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Production, promotion and sale of controlled drug alternatives

The following are offences under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA):

  • Section 33LD - Intentional manufacture of controlled drug alternative;
  • Section 33LE - Promoting controlled drug alternative; and
  • Section 33LF - Manufacturing, packaging, selling or supplying substance promoted as controlled drug alternative.

These sections concern substances which either have, or were intended to have, or are promoted as having, pharmacological effects similar to a controlled drug. They are also about substances which are promoted as legal alternatives to a controlled drug, or are sold as controlled drugs but are actually different substances.

Under these sections, manufacturing includes taking part in the process. Taking part in a step in the process is broadly defined and includes things such as: getting together or hiding equipment, substances or materials; arranging or providing money to fund any part of the process; transporting and loading materials; and allowing your house to be used for the process [see further s 33LC(1)-(3)].

Under s 33LE(2) the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant promoted the substance as having as having pharmacological effects similar to those of a particular controlled drug; or as being a legal alternative to controlled drug; or in a way that is intended, or likely, to cause a person to believe that the substance is a controlled substance or has similar effects as one, or is a legal alternative to one.

These offences can be committed even if the substance is marked ‘not for human consumption’, or similar labelling such as stating that it is not an alternative to a controlled drug [s 33LC(4)].

The Court can prohibit someone from running a business if they have been convicted of committing any of these offences in the course of running a business. The Court can also make other orders that it thinks is appropriate [see further s 33T].


  • s 33LD - Maximum penalty: $15 000 or imprisonment for 4 years, or both
  • s 33LE - Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both
  • s 33LF - Maximum penalty: $15 000 or imprisonment for 4 years, or both
Production, promotion and sale of controlled drug alternatives  :  Last Revised: Fri Feb 14th 2014