Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jul 2005
Source: Northern Territory News (Australia)
Copyright: 2005 Northern Territory News
Author: Gary Meyerhoff


It is obvious members of the NT judiciary need to be educated with
regards to the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

I am referring to "Butter is better" (Northern Territory News, NT and
Beyond, July 2).

A person facing a charge of possessing 50g of cannabis butter had that
charge dropped after a confusing exchange between Magistrate John
Lowndes and the prosecutor.

Mr Lowndes said he did not know how one could quantify the amount of
cannabis in the butter.

This is quite odd as the law clearly states that there is no need for
a judge or magistrate to quantify the amount of cannabis in the
butter. According to the law, it was 50g of cannabis.

Labor's "Tough on Drugs" package, implemented in 2002, amended the
Misuse of Drugs Act to ensure the total weight of a mixture of
substances which contains an illicit drug is taken to be the weight of
the drug.

For example 0.5gm of amphetamines mixed with 0.5gm of glucose equals
1gm amphetamines. Cannabis butter is no different.

Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act is clear: "a preparation or
mixture of that dangerous drug (which may include a substance that is
not a dangerous drug) that contains any proportion of that dangerous

Supreme Court Justice Dean Mildren has already questioned these new
provisions. In October last year, he refused to accept a man's guilty
plea to having a commercial quantity of amphetamines because the
amount was not "pure".

He said: "I would be astounded if Parliament meant you could mix 1 per
cent of a dangerous drug with flour and even if it was 99 per cent
harmless the whole amount was to be taken into account" (Drugs in the
mix, NT News, October 24, 2004).

That is exactly what Parliament meant.

Gary Meyerhoff

Rapid Creek
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