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Text of Nandor's Cannabis Bill

Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Infringement) Amendment Bill

Member's Bill


Explanatory note

General policy statement

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to introduce instant fines for the personal use of cannabis. The Bill aims to:

* To decrease the number of criminal convictions given every year for minor cannabis offences;

* To decrease police expenditure on cannabis offences and to enable the police to focus more on crimes against people and property;

* To enable the establishment of effective drug education and rehabilitation programmes and adequate health treatment;

* To implement the findings of the Health Select Committee Inquiry into the Legal Status of cannabis;

* To decrease the number of suspensions from schools over cannabis and to enable schools to provide a effective drug education for children and young people;

* To break the link between cannabis and hard drugs


Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 relates to the title of the Bill.

Clause 2 provides that the Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 sets out the purpose of this Act.

Clause 4 makes changes to section 6 of the principal Act which are consequential on the new sections 7A and 7B inserted in the Act by clause 7. Section 6(1) is amended to bring the prohibitions on the production and import or export of cannabis into line with new sections 7A and 7B. Section 6(6)(e) are consequentially amended to change, under specific circumstances, the threshold amounts of cannabis in respect of which a person is still deemed to be in possession for personal use.

Clause 5 makes changes to section 7 of the principal Act. The possession, use, etc of cannabis is covered by the infringement offences under new section 7A.

Clause 6 inserts new sections 7A and 7B into the principal Act. New section 7A provides for infringement offences for use and possession (including to cultivate) of limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. Subsection (1)(b) sets out the limits on possession of consumable cannabis, while subsection (6) specifies the number and maximum weight of growing cannabis plants that a person is allowed to cultivate or otherwise possess. Persons under 18 years of age who use cannabis or are in possession of cannabis within those limits must in addition to being subject to the infringement offences, complete a drug education programme approved by the Minister of Health. Any person who cultivates or otherwise possesses cannabis in an amount exceeding the personal limits specified in new section 7A will remain liable under section 7 (or section 9) of the principal Act. The new section 7A also makes it an infringement offence to smoke or otherwise use cannabis in or within view of a school, kindergarten, playground or similar place. Any smoking, other use, or cultivation within 100 metres of such place that does not occur out of public view inside a building not open to the public is deemed to be within view of the place. New section 7B provides that a person who imports or exports cannabis contrary to section 6(1)(a) of the principal Act will be liable only to the lower penalties specified in section 7 if the amount involved is within the limits for personal use set out in new section 7A, unless the judge is of the opinion that the import or export of the cannabis is for one of the prohibited purposes. That person would still be subject to any biosecurity offences.

Clause 7 creates a consequential exception to the prohibition in section 9 of the principal Act on cultivation of cannabis to the extent permitted for personal use by the new section 7A.

Clause 8 inserts new sections 13A, 13B and 13C into the principal Act. They concern matters, including infringement notices and infringement fees, relating to the infringement offence created by the new section 7A. Infringement notices must also be accompanied by a health information sheet approved by the Minister of Health.

Clause 9 consequentially omits the prohibitions in section 22 of the principal Act on the importation or supply of pipes and other utensils that may be used with cannabis.

Clause 10 amends section 29B of the principal Act. The amendments include a new paragraph which provides that where cannabis preparation is mixed into food or any other preparation, only the weight of that cannabis preparation applies in determining the amount of prohibited material at issue.

Clause 11 amends section 37 of the principal Act to make new provision for regulations relating to infringement offences.

Clause 12 amends the Second and Third Schedules of the principal Act to tidy up and consequentially amend the entries relating to cannabis, including shifting cannabis plant materials to part 2 of the Third Schedule and shifting cannabis preparations from the Second to (part 2 of) the Third Schedule.

Clause 13 consequentially amends the Acts and regulations specified in Schedules 1 and 2.

Clause 14 consequentially revokes a notice specified in that clause.

___________________________


Nandor Tanczos

Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Infringement) Amendment Bill


Member's Bill


Contents


The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title
(1) This Act is the Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Infringement) Amendment Act 2001.

(2) In this Act the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is called "the principal Act".

