Illicit drugs and the law

In Western Australia, it is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, cultivate or supply an illicit drug.

Penalties vary depending on the offence:

  • Possession offences: a maximum $2000 fine and/or 2 years in prison
  • Supply offences: a maximum $100,000 fine and/or 25 years in prison

Any person convicted of a drug offence will receive a criminal record and this can lead to difficulties in getting a job, credit or visas for overseas travel.

Police can issue a Cannabis Intervention Requirement (CIR) or a Drug Diversion Notice when small quantities of a drug are detected.

Cannabis Intervention Requirement Scheme

Possession and use of cannabis is still illegal, but if a person is found by police to be in possession of:

  • 10 grams or less of cannabis (or cannabis seeds) for personal use and or;
  • A smoking implement with traces of cannabis

The police officer may issue a Cannabis Intervention Requirement (CIR) to that person.

The CIR can be resolved by completing a Cannabis Intervention Session (CIS) within 28 days of being given the CIR by a police officer. Approved drug counselors conduct the session that aims to increase awareness of the laws and health effects relating to cannabis and enhance motivation to change by providing a non-judgemental environment in which open discussion will be encouraged.

If a person fails to attend the CIS then the alleged offence will be prosecuted by the officer who issued the CIR.

The Cannabis Intervention Requirement scheme applies to anyone aged 14 years and over.

The Cannabis Intervention Requirement scheme is legislated under the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Young Offender's Act.

Adult All Drug Diversion

This initiative of the WA Diversion Program provides assessment and treatment for adults and juveniles for simple possession of illicit drugs. There is emphasis on positive action (not necessarily prosecution) including diversion from the judicial system and referral to treatment services.