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UF cited confidence agreement over drug issue

Monday, 23 May 2005

Turner: UF cited confidence agreement over drug issue

United Future has locked in the current legal status of cannabis and other drugs so that they can only loosened by Parliament rather than simply by ministerial sign-off, the party's deputy leader Judy Turner said today in confirming that United Future had informed the Government that it was a confidence matter.

"Basically, no one will now be allowed to sneak a loosening of a drug's legal status through. It must be done under the full scrutiny of Parliament, despite the Greens very best efforts to make it open slather," Mrs Turner said.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment (No3) Bill went into the Health Select Committee, of which Mrs Turner is a member, with an Order in Council sufficient to change the status of a drug up or down.

The committee today reported the Bill back to Parliament, with the significant United Future-driven change that a drug's status can be upgraded by an Order in Council, but to be loosened, it must go before Parliament.

"We made it abundantly clear to the Government in behind-the-scenes dealings at the highest level that this was a no-go area. United Future will not have dangerous drugs freed up by the swipe of a ministerial pen at any time just to suit a minority," she said.

Mrs Turner also welcomed the establishment of a regulatory framework for party pills and other low risk substances, but hoped that it would eventually be moved into entirely separate restricted substances legislation.

The lowering of the level of methamphetamine possession to 5g before it is presumed to be for supply and new regulations on the import and export of methamphetamine ingredients were supported and welcomed by United Future, she said.

ENDS

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