2 Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act to provide that possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis for personal use is an infringement offence rather than a criminal offence.

Part 1
Amendments to the principal Act

4 Dealing with controlled drugs
(1) Section 6(1)(a) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, before the word "Import", the words "Except as provided in section 7B,".

(2) Section 6(1)(b) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, before the word "Produce", the words "Except as provided in section 7A,".

(3) Section 6(6)(e) of the principle Act is amended by inserting after the words "schedule 3 of this Act," the words "except as provided in section 7A"


5 Possession and use of controlled drugs
(1) Section 7(1) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, before the words "section 8", the words "section 7A or,".

6 New sections 7A and 7B inserted
The principal Act is amended by inserting, after section 7, the following sections:

"7A Possession of cannabis for personal use
"(1) For the purpose of this Act, and despite anything in section 7(2), a person commits an infringement offence against this Act, and is liable to an infringement penalty not exceeding $100, as provided in sections 13A to 13C who-
"(a) except as provided in subsection (3), consumes, smokes, shares or otherwise uses any cannabis preparation or cannabis plant; or
"(b) except as provided in subsection (6), has in his or her possession an amount of not more than 5 grams of any cannabis preparation or 28 grams of dried cannabis plant;

"(2) Every person under 18 years of age who commits an infringement offence under subsection (1) will also be required to complete such drug education programme as may have been approved by the Minister.

"(3) No person is permitted to-
"(a) smoke or otherwise use any cannabis preparation or cannabis plant; or
"(b) cultivate cannabis plants other than industrial hemp-
in or within view of a school, kindergarten, play area, or similar place predominantly used by persons under 18 years of age.

"(4) For the purpose of subsection (3), smoking, otherwise using, or cultivation that-
"(a) occurs within 100 metres of a place to which that subsection refers; and
"(b) does not occur out of public view inside a building that is not open to the public-
is within view of that place.

"(5) Every person who contravenes subsection (3) commits an infringement offence against this Act, and is liable to an infringement fee not exceeding $500, as provided in sections 13A to 13C.

(6) Despite anything in section 6(6) of the principle Act, every person who has in his or her possession, at his or her place of residence, more than 28 grams of dried cannabis plant but not more than 5 cannabis plants, with a total dried weight of not more than 450 grams, is deemed to have committed an infringement offence against this Act and is liable to an infringement penalty not exceeding $100, as provided in sections 13A to 13C, unless they are proved to have contravened section 6(1)(f)

"7B Import and export of cannabis for personal use
"(1) A person who is convicted of an offence against section 6(1)(a) relating to any cannabis preparation or cannabis plant of an amount not exceeding the limits specified in section 7A(1)(b) is, in respect of that offence, under this Act only liable to the penalties that are specified in section 7(2)(b), unless, by reason of any exceptional circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, the Judge or District Court Judge is of the opinion that the import or export of the cannabis preparation or cannabis plant is for any of the purposes specified in section (6)(1)(c), (d), or (e).

"(2) Nothing in subsection (1) limits the application of defences available to a person under section 7(3) or (4)."

7 Cultivation of prohibited plants
Section 9(1) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after the word "or", the words "in compliance with section 7A or".

8 New sections 13A, 13B, and 13C inserted
The principal Act is amended by inserting, after section 13, the following sections:

"13A Infringement offences
Where any person is alleged to have committed an infringement offence against this Act, that person may either-
"(a) be proceeded against for the alleged offence under the Summary Proceedings Act 1957; or
"(b) be served with an infringement notice as provided in section 13B.

"13B Infringement notice
"(1) Where a member of the Police observes a person committing an infringement offence against this Act, or has reasonable cause to believe such an offence is being or has been committed by that person, an infringement notice in respect of that offence may be served on that person.

"(2) Any member of the Police (not necessarily the member who issued the notice) may deliver the infringement notice (or a copy of it) to the person alleged to have committed the infringement offence personally or by post addressed to that person's last known place of residence; and, in that case, for the purposes of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957, it (or the copy) is to be treated as having been served on that person when it was posted.

