Pubdate: Wed, 01 Nov 2000
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 The Advertiser
Author: Jamnes Danenberg, Co-convenor, HEMP SA inc
Cited: HEMP SA:


It is Police Commissioner Mal Hyde who sends the wrong messages on
Cannabis (Advertiser 25/10/00). At the SA Police's own Drug Conference
last year, Mr Hyde himself spoke of the need to "look beyond the
square" in terms of innovative solutions to drug -related problems.
Yesterday he backtracked, claiming that SA's Cannabis Expiation Notice
(CEN) scheme, recently recommended for nationwide adoption by the
respected National Drug Research Institute (NDRI), should instead be
scrapped, and SA should again start convicting and jailing people for
growing their own Cannabis.

Mr Hyde's support for a zero tolerance "solution" fly in the face of
all of the research done in the last five years . The 1998 Social
Impacts study comparing SA & WA laws, showed our on-the-spot fine
system for up to 10 plants was better in every respect than the total
prohibition Mr Hyde advocated. In SA, less people used Cannabis across
all age groups, far less people used in vehicles, the system was
fairer, had less negative consequences and was more cost effective.
Supported by the Attorney General's department , the Judiciary, the
DPP, the NCA and most Police, SA's laws have provided the model for
the ACT and Northern Territory's laws and are now being considered by
the New Zealand government .

Mr Hyde portrayed the CEN scheme as being "no disincentive" to cottage
industry, yet admits over 14,000 plants have been seized in recent
months in large scale plantations, despite the nation's toughest laws
for large scale cannabis cultivation of up to 30 years jail and
million dollar fines!

His stated opposition to homegrowing will have organised crime rubbing
their hands in glee, at the prospect of homegrowers being forced out
of production. No doubt they will be looking to expand their control
by introducing Cannabis users to other more dangerous and profitable
drugs. Meanwhile, concerned parents and Cannabis users themselves are
aghast at the prospect of the "Al Capones" regaining their market
dominance through prohibition with its attendent crime, corruption and
violence, just as they did in America during the 1930's.

What Mr Hyde must acknowlege is that many of the 40% of Australian
adults who have tried Cannabis will continue to use it, despite the
laws; "tougher" laws just make the situation worse. With over 36,000
criminal convictions in SA alone, for minor cannabis offences since
the CEN scheme began , it is clear that we cannot arrest our way out
of this mess.

Cannabis use by adults should be legal, regulated and taxed by
governments in the same way as alcohol, not controlled by organised

Jamnes Danenberg, Co-convenor, HEMP SA inc
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