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Deemed Supply – When Drugs in Your Possession Makes You a Supplier

Deemed Supply - Drugs in Possession Makes a Supplier


  • Section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) provides that those in possession of a “trafficable quantity” of a drug are automatically deemed to possess that drug for the purposes of supply.
  • The maximum penalty for the offence of supplying prohibited drugs (other than cannabis) is 2,000 penalty units ($220,000) or imprisonment for a term of 15 years, or both.

Due to the recent Coronial Inquest into music festival deaths, there has been an increased media focus on drug possession. However, many festival goers may not understand that the quantity of drugs in their possession may result in much harsher penalties due to an offence known as deemed supply. Under Section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW), anyone found in possession of a “trafficable quantity” of drugs are considered to be in possession of those drugs for the purposes of supply. The trafficable quantities of each drug are found in Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW), and for some of the more popular “party drugs” are in fact quite low. For example, the trafficable quantity of MDMA (ecstasy) is 0.75grams; the trafficable quantity for cocaine, amphetamines and heroin is 3 grams. With the average ecstasy tablet containing 0.1gram of MDMA, someone found in possession of 8 ecstasy tablets, depending on the quality and strength, would be considered to be a trafficable quantity and therefore charged with deemed supply.

In order to defend a charge of supply, the defendant would need to prove that the drugs were intended for personal use.  This would be quite difficult to prove in circumstances where other items associated with the supply of drugs are also found, such as bags, scales, large amounts of money or multiple mobile phones



Lara joined the Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers Legal team in August 2018 and is currently working as a Lawyer in our Criminal and Family Law team.

Earlier in 2019, Lara was selected by the NSW Law Society to undertake an internship with the NSW Coroner’s Court, working as a Judge’s Associate for the Deputy State Coroner.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Lara Menon
1300 268 887

This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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