"(3) Every infringement notice must be in the prescribed form and must contain the following particulars-
"(a) such details of the alleged infringement offence as are sufficient fairly to inform a person of the time, place, and nature of the alleged offence; and
"(b) the amount of the infringement fee to be paid in respect of that infringement offence; and
"(c) the address of the place at which the infringement fee may be paid; and
"(d) the time within which the infringement fee must be paid; and
"(e) a summary of the provisions of section 21(10) of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957; and
"(f) a statement that the person served with the notice has a right to request a hearing; and
"(g) a statement of what will happen if the person served with the notice neither pays the infringement fee nor requests a hearing; and
"(h) such other particulars as are prescribed.

"(4) Every infringement notice shall be accompanied with a health information sheet approved by the Minister, explaining the effects that cannabis has on the human body, likely side-effects, ways to reduce cannabis related harm and the potential for abuse.

(5) Where an infringement notice has been issued under this section, proceedings in respect of the offence to which the notice relates may be commenced in accordance with section 21 of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957; and, in that case, the provisions of that section apply with all necessary modifications.

"13C Payment of infringement fees
All infringement fees paid in respect of an infringement offence against this Act must be paid into the Crown Bank Account."

9 Powers of Minister to prohibit importation, etc., of controlled drugs
Section 22 of the principal Act is amended by repealing subsections (1A), (3), (4), (5), and (6).

10 Special provisions where offence relating to cannabis preparations alleged
Section 29B of the principal Act is amended-
(a) by inserting, after the words "section 7", the words "or section 7A":
(b) by adding the following paragraph:
"(e) If any cannabis preparation is mixed into food or any other preparation, only the weight of that cannabis preparation applies when determining the amount of prohibited material at issue."

11 Regulations
Section 37(1) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after paragraph (p), the following paragraphs:
"(pa) prescribing the form of an infringement notice under this Act:

12 Second and Third Schedules amended
(1) Part I(1) of the Second Schedule is amended by omitting the item relating to CANNABIS preparations.

(2) Part I of the Third Schedule is amended by omitting the items relating to CANNABIS FRUIT, CANNABIS PLANT, and CANNABIS SEED
(3) Part 2 of the Third Schedule is amended by inserting, before the item relating to CODEINE, the following items:
"CANNABIS PREPARATION: that is, any preparation containing any tetrahydrocannabinols, namely cannabis resin (commonly known as hashish) and cannabis oil (commonly know as hash oil), produced by subjecting cannabis plant material other than industrial hemp to any kind of processing.
"CANNABIS PLANT (whether fresh, dried, or otherwise): that is, the whole or any part of the leaf, stalk, or flower (including seeds or fruit)of any species of plant of the genus Cannabis, other than industrial hemp."

Part 2
Consequential amendments and revocation

13 Consequential amendments
(1) The enactments specified in Schedule 1 are amended in the manner set out in that schedule.

(2) The regulations specified in Schedule 2 are amended in the manner set out in that schedule.

14 Consequential revocation of notice
The Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Cannabis Utensils) Notice 1999 is consequentially revoked.


Schedule 1 s 14(1)
Enactments amended

Summary Proceedings Act 1957 (1957 No 87)
Insert in section 2(1), after paragraph (fa) of the definition of infringement notice, the following paragraph:
"(fb) section 13B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975; or".Schedule 2 s 14(2)
Regulations amended

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977 (SR 1977/37)
Insert in regulation 3(1), after the word "morphine," wherever it occurs, the word "tetrahydrocannabinols,".
Insert in regulation 7(2), after the word "morphine," wherever it occurs, the word "tetrahydrocannabinols,".
Insert in regulation 22, after the word "morphine," wherever it occurs, the word "tetrahydrocannabinols,".
Insert in regulation 26(2)(b), after the word "morphine," where it first occurs and after the word "methadone" the second time it occurs, the words "or tetrahydrocannabinols,".
Insert in regulation 26(2)(d), after the item relating to "Pethidine:", the following item:
"Tetrahydrocannabinols:".
Insert in regulation 26(2)(e), after the item relating to "Pethidine:", the following item:
"Tetrahydrocannabinols:".

ENDS

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