In New South Wales, it is an offence to supply prohibited drugs. An offence of a prohibited drug supply carries a maximum penalty of 5,500 penalty units and/or life imprisonment. The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (‘the Act’) prohibits the cultivation, manufacture, supply, possession and use of certain drugs. The definition of supply under section 3 of the Act states that supply includes sell and distribute, and also includes agreeing to supply, or offering to supply, or keeping or having in possession for supply, or sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of those acts or things.

The Story

On Friday 24 April, Police from Sydney City Police Area Command stopped a Toyota Corolla on George Street. The Officers spoke to the drivers of the vehicle where they located and seized four containers of gamma-butyrolactone (GHB) weighing more than 1.5kg which was located in the backpack of the passenger. GHB is also known as ‘liquid ecstasy’ or ‘fantasy’.

The passenger, a 37-year-old man, was arrested and taken to Day Street Police Station where he was later charged with supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity). He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court on Tuesday 28 April 2020.

The driver, who was a ride-share operator, was released pending further inquiries.

After further inquiries, police searched a home on Saturday 25 April 2020 in Glebe. Approximately one litre of liquid, suspected of being GHB, was located and seized. It will be alleged that the occupants had been selling methylamphetamine. You can read the full story here.

The Law

Supplying or knowingly taking part in the supply of prohibited drugs is an offence under  Section 25 of the Act.  The penalties of these offences can carry very severe penalties. The Act provides a schedule and an extensive list of the prohibited drugs as well as the amounts that fall under the quantities. The table below is an example of what the schedule looks like and the most commonly known drugs. Schedule 1 of the Act sets out the small, Traffickable, Indictable, Commercial and Large commercial quantities for each prohibited drug.

Prohibited drug Traffickable
Small Quantity Indictable Quantity Commercial Quantity Large Commercial Quantity
Heroin 3.0g 1.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg
Methylamphetamine also known as “ice” 3.0g 1.0g 5.0g 0.25kg 0.5kg
MDMA also known as “ecstasy” 3.0g 0.8g 5.0 0.5kg 2.0kg
Cocaine 3.0g 1.0g 5.0g 250.0g 1.0kg
Gamma Butyrolactone 30.0g 10.0.g 50.0g 1.0kg 4.0kg
Cannabis Leaf 300.g 30.0g 100.0 25.0kg 100.0kg


The Penalties that a court can impose for a supply of a prohibited drug charge include: a prison sentence, home detention, Intensive Corrections Order, Community Service Order, Community Corrections Orders, Good behaviour bond, Fine, Section 10A, Conditional Release Order, Section.

Where the amount exceeds the indictable quantity, the matter is strictly indictable and cannot be finalised in the Local Court.  Where a matter is a strictly indictable offence, the matter goes to the District Court. If the amount does not exceed the indictable quantity, the matter will either be elected by the Director of Public Prosecutions or be dealt with the Local Court. National Criminal Lawyer’s website provides a considerable amount of information on drug supply.

Where To Next? 

If you have been charged with supply and or possession of prohibited drugs there are a number of ways that National Criminal Lawyers  can assist you. You may have a defence available should you wish to plead not guilty and take the matter to hearing. Alternatively, you can plead guilty and one of our criminal law specialists will make strong submissions on your behalf. Call our office and speak to one of our criminal law specialists who will provide you with a free appointment and can help you understand the process, explore possible defences, discuss proven legal strategies and understand what possible outcomes might be achieved.

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