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Anderton asks to strenghten law on E, Speed

Anderton asks Parliament to strenghten law on Ecstasy and Speed

Parliament will later today be asked to approve stronger sanctions against those caught dealing in two harmful drugs, amphetamine and Ecstasy.

"I am hoping that all parties will support my Misuse of Drugs (Changes to Controlled Drugs) Order 2005 and the accompanying Misuse of Drugs (Presumption of Supply - Amphetamine) Order 2005," Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton said today.

"The Orders are consistent with the government's commitment to a National Drug Policy that targets drug use through supply control, demand reduction and treatment services for the victims of the drug peddlers," the Progressive leader said.

Last year, the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs recommended the reclassification of amphetamine, commonly known as Speed, as well as MDMA or Ecstasy. Jim Anderton will today introduce the Misuse of Drugs (Changes to Controlled Drugs) Order 2005 to reclassify them in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to Class B1.

"This reclassification will have the effect of enabling police officers to detain, search and seize for these drugs without warrant and reflects the degree of potential risk-of-harm that experts associate with these substances.

"These substances are extremely harmful and by supporting this move Parliament is saying that it is not in the public interest for them to be used as so-called recreational drugs. This reclassification is also consistent with New Zealand's international obligations under the United Nations drug classification framework," the Progressive leader said.

The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs also recommended that the presumption-of-supply for amphetamine be set at 5 grams. Currently the presumption of supply for amphetamine is 56 grams so the change will significantly increase penalties for offences involving possession of 5 grams of amphetamine or more (five grams represents a possession level far in excess of ranges for personal use.)

Possession for supply offences carry a maximum sentence of up to 14 years in prison, compared with the offence of possession of a Class B controlled drug, which carries a maximum sentence of 3 months imprisonment or a fine of $500, or both.

ENDS

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