‘Two-strike’ Scheme for Drug Use A Welcome but Small Step: Greens
The news that the Government is set to introduce a ‘two-strike’ pre-court diversionary scheme for personal drug use is a welcome development, however the policy doesn’t go far enough in adopting the recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for drug law reform and harm reduction.
“This is a welcome, though very small step, in ensuring drug use is treated as a health issue in this state rather than a criminal one,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“While it’s encouraging to see the Government going some way to adopting one of the key recommendations of the Ice Inquiry in terms of decriminalising drug use, it doesn’t go far enough.
“The Ice Inquiry Commissioner specifically recommended that police discretion be removed from the process. This is because evidence from the existing Cannabis Cautioning Scheme shows that only 1 in 10 First Nations adults were diverted from court under the Scheme, compared to more than 1 in 4 non-Aboriginal adults.
“The Ice Inquiry also recommended three, not two, times someone could be diverted under its ‘compromise’ recommendation. However, under its preferred recommendation of removing all criminal offences for personal drug use and possession, Commissioner Howard wanted no limit on how many times somebody could be diverted to treatment.
“This new, expanded scheme must be matched with a scaling back of police operations which deliberately target individuals on the suspicion they may be carrying drugs for personal use. This means scrapping sniffer dog operations at train stations, in pubs, clubs and on the streets and at music festivals.
“The Greens will continue to push for the removal of all penalties, including fines, for personal drug use and possession.
“We will continue to push the Government to introduce a taxed and regulated market for cannabis, like many other jurisdictions around the world are doing, and to reform our unfair drug driving laws that discriminate against people who use medicinal cannabis,” said Cate Faehrmann.