Supplying or knowingly taking part in the supply of prohibited drugs is an offence under section 25(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.

Three common drug supply offences in this Act are:

  • Supply Prohibited Drug
  • Deemed Supply
  • Ongoing Supply


In order to be found guilty of a drug supply offence the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused supplied or knowingly took part in the supply of a prohibited drug.

“Supply” has a very broad meaning and can include simply sharing drugs with a friend.

Under section 3 of the Act supply can include:

  • Selling and distributing;
  • Agreeing to supply;
  • Offering to supply;
  • Keeping or having in possession for supply;
  • Sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for supply;
  • Authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things.

Prohibited drugs are listed under Schedule 1 of the Act.

Deemed Supply

A person is “deemed” to be supplying a prohibited drug if they have a specific quantity in their possession. Under section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act this occurs when a person has in their possession a traffickable quantity of a prohibited drug.

Under this section, the prosecution does not have to prove intent to supply. However, the accused cannot be convicted of this offence if they prove that, on the balance of probabilities, the drugs were for personal use.

Penalties for Supply and Deemed Supply

Depending on the quantity found there is a broad range of penalties that can be enforced if an offender is found guilty of or pleads guilty to this offence.

Penalties for some of the more common prohibited drugs are outlined below:

QuantityCannabis leafCocaineHeroinMDMA (Ecstasy)Penalty
Small30g1g1g0.25gLocal Court: 2 years imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine.
District Court: 15 years imprisonment (10 years for cannabis) and/or a $220,000 fine
Traffickable300g3g3g0.75gLocal Court: 2 years imprisonment and/or a $11,000 fine
Indictable1kg5g5g1.25gDistrict Court: 15 years imprisonment (10 years for cannabis) and/or a $220,000 fine
Commercial25kg250g250g125gDistrict Court: 20 years imprisonment (15 years for cannabis) and/or a $385,000 fine
Large Commercial100kg1kg1kg0.5kgDistrict Court: Life imprisonment (20 years for cannabis) and/or a $550,000 fine

Ongoing Supply

Ongoing supply is a crime under section 25A of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.

It occurs when a person:

  1. Supplies a prohibited drug (other than cannabis);
  2. On three or more separate occasions during any period of 30 consecutive days;
  3. For financial or material reward.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 20 years imprisonment and/or a $385,000 fine.

Sentencing for supply offences

The court may consider the following factors in determining the appropriate sentence for this charge:

  • The seriousness of the offending conduct;
  • The accused’s criminal history;
  • The sophistication involved in the offence;
  • At what stage of the proceedings the accused entered a plea of guilty to the offence;
  • The role of the offender in the supply or chain of supply;
  • Any rehabilitation or treatment the accused has completed;
  • Whether the accused can demonstrate prior good character;
  • Other factors the court considers relevant.

The court can impose the following sentences depending on the circumstances of the offending conduct, the quantity of the drug found and the accused’s subjective circumstances:

  • Conditional Release Order without conviction
  • Conditional Release Order with conviction
  • Section 10A (conviction and no further penalty)
  • Fine
  • Community Corrections Order
  • Intensive Corrections Order
  • Sentence of full-time imprisonment

If you have been charged with supplying a prohibited drug, call Karnib & Co Lawyers at any time on 0450503696 or email us on [email protected] to arrange a free consultation. For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime anywhere around the world.