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Information about sowing, growing, tending, nurturing or harvesting narcotic plants.

The prosecution must show that:

  • the accused intentionally cultivated or attempted to cultivate a particular substance, and
  • that the substance was a narcotic plant.

Cultivation of a non-commercial quantity of a narcotic plant is an indictable offence triable summarily.

What is cultivation?

Cultivation of a narcotic plant includes:

  • sowing a seed of the plant; or
  • planting, growing, tending, nurturing or harvesting the plant; or
  • grafting, dividing or transplanting the plant.

This broad definition means watering a narcotic plant or even harvesting one leaf constitutes cultivation.

See s. 70(1)—Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is a narcotic plant?

‘Narcotic plants’ are plants commonly known as cannabis, the opium poppy and the coca plant. Part 2 of Schedule 11 lists the scientific name of these plants. The plant can be just a cutting with no roots.

Is knowledge relevant?

It is not necessary to prove the accused knew the plant was a narcotic plant, but it is a defence (on the balance of probabilities) to not know, suspect or reasonably have been expected to know or suspect that the plant was a narcotic plant.

Unlike with trafficking or possession, it has been held that the onus is on the accused to show they did not have the requisite intention.

See R v Pantorno [1988] VR 195(opens in a new window).


If a court is satisfied (on the balance of probabilities) that the offence was not committed for any purpose related to trafficking of that plant, the penalty is up to 1 year jail or 20 penalty units or both.

If the court finds it was related to trafficking, the penalty is up to 15 years jail.

Attempted cultivation

The penalties are the same for the offence of attempting to cultivate a narcotic plant.

Allowing premises to be used

It is an offence for an owner or occupier of land or premises to intentionally permit another person to use that land or property for trafficking or cultivating a drug of dependence.

What are premises?

Premises is broadly defined to include residential dwellings, commercial or industrial land and buildings, other structures on land, and vehicles. So this could include caravans, cabins, sheds, outhouses, shipping containers.

See s. 72D—Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)(opens in a new window).


The maximum penalty is 5 years jail.

More information


Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)

  • s. 70(1)—definition of cultivation
  • s. 72B—offence of cultivation and attempted cultivation (less than commercial quantities)
  • s. 72C—defence of lack of knowledge or suspicion of a narcotic plant
  • s. 72D—permitting use of premises for trafficking or cultivation

See Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Case law