Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 - low THC cannabis authority (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions of the Secretary to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries made under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Other related applications

VCAT can also review some decisions related to poppy cultivation under this Act.

Cases we can hear

You may be able to apply to VCAT to review a decision by the Secretary to:

  • refuse to issue an authority to you to cultivate and process low-THC cannabis
  • refuse to renew an authority held by you to cultivate and process low-THC cannabis
  • suspend, cancel or amend an authority held by you to cultivate and process low-THC cannabis.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 – section 69B(1).

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

You must make your application within 28 days from when:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

What does VCAT consider when making a decision?

The Act states that, in order to prevent criminal activity in the cultivation and processing of low-THC cannabis, VCAT must not issue an authority to an applicant unless satisfied that:

  • the applicant or any associate of the applicant has within the 10 years preceding the application not been found guilty of a serious offence
  • the applicant and each associate of the applicant is a suitable person to be concerned in or associated with the cultivation, processing, sale or supply of low-THC cannabis
  • the applicant's property or premises will be suitable for the cultivation, processing, sale or supply of low-THC cannabis in relation to location, facilities and proposed security arrangements.

In particular, VCAT may consider whether:

  • the applicant and each associate of the applicant is of good repute, having regard to character, honesty and integrity
  • in the case of an applicant that is not a natural person, the applicant has a satisfactory ownership, trust or corporate structure
  • the applicant is of sound and stable financial background
  • the applicant has any business association with any person or body who or which, in the opinion of the Secretary, is not of good repute, having regard to character, honesty and integrity
  • each director, partner, trustee, executive officer and secretary and any other person determined by the Secretary to be associated or connected with the ownership, administration or management of the operations or business of the applicant is a suitable person to act in that capacity.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.