Pubdate: Wed, 10 Sep 2003
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2003 West Australian Newspapers Limited
Author: Simon Lenton


YOUR editorial (Confused message in drug plan, 8/9) is wrong in saying that 
under the proposed amendment to the Cannabis Control Bill cannabis users 
will be allowed three mistakes before they will face the consequences of 
their actions.

Under the Bill, whenever a person is caught by police for possession of 30g 
cannabis or two cannabis plants for personal use they will be given an 
infringement notice.

This will require them to pay a fine of between $100 and $200 or attend a 
treatment service for cannabis education within 28 days.

Under the proposed amendment, cannabis users caught for the third time in 
three years will not get the option of paying a fine.  They will have to 
complete the education session or face a criminal charge.

Repeat offenders, who are often dependent on the drug, are more likely to 
respond to education and contact with a treatment service than they are to 
a criminal conviction.

Research shows that 87 per cent of people given a criminal conviction for 
cannabis use say their use is not affected.


Senior Research Fellow, National Drug Research Institute, Shenton Park
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