Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Drug Manufacture

Drug Manufacture

The manufacture of a controlled drug for a commercial purpose is an offence under the Criminal Code. Manufacturing a controlled drug means any process (other than cultivation) that produces a drug including extracting or refining a drug and the process of transforming a substance into a different substance or drug. A person can also be involved in manufacturing a drug if they exercise control or direction over its manufacture or provide finance for the manufacture.

A person manufactures a substance for a commercial purpose, if the person manufactures a drug with the intention of selling it or believing that another person intends to sell it. Consequently, manufacturing controlled drugs for personal use is not conduct regulated by the Criminal Code.

The CDPP does not tend to prosecute a large number of drug manufacturing offences.

Commonly Used Offence

  • s.305.5 Criminal Code – manufacturing controlled drugs
  • s.308.4(1) Criminal Code – possessing a substance, equipment or instructions for commercial manufacture of controlled drugs


The maximum penalty for manufacturing a controlled drug is 10 years imprisonment or 12 years imprisonment for an aggravated offence. The maximum penalty increases to 25 years if it involves a marketable quantity of drugs and life imprisonment for a commercial quantity of drugs.

An offence against sections 305.4 or 305.5 is aggravated if the commission of the offence exposes a child (under 14 years) to the manufacture of a controlled drug. (s.310.4)

The maximum penalty for possessing a substance, equipment or instructions for commercial manufacture of controlled drugs is 7 years imprisonment.


The CDPP provides sentencing data to the Commonwealth Sentencing Database (CSD). Permission to access the CSD can be obtained at

Relevant Legislation

Criminal Code

Criminal Code Regulations

Director’s Litigation Instructions

DLI 5 – PDF icon Charging Importation Cases involving Substitution of Drugs or Precursors

DLI 8 – Charging Guideline for Domestic Drug Offences under Part 9.1 of the Criminal Code

Law Reform

On 29 May 2013 the Criminal Code Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 1) commenced. This amendment significantly expanded the schedules of controlled and border controlled drugs and moved the schedules from the Criminal Code to the Criminal Code Regulations. This allows for illicit substances to be listed more quickly and improves the Commonwealth’s ability to be responsive as illicit markets evolve.

Significant Cases

  • Beqiri v R (2013) 271 FLR 220 – definition of manufacture

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