Misuse of Drugs Act – presumption of supply

Despite the age-old maxim of innocent until proven guilty, the Misuse of Drugs Act sets out a “presumption of supply” whereby anyone charged with more than a certain arbitrary amount is automatically presumed to be guilty of supply, even if there is no evidence of this. Other crimes must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

If you are charged with supply simply because of having more than the arbitrary quantities described below, it is important to contest the charge and make them prove it. The case of Hansen from the Supreme Court sets the current precedent. Basically, someone charged with a presumption of supply needs to set out plausible reasons why they had that quantity for their own use. If the court finds these reasons to be probable, then the burden of proof switches back to the prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that supply did occur. Talk to a good lawyer for more advice, and consider engaging an expert to guide the court.


The controlled drugs listed below are presumed to be for supply at and over the amount, level, or quantity listed.

Misuse of Drugs Act Schedule 5. Source: www.legislation.govt.nz

PART 1

Amphetamine: 5 grams or 100 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug

Morphine: 5 grams, whether or not contained in a substance, preparation or mixture

Cocaine: 5 grams, whether or not contained in a substance, preparation or mixture

Heroin: half a gram, whether or not contained in a substance, preparation or mixture

Lysergide: 2 and a half milligrams or 25 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug

DOB (2-amino-1-(4-bromo-2.5-dimethoxyphenyl) propane) (also known as bromo-DMA): 100 milligrams or 25 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug

MDMA (2-methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl) propane): 5 grams or 100 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug N-ETHYL MDA (2-ethylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl) propane): 5 grams or 100 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug

MDA (2-amino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl) propane): 5 grams or 100 flakes, tablets, capsules or other drug forms each containing some quantity of the drug

Tetrahydrocannabinol (as described in Schedule 2): 250 milligrams, whether or not contained in a substance, preparation or mixture

Any cannabis preparation (as described in Schedule 2): 5 grams or 100 cigarettes containing the drug

Cannabis plant (as described in Schedule 3): 28 grams or 100 cigarettes containing the drug

Methamphetamine: 5 grams, whether or not contained in a substance, preparation or mixture

PART 2

Any controlled drug not specified in clause 1 is presumed to be for supply at and over the level of 56 grams.

Note: this extract is provided for advisory purposes only – some amendments may have been made subsequent to this. See www.legislation.govt.nz for the most up-to-date version of the Misuse of Drugs Act.