Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Tasmania Moves Towards Cannabis Decriminalisation

In an Australian first, Tasmanian cannabis smokers will, from next year, be given up to three chances to reform their ways before they face criminal charges. John Howard reports.

It will also mean people caught with small amounts of ecstasy, heroin or cocaine for the first time will be let off without conviction if they choose to seek help instead.

The move is being described as a bold new approach and is an Australian first. The plan is that it will move illicit drug users away from the court system and into assessment, treatment and education programs.

Unveiled by the Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge and Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon, it won immediate praise from Tasmanian police and drug rehabilitation workers.

"Clearly, the solutions of old haven't worked," Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Johnston said.

Under the new plan:

People caught with cannabis for personal use will be given a choice of being charged or undergoing compulsory assessment, and then education and/or treatment.

This will apply to their second and third offences. The cautioning system for first offenders will continue and charges will apply for the fourth misdemeanor.

People caught with small amounts of hard drugs, like heroin, for the first time, will be given the option of receiving help instead of being charged. If they choose the latter option, they could face up to two year's jail.

Addicts who commit crimes like burglaries to support their habits, and are also found with drugs, will not be charged with the drug offence if they accept assessment and treatment programs. They will still face court over the non-drug related crime.

The options will extend to adults and juveniles alike, but at the discretion of the police.

Schools and courts will also encourage illicit drug users to enter the self-help programs. Repeat and violent offenders, and those suspected of dealing in drugs, will still be charged.

Police Deputy Comissioner Johnston chaired the intergovernmental committee that developed the strategy, and said he was confident it would work. He said it should free up police to catch more drug dealers.

The Premier, Jim Bacon, said " This is not a bandaid solution....it is aimed squarely at reducing illicit drug use."

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Commercial Scoop User? Help Scoop Survive (and Thrive!)

The ScoopPro licensing terms require that commercial users of Scoop.co.nz pay a reasonable fee in order to access the Scoop site so that this same information remains free and accessible to the wider public regardless of their disposable income. More>>

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop 3.0: Saving The News

Scoop Co-Founder Alastair Thompson - One of the saddest aspects of the decline of the news industry, not just here in NZ - but everywhere, is that it often seems invisible, in large part because news is a confidence business... More>>

ALSO:

UK Cabinet Backs Deal: Gordon Campbell On The Latest Roll Of The Brexit Dice

Brexit has left the British public looking like a nation of Wellington bus commuters. In both cases, the unholy mess bears no resemblance to what people were promised or the spin being used to justify it. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Democratic Leadership And Trump

On the big picture, the poll predictions were dead right. In the end, the Democratic Party won a clear victory in the House, and lost as expected in the Senate, where it had been defending at least 10 seats in regions that had voted heavily for Trump in 2016. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog