plants other than cannabis can be as much as life imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.

Other penalties that you can be given for drug cultivation include:
– A Good behaviour bond
– A Community service order
– A suspended sentence
– An intensive correction order
– Home detention[/quotes]


Penalties for drug cultivation can be severe, so always seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced drug lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome from your drug cultivation matter, whether you choose to plead guilty or not guilty.

Why Sydney Drug Lawyers?

[full]Drug cultivation is treated seriously by the law – so it’s important to get the right lawyers on your side.

Unlike ‘general’ law firms, the team at Sydney Drug Lawyers specialises exclusively in drug law, which means that we have the skills and experience necessary to get the best results in your cultivation case by finding problems with the prosecution case. Don’t waste time talking to inexperienced general lawyers – get the best drug lawyers on your side today by calling (02) 9264 5778.[/full]


Recent Drug Cultivation Cases

Our 37 year old client was initially charged with 'strictly indictable' offences of 'cultivate by enhanced indoor means prohibited plant for commercial purpose' for growing 14 large cannabis plants under 4 tents in his Camperdown apartment and with supplying ecstacy.

He was also charged with several other offences involving selling fake goods and possessing prescribed restricted substances.

He was told by 2 other Sydney criminal law firms that:

  1. the case would have to go up to the District Court because the two main charges are 'strictly indictable' and at least one would not be withdrawn,
  2. he could not participate in the drug MERIT program due to the charges, and
  3. he would likely receive between 15 months and 2 years full time prison, due to the seriousness of the charges and a previous conviction that he had.

He then came to Sydney Criminal Lawyers® who fought and succeeded in:

  1. having both of the 'strictly indictable' charges downgraded (to straight 'cultivation' and 'possession' only)- so that the case stayed in Downing Centre Local Court rather than going to the District Court which would have exposed him to higher penalties,
  2. convincing the Magistrate to let him undertake the MERIT program, which he completed, and then
  3. obtaining section 9 Good Behaviour Bonds and small fines only.

It pays to have a confident and superior defence team on your side.

Our client was a 37 year old male who was charged with a variety of offences, including 'cultivating a prohibited plant for commercial purposes' for growing 14 large cannabis plants in his Camperdown apartment.

He came to us after two other law firms told him that he would likely face 15 months to 2 years in prison.

He was also told that due to the seriousness of the charges, he would not be able to participate in the MERIT program, and the matter would have to be dealt with in the District Court.

However, with the help of the experts at Sydney Drug Lawyers, he was able to have the charges downgraded to ‘cultivation’ and ‘possession’ for personal purposes only. This meant that the case stayed in the Local Court, where the penalties are much lower.

Our client was also able to undertake the MERIT Program and ended up with a section 9 good behaviour bond, as well as a number of small fines – a great result considering other law firms had advised him that he was facing gaol time.

The specialist drug lawyers at Sydney Drug Lawyers frequently obtain excellent results in complex cases where other lawyers have given up hope.


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