It is illegal to possess any drug listed on Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation.
A person can be in possession of drugs without owning them.
At its core, possession is about knowledge and control of the drug in question.
The prosecution must prove the defendant was aware of the substance’s existence and it was within their physical control.
The ‘occupier provisions’
All people who occupy a house are considered ‘in possession’ of any drug found in the house, unless they can prove they didn't know, and had no reason to suspect, that the drugs were there.
The onus of proof is effectively reversed.
The prosecution doesn’t need to prove the accused person knew the drugs were there.
Rather, the accused person must prove they didn't know and couldn't have suspected the drugs were in the house. This is a difficult onus to discharge.
This provision also applies if drugs are found in a car.
All people in the car at the time can be charged with possessing the drugs.
Possessing drugs for personal use
In Queensland, it’s illegal to possess any quantity of dangerous drugs for personal use.
Unfortunately, the crime of possessing an illegal drug is broader than just owning it.
Imagine you’re attending a festival with a friend.
They ask you to mind their bag of ecstasy pills for a few minutes while they went to the bathroom.
If you agree and mind the bag, you’ve committed the criminal offence of drug possession—even if you didn’t purchase or own the drugs.
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, we recommend seeking legal advice to discuss what defence options are available to you, based on your circumstances.
Generally, the level of offence is determined by the quantity found in your possession.
If you’re charged with possessing a small quantity of drugs, your matter will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court and considered as a ‘personal use’ offence.
If you’re charged with a large quantity of drugs, the prosecution may allege that you possessed the drugs for a commercial purpose—to make a profit—and your matter will be dealt with in the District or Supreme Court.
There can be genuine grounds for possessing cannabis for medical reasons.
Medicinal cannabis is only legal in Queensland if it has been prescribed by a doctor with the necessary government approvals.
Unlawfully possessing cannabis constitutes a criminal offence.
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