(1) Except as provided in section 8, or pursuant to a licence under this Act, or as otherwise permitted by regulations made under this Act, no person shall—
(a) procure or have in his possession, or consume, smoke, or otherwise use, any controlled drug; or
(b) supply or administer, or offer to supply or administer, any Class C controlled drug to any other person, or otherwise deal in any such controlled drug.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), but without prejudice to any liability under section 6, every person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence against this Act and is liable on conviction—
provided that, where any person is convicted of an offence against subsection (1) relating only to a Class C controlled drug and is liable to a penalty under paragraph (b), the Judge or District Court Judge shall not impose a custodial sentence (being a sentence under which a person is liable to be detained in a prison within the meaning of the Corrections Act 2004) unless, by reason of the offender’s previous convictions or of any exceptional circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, the Judge or District Court Judge is of the opinion that such a sentence should be imposed.
(3) In any proceedings for an offence against this section in respect of the possession of a controlled drug, in which it is proved that the defendant had a controlled drug in his possession, it shall be a defence for him to prove—
(a) that, knowing or suspecting it to be a controlled drug, he took possession of it for the purpose of preventing another from committing or continuing to commit an offence in connection with that drug and that as soon as possible after taking possession of it he took all reasonable steps to destroy the drug or to deliver it into the possession of a person lawfully entitled to have possession of it; or
(b) that, knowing or suspecting it to be a controlled drug, he took possession of it for the purpose of delivering it into the possession of a person lawfully entitled to have possession of it and that as soon as possible after taking possession of it he took all reasonable steps to deliver it into the possession of such a person.
(4) Nothing in subsection (3) shall prejudice any defence which it is open to a person charged with an offence against this section to raise apart from that subsection.
Compare: 1965 No 45 s 6; Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s 5(4), (6) (UK)
Section 7(2) proviso: amended, on 1 June 2005, by section 206 of the Corrections Act 2004 (2004 No 50).
Section 7(2) proviso: amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 18(2) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125).